Oh, and as far as the real reason for the day, we dutifully donned our brand-new Easter outfits and trooped off to the eleven o’clock mass at Our Lady of Barnum Avenue church.
It was here we came crashing down from our candy rush as we struggled to stay away during Father Phil’s fiery sermon, Peter Cottontail Wasn’t At Calvary! The good news is this was one of the two times (the other being Christmas) that Mom was successful in forcing our father into church.
Usually, he was content to watch The Ten Commandments or Ben Hur and call it even.
As he liked to say, “I used to be a practicing Catholic, but I got good at it. The ‘Lord’ doesn’t need me anymore.”
After an hour’s worth of guilt, we headed back home to finish off any candy we had so carelessly missed earlier that morning.
Mom, meanwhile, began intense preparations for the Easter “feast.”
For some reason, ham was always the meat of choice to celebrate Easter. Unlike the pterodactyl-sized turkey we devoured at Christmas, it seemed so much more appropriate to give equal time to eating the flesh of another barnyard animal.
Of course, it could have been a subconscious “up yours!” at our Jewish friends, who were observing Passover at the same time. Not only were they denied ham sandwiches, they didn’t have any such thing as Easter Bunnies or baby ducks.
But, I thought it had a lot more to do with the fact that my mother didn’t have to defrost a ham for three days, pull its gizzards out, stuff any available cavity she found with Wonder Bread, and start cooking it before the sun came up.
After all, that was only for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
No, cooking ham and scalloped potatoes from a box was a whole lot easier. In fact, it wasn’t until I grew up that I realized ham didn’t even come in a can.
Eventually, the joy which is Easter Sunday drew to a close. As we sat transfixed by the litter of candy corpses and the sight of Pharaoh drowning in the Red Sea on TV, a thought struck us like a lightning bolt from the blue:
No more chocolate bunnies for another year.
Whew. Thank goodness for Halloween.