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How Sweet It Was

I’m not sure who enjoyed Easter more, my mom or my dad. They each had their own reasons for fully embracing the holy day that marked the Resurrection of Jesus. Of course, their Catholic faith played into it as they diligently adhered to the traditions and teachings of Lent and Easter.

We ate a lot of fish sandwiches and mac and cheese during Lent. Our family, along with several other large families in the parish, kept the fish markets in clover during Lent. Even as very young kids, our parents made sure to take us to Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, and of course, Mass each week.

The Lenten season was one of no frills when you attended Catholic school. There were no parties or dances. We were urged to “give up” something as a sacrifice during those long 40 days of the observance. As a result, most of us would simply forgo a trip to Jake’s toy store on “The Lane” where we normally indulged in a bag of penny candy with our quarter allowances.

Giving up candy for Lent was more difficult for our mother, who loved her sweets. She made up for the candy drought on Easter morning when baskets of goodies spilled over for each of us. In addition, there was a large tray or basket of her favorite candies on the dining room table. Anyone entering the house was urged to help themselves to the treats.

Over the years, she would drop hints as to a favorite chocolate fruit and nut egg that she desired on Easter.

She received more than her fair share of those pricey eggs that she sometimes would share with others.

The remarkable thing about Mom was that she did pretty well at remembering which kids liked certain candies.

There was always a boatload of jelly beans, even the black ones that an older sister loved.

A younger sister had a special hankering for white chocolate and so her solid bunny was integrated with the rest of our milk chocolate rabbits.

Peeps were everywhere, even tucked into the freezer where they would be enjoyed weeks later in their frigid condition.

She knew I loved malted milk eggs, and a younger brother craved red licorice.

As for our Dad, he loved coloring the hard-boiled eggs with us.

He had more patience during the process, and produced the eggs with the deepest and brightest colors. When the eggs were dry, he would polish them with a cloth and a touch of butter.

Then he would arrange them in a pretty dish and sprinkle some jelly beans around them. To him and to us, it was a work of art.

Maybe it was the candy or maybe it was that our parents led us down the right path of the season, but days always seemed brighter after that Easter morning. I hope that whatever your traditions are, they will leave you with sweet memories.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.


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