Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!!
8" x 10"
Wishing you and yours every happiness and blessing on this very special Easter day.
Spring is here. Grass and leaves are bright green. Bluebonnets and other spring flowers are beginning to show and, soon, some areas will be blanketed with blue, pink, red, and yellow.
In my little painting, above, I have shown a narrow barn with Mesquite trees in the background. My father used to love to work out in the family's various pastures out in the country. He loved to ride his tractor and mow or to do heavy work that others said he should not do. He liked to show his strength. One pasture that he rented just north of town had a lot of Mesquite trees. But there were just too many and that meant that there wasn't much grass for the cattle to feed on. The Mesquite trees thrived, no matter what. He would cut them down and, before you knew it, they were back with more than he had to begin with. They multiplied instead of dying out. You can see a little tractor with Daddy riding among the Mesquite trees in my picture. There are also a couple of bales of hay because he had to feed the cows since there wasn't that much grass in this pasture.
We thought that the trees were pretty with their bright colors and lacey leaves, until we found out that they had thorns. I remember in a painting workshop that I took with my mother, she asked the instructor, Harry Ahysen, how to paint leaves on trees like Mesquite and Willow trees. They are certainly different from the roundness that we work with in things like Oak trees.
Also in my painting, there are two children (a boy and a girl) , sitting near the barn, playing among the Bluebonnets. Maybe they are waiting to hunt Easter Eggs hidden in the flowers.
Poochie, our dog when I was growing up, is sitting, watching a butterfly. Poochie was an excellent Easter Egg hunter! She often beat us to the eggs, and ate them! And, if we couldn't find some and the "Easter Bunny" couldn't remember where he hid them all, Poochie would find them. We came home with less eggs than Mama had decorated.
We didn't actually go to the country to hunt eggs. This was actually a spring picture. But, it sort of fits with spring and Easter and memories of childhood.
"The Easter Bunny" (Daddy) usually hid eggs for us in the park just a half block away, before Sunday School and Church at Sneed Memorial Methodist Church. Some years, they were hidden in the yard or at the school, which was on the other side of us. If the weather was bad, we got to hunt eggs, over and over, in the house. We didn't have candy eggs, big chocolate bunnies, or baskets stuffed with goodies, unless it was a coloring book or paper doll book and some crayons. We had a colored straw basket with some green Easter Grass in it. And we added the eggs that Mama had colored for us with egg dye and vinegar.
Some years, when we were small, we had a big Easter Egg hunt on the lawn of the Methodist Church, or on the school grounds, and some years, in the park. Those were fun when there were lots of kids. And stressful for little ones, and their older siblings, who had trouble finding the eggs. Of course, we had to try to make sure that Poochie didn't come. She would have found all the eggs! And Poochie was one loyal dog who would find us, especially my little sister, where ever she went.
At noon, after church, everyone gathered with their families for a big Easter dinner, with the good china, crystal and silver. Mama would usually bake the ham as her's came out the best. Sometimes we ate at Grandma Conitz's house until she couldn't do the cooking anymore. Some years, we had our dinner at Pappy's house, or Toot's (two of my great-aunts). Or some years we had the dinner at our small house.
The menu was about the same for each family dinner, except we had ham at Easter and turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had red roast and red gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatos with marshmallows on top, ambrosia, creamed corn, English peas, stuffed celery sticks and carrot sticks, spiced peaches, deviled eggs, rolls and bread with coffee, water, or iced tea to drink. The salad was always either a Jello salad with fruit, or a pear or peach half or pineapple ring on a lettuce leaf with a dollop of mayonnaise. For dessert, there was pie-apple, chocolate, mince meat and, sometimes, Grandma made Boston Cream Pie. Fresh whipped cream topped the pie. We also had cake and Bakeless Cake, which had to have whipped cream on top, too.
After dinner, grownups did the dishes, sat around the table and visited, while we begged to go to the picture show or sat under the table and decorated underneath with our crayons. Sometimes we would go outside and sit around. Grownups would take a short nap while we read the funny papers and waited anxiously for our Sunday afternoon ride through the Brazos Bottom, to A&M, or to Marlin and Waco.
Some years, we had a community sunrise service in the bandstand in the park. I remember one year, at least, that the CHS band played for the service. I thought that was nice, though it was so early! I always thought that the park was underutilized for community events. To see a picture of the bandstand, you can scroll down to my Spring Break post and see a picture of the bandstand in the snow, a few years back. It really was a lovely place.
Of course, fashions played a big part in our Easter observance. Socks with lace and matching panties and a handkerchief, a new purse to twirl, a pastel colored dress, with a matching hat, white shoes and gloves, and a pastel colored coat and sweater, in case of an Easter Snap, were shopped for, months in advance. Ladies hats, matching dress, coat, sweater, white gloves and light colored shoes, a matching purse were also planned for months. My mother sewed, but, our good dresses had to come from Cox's or Goldstein Miguel in Marlin or Waco, or Jack and Jill in Marlin. We looked through catalogues and newspaper for ideas, but we spent hours and hours in the stores, trying on and finding just the right outfit.
For men, there were spring suits, but they often just brought out one they already had, took it to the tailor shop if it needed updating, had it cleaned, bought a new shirt, tie, socks, and shoes, had their hat shaped or bought a new one, and got a new handkerchief for their pocket.
I don't remember that there was anyone who didn't go to church on Easter, unless they were sick and unable to go.
And, I can't remember most of those pretty outfits that I wore!
Sketch Crawl:Saturday March 29
For Details, see yesterday's post or
If you are in this area, and are interested, let me know.
Brazos Valley Art League Juried Show
Pick up entries March 28th

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