I remember it as if it were last year, although it’s been more than fourteen. I woke up on Easter morning knowing there was something special about the day but I wasn’t sure what it was. I hadn’t heard about Jesus dying on the cross back then (odd considering I was being raised by a Mennonite Pastor and his family), no it was something else altogether. It had to do with candy and people I didn’t know were related to me.
When Pastor Bernie B. got back from the Easter service we’d all hop on the buggy and make our way over to Isaak and Sara Wiebe’s farm. I wore a nice Sunday dress, white socks that reached my knees, a white shawl covering my braided hair, and an ugly pair of brown shoes. I was lucky to have shoes though so I couldn’t complain. At least the shoes matched the stripes on my dress. I remember the detail only because of the fuss I made while being dressed.
Upon arrival at Isaak and Sara Wiebe’s (aka the grandparents I didn’t know were my grandparents until after the last time I ever saw them), we were welcomed into the house for lunch. I remember the house being packed with children I didn’t know where my own siblings and cousins, there were too many adults to count, and the smell of home cooked chicken noodle soup filled the house. No one made soup like Grandma Sara.
We all sat around a table; the children on the bench against the wall and the adults on chairs across from us while Grandma and Grandpa sat on the ends. I smile when I remember the giggles among the children and the quite chatter among the adults. It was an atmosphere filled with love and a sense of completion.
When all the children could not longer eat another noodle it was time to run around outside. There were games of tag among a whole bunch of others that I don’t remember because I didn’t play. I sat under a tree with a coloring book. At least until it was time to find the hidden easter chocolates. It called for utter chaos. Children scrambled and fought over found treats, each wanting to fill their small baskets to the top. It wasn’t long before someone complained of a belly ache. Once that happened it was time to say goodbye.
It happened every year. My most vivid memory of Easter at Grandma and Grandpa’s, other than the soup, was that one year I poked a little girl in the eye. Actually it was a little game we got into. We poked each other in the eye and the first person to flinch had to give up two of their candies. I’ve always been a flincher. Everyone knows that.