Carrol Vertrees: Easter has a special meaning for all of us
Carrol Vertrees April 7, 2012 5:30PM
Updated: February 26, 2013 2:40PM
Irving Berlin took 15 years to compose “Easter Parade.” He wanted to get it right. It was a big hit, and reviewers said he had captured the essence of the real Easter Parade. It is a tribute to the happy, colorful celebration that touched millions, a lovely piece of music.
The big parade in New York is losing its significance. It was for years an after-church cultural event for the well-to-do, strolling around in their new, fashionable clothing.
One writer says that what had begun as a parade of refinement and religious display has become “merely an ostentatious frolic.”
Some of us have spent lifetimes writing our own mental songs about this special day, trying to capture the essence, the meaning of it all. To get it right.
We should by now have these Easter parades of memories printed in our hearts, from the egg hunts as kids and the new bonnets and the happy songs at church, and most of all, the feeling of being lifted into another new beginning. We need it every year, a tonic of renewal for tired souls. I like a hymn we rarely sing: “Now the Green Blade Riseth.”
There is more to this day than an ostentatious frolic, although there is no reason it should not be a day of joy and fun, as well as a religious surge of joy that eases the pain of ordinary life.
The meaning of this day is filtered through our cultural backgrounds, from childhood to where we are now.
I remember finding a winner in an egg hunt in Odon’s community park. I took it to the Osterhage Lumber Co. place and got a free candy bar. It was the hunt, though, that I remember best — the sounds of happy kids having fun. My feelings about Easter changed as I grew up, but the sounds of fun and laughter in the park resonate in my heart from 80 years ago.
This is a day for joy, and if we keep on looking for surprises in our Easter hunts, we can be blessed year after year.
There is something of value for all of us in this day, if we think about its meaning. It is a time to feel lifted.
This is a Christendom day, but it is not exclusive. It is a sign of renewal for all of us — the flowers, the buds, the busy birds, the warm sun.
It is a time for new bonnets, new frocks, maybe a new jacket for guys like me. Mostly it is a time for reflection — new clothes inside our hearts, a renewal. A time that gives us new hope and energy as we see the world bursting out in blooms and greenery. This special season does not insulate us from pain and sadness, but it can give us vitamins for the soul to help us through the dark times. We are in a great Easter parade together, some of us in the same old clothes that we wore last year, some in new finery. Whatever we wear on the outside or inside, we want to feel renewed. This day, this season, is an injection of hope and confidence.
It helps if we can latch onto a memory, reliving a special Easter season. My recollection of the egg hunt in that little park back home shows up on every page of my memory book. It is not so much that I won a candy bar. The real jewel in this one is that I remember what fun we kids had — doing something together, looking for a prize.
Life is more than an egg hunt, but if we search for the prize together, we may all win something memorable, indestructible.