None of my Easter memories have anything to do with church.
When I was a kid, Easter meant loading up in the station wagon with my folks and a brown paper bag filled with crispy fried chicken and hitting the road.
If mom didn’t feel like cooking, we’d pick up our lunch at the Colonels and head out for a picnic, even if there was still snow on the ground, to a spot in Connecticut known as Frog Rock. (Yes, there’s a huge rock, and yes, it looks like a frog.)
Once there, my mom would pass around the fried chicken and potato salad on paper plates and we’d sit and eat in the car before venturing out for our Easter egg hunt. If the weather cooperated, we’d dine al fresco at a picnic table.
My favorite part of these memories however, were the walks we’d take through the woods led by my dad, after the eggs were gathered and last bits of coleslaw consumed. He’d point out various types of trees, and fauna and give us a rundown on their medicinal properties. Once he stripped some bark off of a teaberry branch and had us hold it with our chicken greasy fingers to taste and smell the white, exposed flesh below. Yep, just like the chewing gum.
I thought my dad was the wisest man in the world.
When I was a lot younger and we lived in the hollers of Tennessee or Kentucky (we moved a lot) we’d get dressed in our best finery and go to church. Pictures of us standing on a dusty hillside in some coal mining camp seemed incongruous with the fluffy dresses, gloves and hats we proudly wore. I don’t remember the church part.
My memories of Easter were of time spent with my family, of educational but fun walks through the woods, plates of greasy fried chicken, multi colored live chicks we kept for pets. We worshiped at the altar of the Easter egg hunt, and aimless drives through the countryside.
I revisited Frog Rock when I was much older, but it had lost its luster. It is, after all, not a magical place, but a small rest stop on the side of a busy road. The frog’s still there though.