Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Movie: Rewind



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.)

24 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I just spewed wine. That was classic KB if I ever read it.
    Bravo! My worst Easter memories always had something to do with the elastic on my hat that dug into my ears.

    And let's just have that company meeting about the new bidness in Paris OK?

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  3. Where was all this happening? And how did you finally escape the ritual?

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  4. I remember being terrified by Easter. We'd go to Southern Baptist services where the minister talked in (literally) painstaking detail about Christ's bloody body on the cross. Somehow, I never quite got why we were celebrating when there was so much talk about a bloody body twisting in the wind with nobody to get him down.

    I think that minister went on to write television. (True story.)

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  5. KB, don't pick on bad girls. They're all right too, in some cases.

    LA, I can understand your bad experience. I can probably preach, or minister, better than most ministers anyway.
    And, a dog will lead them...

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  6. I despised church as a child, except for Easter Sunrise Service. My mother would make us glorious hats, amazing hats (no chin straps) with beautiful matching dresses. And put our hair up in pincurls. I would give anything to get my hands on one of those hats with its matching dress.
    I went back to church in my 40's after a very long absence and last year our indoor Easter Sunrise Service was so beautiful that you would have to be a world class curmudgeon to have not been brought to tears. And you look absolutely adorable, KB.

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  7. And possibly like a twin.

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  8. "my dad made sure each experience would seem like eternity" - Love this.

    With that innocent face, I can see why noone suspected you.

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  9. KB,
    Meet me at my blog on Easter Sunday. Sweet memories.
    V

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  10. Like to hear your Easter memories as well. Laurie, how scary is that for a little kid. PJ, I've thought about making another 3 a.m. trip, just to tip my hat to my dad. There is one on Echo Mountain. And Virg, won't miss your Easter blog. (Susan, I was always suspected, of everything.)

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  11. I've always wondered why the rice pudding was so unkempt.

    Laurie: Was your minister David Lynch?

    My easter memories are about Matzah Balls and Fried Matzah and chopped up apples and nuts and red wine. No getting up early. But I always had a strange feeling about the cross up on the mountain in Riverside.

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  12. What is "ribbe" ?

    The grand total of religious experiences of my childhood was one midnight mass - which was very confusing with all the kneeling down, standing up, and singing, since I didn't know rules of it. It pretty much put me off organized religion.

    I feel for you for those horribly early easter mornings.

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  13. WV spers

    AH, if my MapQuest truly offend you, my apologies; I was only following natures logical path.

    Enjoy your Tequila Sunrise, and the memories of your dad.

    With sincerity, Mid-Town G

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  14. G, you're more sensitive than the tomatos.

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  15. I love the photo. You are so adorable looking at each other shoes!
    Bravo indeed on the story.

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  16. Yes, the photo is wonderful. Easter bookends!

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  17. The tomato as a little tomato

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  18. Whoa, dude. I'm eating rice pudding right now. No kidding. Tis the season, I guess.

    We also attended sunrise Easter services (is this a Scandanavian thing?) in my Aunt Lucille's pasture. Our entire church would make the treck into a valley (that had real dinosaur track fossils in the limestone!) for a 6 am a capella service in the 6 degree cold. We sat on benches made from boards and cinder blocks. (people were much thinner in those days)

    My dad built and installed three huge crosses on an overlooking hill that, some years, was directly in front of the rising sun. It was pretty cool, actually; though to be honest, as much as I hate cold, the only upside for me was seeing dinosaur tracks.

    Then we all had to report back to church for the 11 am service. I always felt that was unecessary. Dad said Jesus had to suffer, so we do too.

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  19. is that you on left or right?

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  20. KM, when I'm wrong, I'm right. But I will say, once a railroad of braces and a tugboat to pull them put my big sister's teeth in place, she became a very pretty girl. Or, let's say, an even prettier girl.

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  21. SDFG, that is a truly delightful story in all ways except, perhaps, the second church service.

    (Did you find the almond? You should have, you made the pudding.)

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  22. That sweet sister of yours sucked her thumb I'll bet. Moi aussi. Lord I had an overbite!
    V

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  23. I don't think your mom got too much sleep. Seems like she was up hauling ass in the kitchen while you were off singing "This Old Rugged Cross". Such a sweet photograph.

    Was this your Pomona period? no palms but a definite ranch house.

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  24. No, these were the Bellevue, Washington years. We didn't do Pomona, but we did have Fullerton years.

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