As Easter is approaching, my mind wanders to those celebrations of the past, those Easters where my dad always, always had a corsage waiting for my mom and me on Sunday morning. Those Easters with all my family still here, and dressing up and taking pictures. That one Easter when my younger brother got a rabbit, and then bit me so hard that he almost broke the skin (it’s funny what we remember). The Easter with my bad haircut and horrible outfit but with a big smile on my face. The first Easter after I accepted Christ as the Son of God and the Lord of my life…that Easter is probably still my favorite. I can remember the awe and wonder I had that Easter. The absolute fascination I had with the Ressurection still resonates with me, and I am not sure anything will ever match up to that.
Easter also makes me think of the hope we have in Christ, for those who have gone on before. I was looking through old pictures just the other day with my younger brother and his wife, and we came across pictures from 14 years ago at Christmas, and I had had the foresight (or dumb luck) to photograph all the people present, awake and then asleep. As we looked at those pictures from 2000 in 2014, we realized just how much the Resurrection should mean to us; 3 of the people I had made pictures of were in Heaven now, and it made us realize just how much Jesus’s death and LIVING again means to us. We can see Aunt Coralee, Aunt Kate and Lynn Frank again. We can see my Aunt Mattie Sue again. I am going to see my stepfather, Casey, again, and I cannot wait for him to hear about his grandkids. He would have been so proud of my boys.
And Easter makes me appreciate family, with quirks and all. For instance, my Aunt Coralee. Coralee was a farmer, a formidable woman who was always working and always busy, and loved her family with all her heart. Her son, Lynn Frank, has a very special place in my heart; he’s my inspiration for losing weight. Us two were always the “fat, funny” cousins at the family reunions. He was a little bit of a black sheep, a little irreverent in his speech, very talented, and very obese. He always made me laugh, and when we got together, I am not sure who talked the most. One of the last conversations I had with him was under my grandparents’ shade tree by the driveway, laughing at our outcast status. And one of the funniest stories I ever heard him tell concerned his mama and a calf in the Walmart parking lot. It went like this:
Lynn Frank and his mama, my Aunt Coralee, lived together near the end of her life, and their relationship was a little like oil and water. She loved her son but liked things the way she liked them, and he was the same. My Aunt Coralee was a thin woman who more often than not had a boggan on her head, because she got cold when she was out tending the cattle she took care of. She didn’t dress up often, and she was very down to earth and always told it like it was. She loved her animals, and had too many head of cattle, most of the time, for me to count.
So Lynn Frank told us a story once. I can’t remember if Aunt Coralee had gone on by then or not (I’d say, yes, because otherwise, I am not sure if we would have heard the story), but Lynn Frank started by saying that his mama had gone to the hairdresser and had her hair done, was dressed in her Sunday best and that they had had to go to Florence for something dressy, maybe church or a wedding or something of the sort. My Aunt Coralee, somehow or another, ended up with a calf in the truck bed of the vehicle they were in. My memory is hazy; I can’t remember if they were dropping the calf off on their way to the event, or picked it up on the way back, but I do remember what happened in Lynn Frank’s description of the incident in the Walmart parking lot.
For some reason, Lynn Frank went into Walmart, and left his mama in the truck. He was inside for a few minutes, and returned to his truck. When he got back to the truck, however, he was taken aback by the sight of his mama, my Aunt Coralee, in the bed of the truck, blue hair recently done up and Sunday best on, tackling and roping the calf, which had gone about crazy in the truck bed. She was hollering (my Aunt Coralee, not the calf, though, I am sure it was making some noise too) and trying to hold it down in the back of the truck and keep it from getting out of the bed of the truck, and as my cousin is describing this scene, I was there. Everyone needs an Aunt Coralee, who can wrestle a calf with her hair done and dressed to kill. Only in Alabama, yall.
Easter makes me miss these people, because I know that the time is coming that I will see them again. I would like to see my Aunt Coralee as a younger woman, and it makes me wonder if God won’t let us do that. My Grandaddy, who has Alzheimers, now he really wants to see his siblings again, and Easter will one day make him whole in mind again. Easter is so much more than bunnies, nice clothes, and candy. It is Reconciliation, Reunion, Reviving…it is Reassurance, that God has so much more in store for us. To me, Easter is simply Fullfillment, Hope and Expectation. O, Death, where is thy sting? What is Easter to you?