Commentary by Ward Degler
Easter was special this year. For one thing, it was the 40th year the family — pretty much all of it — gathered at our house.
The official tally was 68. All but two were actual family members. That was a record. Previous best was 65.
We have a lot of rooms in our house, along with porches and decks, and they were all filled with folks catching up on what had been going on since the last time they’d seen one another. For some, that was last Easter.
Food came next after a special prayer of thanksgiving from the host. An entire ham and the largest turkey I’ve ever seen materialized along with veggies, cornbread, deviled eggs (deviled? Why do they call them that?), salads and a lineup of desserts that included a rich, gooey chocolate cake and sugar cream pie.
Years ago, we more or less gave up on real eggs in favor of the pull-apart plastic ones for the egg hunt. After all, you can put slips of paper into the plastic eggs, paper with numbers that are redeemable for toys.
This year’s toy collection was dominated by blow-up plastic baseball bats. Great for swatting blow-up rubber baseballs. An earnest ballgame ensued in the side yard, and someone kicked off a football contest out by the pond. I don’t think anyone kept score.
At some point, someone pulled out a guitar. Someone else came in with a ukulele, a conga drum and a tambourine. Everyone who knew the words joined in. We weren’t concert hall material exactly, but the harmony came through pretty good on a couple songs.
At any given time, the house was filled with the gabble of a dozen different simultaneous conversations. Laughter erupted 100 times or more. Periodically, children wielding plastic baseball bats roared through the house swatting everything in sight.
Easter is the greatest time of renewal in the history of mankind, of course, and family is the optimum community venue in which we live that renewed life in God’s spirit.
Like I said, Easter was special this year. If for no other reason that we woke up the next morning to a landscape filled with snow. That, too, was a first.