Snow and Spring

We’re feeling a little battered up here by our fourth nor’easter in three weeks.  It adds insult to injury that it’s snowing on the second day of spring.  At least the daffodils and tulips haven’t started to bloom yet, so they aren’t freezing or covered with snow.

This time of year I long for bright colors and warmth.  Too many months of black and white and gray make spring seem even further away.  Maybe it’s time to make an Easter basket and pretend the snow isn’t there.

My mother loved dyeing eggs, in the most vivid shades possible.  She’d dip them until they were deep purple or robin’s egg blue.  No pastels for her!  She also loved to shop for my Easter basket.  She knew I loved stuffed animals, so every year I got one along with the chocolate rabbit and the other candy in my basket.  She still made Easter baskets for me when I was in high school.

Mother was also a fan of the elaborate cakes featured in Good Housekeeping and other “women’s magazines” for holidays.  One year she tried to duplicate one for Easter that used tiered cake pans (like a wedding cake), decorated with coconut nests dyed green and jelly beans for Easter eggs.  I think the cake must have been too “short” (too much butter/shortening) because the layers crumbled as she iced it.  It ended up looking like a mountain with coconut nests clinging to the sides.

My nephew and I told her it was pretty and ate big slices when she cut it.  And it was delicious!  It just didn’t look like the magazine picture.

I wish you and yours the colors of Easter eggs, the sweetness of chocolate, and lots of spring flowers!

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Raise a Song of Harvest Home

Does anybody remember singing Thanksgiving hymns in church?  “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”?  I’m missing the emphasis on something besides Black Thursday/Friday and shopping.  Thanksgiving seems to disappear between Halloween and Christmas, more glamorous holidays.

One of my friends who has invited me to share Thanksgiving with her family for many years has a great custom.  Her partner offers a blessing over the groaning board and the “hands that prepared it,” and then they go around the table.  Each person has to name something they are grateful for.

Oprah calls it “an attitude of gratitude.”  In a time of irony, entitlement and downright ennui, it’s nice to remember we are, often, lucky in so many ways.  There is plenty of tragedy after Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter–and there is tragedy every single day, sadness and hurt and hunger and despair.

My late boyfriend used to say, with irony, “Well, I didn’t get malaria today.”  Yes, there are people who are richer or happier or more beautiful than we all are.  But there are people who are much worse off.  Let’s try to help someone else this holiday.  And if nothing else, let’s be grateful for the family and friends we overeat with!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!