BY MADISON FREDERICK
April is here, and I am welcoming it with open arms. April is a hopeful month. It is when spring truly arrives, and we can look ahead to the fun times of summer.
I especially love it when Easter falls in April.
Winston-Salem has been called the Easter City, and I think the name fits. Easter is a big deal around here. I recall one of the first Easters I spent away. I showed up at the cemetery with potted flowers for the grave of my friend to discover there were no other flowers on the graves! I was used to the all-out gravestone cleaning and decorating on Easter Saturday that goes on here. One of my proudest mommy moments was when my oldest child (the one who is always busy and driven) asked to go with his dad and me to place flowers on all of the relatives’ graves. I was shocked. His comment was, “ Well I guess I need to know where everyone is since I’ll be doing this when you are gone.” A button-popping moment for me.
All of us like to think that some of our family traditions that we have faithfully observed will carry on after us. That is the reason that chocolate bunnies are not the favored Easter treat at our house. It is the fresh coconut cake. Why? Because that is the tradition I remember of having fresh coconut cake at my grandmother’s house for BREAKFAST every Easter morning. I guess that part really is particular to growing up in Winston. After attending the Sunrise Service at Salem, we would go to my grandmother’s house for breakfast which consisted of fried fish (a German custom) and coconut cake. Then back to our house to dress in our Easter best for the early service at our church.
Traditions can only go so far. I don’t make the seven-day refrigerated coconut cake that my grandmother labored to do – I find a really good bakery.
I certainly do not want to criticize anyone’s religion or worship practices, but my memory of Easter Sunday is everyone being dressed to the nines! And in that tradition, I still wear a hat to church on Easter Sunday. Yes, that dates me. I don’t care! I am doing that for my grandmother. I can still see her pew at church lined with all the little widows who were her “girlfriends” wearing new hats for Easter Sunday. That image is a precious one to me.
Have you tried finding an Easter corsage lately? They are difficult to find, and most likely you will have to special order yours at the florist’s shop. But that, too, is a special Easter memory. I remember how special I felt as a young girl wearing my corsage, just like my mother, to church. Prom was not my first rodeo. I was used to wearing corsages, every Easter. I have tried to initiate my daughters-in-law into this genteel practice. Wearing a corsage makes you feel so special. Truth be told, I think it might have made them feel a little too special… as in, I am different from everybody else here. But I am teaching tradition here!
There is not one thing wrong with going to the beach at Easter or going to sports tournaments to support your kids. We all have family obligations and expectations. But for this Boomer, Easter Saturday is for dying eggs and placing flowers on graves of our loved ones. And on Sunday we will be listening to a brass band while thinking about coconut cake!