Wednesday, April 8, 2009
We only went to church a couple of times a year, so my dad made sure each experience would seem like eternity.
His formula mixed a lot of discomfort with a lot of driving. Then he stirred in a generous amount of what a European believed to be sugary American authenticity. It gelled painfully for several hours to become our memorable Easter Sunrise Services.
Up and at ‘em at 3 a.m., because we’d be driving for a couple of hours. Oh the agony of a rude awakening, groping for clothes and getting dressed in the cold dark, hungover … (What? Wait, wrong reel.)
Anyway, we had Easter outfits that we must have only worn that single time. Which is mind boggling to me, given my parents’ thriftiness.
Mom was the only one who didn’t have to participate in this ritualistic torture. She rarely put her foot down, but obviously down it came each year at Easter, because she stayed in bed.
I don’t know the denomination of the services we attended. Could have been anything. Distance and location were the only things that mattered to Dad. Upon arriving, we’d be given the playbill; everything that lay before us for the next two hours. Like any marathon, you most dread the starting line.
I could tell the choirs were professional because they sounded like a record. But since we didn’t know the songs, we couldn’t see the finish line, so they just seemed to go on and on forever. But finally, when the sun was in the sky and we were no longer half asleep, the minister would wrap the whole thing up, and we would shuffle back to the car.
And that was great news, because a huge breakfast waited at home. Ribbe, eggs, bacon, cheeses, bread, ham, strawberries, potatoes. The feast would start with rice pudding. There’s some Norweigian tradition of putting one almond in the pudding, and whoever finds that almond in their bowl wins money (probably no more than $1). I always carried the bowls from the kitchen to the dining table because along the way I’d dig my hand in each bowl to locate the almond and place said bowl accordingly.
I wonder if everyone realized why I always won. If so, oddly, this one time they let it pass.
(The bad girl is on the right.)