I loved Easter when I was young.
We had Good Friday off school and the first task of the day was to walk to “Jean the shop” in the village of Coity, Bridgend, to pick up the freshly baked hot cross buns. They were still warm by the time I got them home, and having them for breakfast in place of regular cereal is a treat I remember to this day.
Then there was Easter Sunday and all that chocolate. I recall a year when the mother of Bev, who worked in my mother’s salon, brought me a white rabbit, stuffed to the gills with chocolate bars; my brother had a blue dog with the same. Always we had around eight eggs. I recall the excitement of the brown cellophane bag of brown discs inside the Buttons egg; the first crack of that thick outer rim of an oval chocolate bowl; the wolfing down of the Sunday roast, desperate to enter combat once more with this rare brown, sugary feast.
And afterwards, the stress of Easter Monday - sitting for hours in Bank Holiday traffic and arriving at Southerndown beach just in time to see the last of the tide disappear over the horizon, before heading back home, lucky if we made it in time for News at Ten.
The church part of Easter I found infinitely depressing: all those hymns about old rugged crosses and bleeding limbs, and Bible tales about being force fed vinegar. It’s actually quite disturbing to a young mind, and even the “joy” of the resurrection story was a little frightening. Dead people coming to life always worried me. I recall the picture of Lazarus in my Children’s Bible, leaping up from his open coffin when Jesus decided to raise him from his rigor mortis; the locals looked more terrified than thrilled.
I also couldn’t help feeling that they must have felt a bit miffed that Jesus had singled out this man; if he could do one, couldn’t he go along to the local graveyard and perform the same trick on everyone else? My theory is that Lazarus wasn’t really dead at all, just in a heavy sleep - like those people today who are pronounced dead and wake up just as the embalmer is rolling up his or her sleeves.
So I felt the same sense of creepiness and disbelief when Jesus allegedly escaped from his tomb - or “rose from the dead”, if that’s your thing. I was indoctrinated by my Christian background to accept this version of events and I have no problem with anyone who wishes to believe that this momentous event was to save mankind from sin.
Now, though, I think it no less ludicrous than Scientology, although I acknowledge that living one’s life according to the Christian principles of goodness and truth is the best way (leaving aside the bits about crusades and killing everyone who disagrees with you, not to mention the lunatics who think the Bible is one book, it’s a pretty good philosophy).
I just don’t believe that we rise from the dead. I don’t even want to. It’s a nice comforting through to help humans deal with the fact that our breathing stops (all religions have their version of this), but that doesn’t make it true. I feel joyous in the knowledge that we pass things on while we are living, so many things that influence the lives of future generations; that, to me, is everlasting life, and I take immense pleasure in its simplicity. And, to be honest, there aren’t many people I ever want to see again; I’m done with most of you already.
These days, I don’t get any eggs, but usually treat myself to a little something. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a Lindt bunny when I was back in the UK. I also bought some newspapers and magazines and, at W H Smith, was asked for ID when I tried to pay with my credit card.
“I’m a British citizen!” I cried, with the kind of indignation usually used for the subject of weapons of mass destruction, not chocolate bunnies. Unless there was an arsenal of guns hiding inside bunny’s stomach, I could see no reason why I had to provide ID. The poor lad on the cash register looked flummoxed and the manager had to be called to sort out what was clearly a very complex operation.
I was not manhandled to the ground, unlike the poor passenger dragged from the United Airlines flight this week. I hope he sues them for a fortune. The time to bump people from a flight is at the gate, not when they are sitting on a plane, ready for take-off. I know, from personal experience, that when things do not go according to plan, panic sets in.
The revelation of aspects of Dr Dao’s past has been despicable, as nothing is relevant other than the way he was mistreated at the hands of the over-zealous thugs who abused him so appallingly. He will be spending Easter in hospital, recovering from concussion and nursing a mouth missing its front teeth, and a broken nose. My eggless weekend fades by comparison.
It’s going to be a very quiet Easter. I have work today and am seeing friends tonight. I’ll watch bonnets and parades on TV, grateful that I am not caught up amongst the ribbons and bows. I won’t be listening to any services churning out dirges about death, and I won’t even be eating any chocolate as, in all honesty, I don’t really like it. I can make a Kit Kat last a month.
So, a Happy Easter to you all, whatever your beliefs or disbeliefs. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die . . . Or maybe not.