Easter in Maine, growing up our family attended church services, received something for spring dress clothes along with the Sunday noon ham, green bean casserole, the squash, potato, and ambrosia fruit salad.
Gelatin salads of all type were popular but I never took a shining to the suspended carrots in the jiggly Easter dinner selection. Yeast rolls of the cinnamon variety and breads of all types. Relishes, asparagus, broccoli, turnip, carrots, corn, peas and those pearled onions.
Fresh baked pies made from the fruits picked and frozen and packed away in the large chest freezer last summer and fall located and thawed.
Carefully placed just so in the homemade crust pie shells. With an artistic covering folded and tucked around the pie plates edges. Then with neat chevron patterned air holes added just so to decorate the top covering before the sliding the dessert creation into the oven to cook to perfection.
Puddings, squares and topped with whipped cream or ice cream completed the formal dining room feast for our Maine family. Lots of chairs, more than one table and extended family members pulling up close to what was on the Easter dinner menu. Food was very much part of the Easter memories.
Nowadays, going out to eat at local restaurant seems to be popular. Instead of the time spent in the kitchen creating the Easter holiday spread.
What is served up earns a tip from someone not home with their feet up. Missing out on the Easter holiday time to relax munching on the treats left overnight. The ones hidden cleverly by the long eared, whiskered one with strong back legs carrying a very large basket.
Jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks, a new book. A gift of Sunday best clothing outfit just for the occasion.
Potted tulips, an Easter lily or daffodil. Easter basket green straw lined the festive woven containers. All that was left behind by the generous bunny who took a page out of the Santa book spoke of spring that was starting up all around us in rural Maine.
Before the sea of sameness and broadcast automation recordings from far away tickling our ears. The local radio stations were live and local. Servicing the air waves of small local towns lucky enough to have one by giving clues on where the crowds of kids with baskets or sacks should head to find hidden tin foil wrapped chocolate eggs, ones that looked like a robin would lay and speckled too.
Candied carrots. Jelly filled or foam pumped up chicks and the traditional chocolate bunnies you felt guilty about ruining by removing their heads and ears by chomping down with your quick guillotine use of your front teeth.
Those town wide Easter egg hunts were made easier with clues broadcast that needed group deciphering. As the station crew stayed a few steps ahead planting the loot of candy, prizes, brightly colored treats that kept a dentist in business. It was trick or treating without the steps and the doorbell and done in broad daylight not darkness of night. Like a posse in search of sugar free for the taking if you stepped lively.
At Easter, the Saturday before the holiday, I remember my dad taking the four kids on back a farm truck loaded with empty cedar stave potato barrels. To Cary Mill’s and the Holmes house to purchase and transport live bunnies.
The frisky rabbits placed in the snug rows of barrels for safe transport on the under two mile trip back to the Maine farm.
We always took a short cut across the farm owned by brothers Uncle Carl and Donald Hagan over a private field road that easily cut traveling time in half. I remember the bunnies being released on our large rolling lawn and them hopping in circles. Soft, cute, quiet and with twitching noses and whiskers. Not making a noise but creating a trail of perfect round er… “by products”.
Then they were gone. Not placed on the dining room table. We never ate rabbit. Although World wide it is a popular dish to feast on when the meal time bell rings loudly. I’m not sure if they hopped to it to go AWOL or MIA by simply high tail it quick like a bunny.
Heading for the woods and back to freedom as they knew it. Or maybe at night a sly fox would make them a rabbit dinner when the sly one felt like easy pickings. Just did not feel like the same ole same ole chicken dinner or whatever the UPS truck hit on the way over from the package delivery storage warehouse that day.
Or maybe the Easter rabbits hopped back to the Holmes house where we had purchased them for resale. Like homing pigeons with built in GPS following their noses.
All I know is they disappeared and it was not the family German Shepherd or St Bernard responsible for the bunny’s demise.
High water levels from melting snow turned thoughts from hockey ice skating and down hill skiing or sliding to canoe races happen at Easter time in Maine. The local dairy bar pens and the ice cream window is sliding up to ask for your order. “Talk to me” the teenager inside and stooped over asks with pencil and small pad of paper. What will the ice cream treat you should not be ordering a large serving of be today? What looks good to you?
Little league tryouts and who’s selected for which team. The race to get the right size uniforms washed and ironed and delivered or new ones ordered with fresh numbers and team logo. And the baseball fields groomed and in shape after the ravages of winter reshaped them. The soap box derby race in Houlton is the state race and June 15th this year and not far away as we burn through the days on the April calendar. The White House Easter egg roll has a Maine connection too.
Kids digging out bikes, wearing rubber rain boots searching for irrestiable mud puddles.
Everyone out for walks and the April showers helping wash off the street sanding material. Whatever the snow plow placed on lawns riding on melting snow banks desperately need to be shoveled and raked. So fresh green live grass can pop up in unison. Just like the bulbed flowers around the foundation and in rocked gardens, the tree tips too have started to do when it is Easter in Maine. Happy Easter!
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