Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter @ The Intersection of Memory Lane

Here's a deep theological and meaningful question for you: How would the world function if Starbucks wasn't open on Easter (and other holidays, at that)? Okay, just to keep your minds at ease, I am at Starbucks, but I'm not partaking in the coffee (or anything else for that matter). I bought one of those really overpriced bottles of water that will help save the children of the world; I brought my own iced coffee from home. I figure I probably could have gotten by coming in here and just sitting (since I'm here all the time anyway), but that would have left me seriously guilt-tripping. So it's water. Water for free Wi-Fi and the ability to be in my "office"-like mentality in which I prepare to grade 80 undergraduate exams that will be ... interesting. The class is up to the Jesus as a Jew stuff, and that always makes for lively exam answers.

I'm actually surprised by the amount of people in here. I'm also surprised at the number of people on the road (driving to church?). I made a trip to Wal-Mart last night for some Pesach cooking utensils, and the rush at 9 p.m. was insane. People (obviously parents and grandparents) were shoving chocolate bunnies and Peeps and marshmallow covered eggs into their shopping carts, along with those cheap easter baskets and that obnoxious grass stuff that you'll be picking out of your carpet for weeks. Ahh, memories.

I grew up, as you all well know, in a Christian community in a "Christian" household. Our holidays never included Jesus (sorry, dude), but rather the popular American themes of the holiday: Santa at Christmas, the Easter Bunny at Easter, etc. I got Jesus at Vacation Bible School with friends in the summer and later in high school I got it through clubs and church adventures and Weekend of Champions retreats (think: giant Christian slumber party).

As a kid, I woke up every Easter in a full sprint to my designated Easter bucket. My parents, you see, bought each of us a bucket (my older brother's blue, mine pink, later my little brother's was yellow I think), stuffed with that annoying grass stuff. My favorite treats were the chocolate covered marshmallows (which, luckily, are a Passover favorite now) and those little candy-coated chocolate eggs. My mom bought Peeps by the case, it seemed like, and we'd eat them while watching television and waiting for dinner. Sometimes we got nicer treats, things that actually weren't food and could come in handy (toys, that is). Dinner usually consisted of ham, cooked in some honey-BBQ combo and all the fixins that went along with every other holiday, like deviled eggs and mom's marshmallow/pineapple concoction. I remember one year mom wasn't in the mood to cook, so we ended up at Red Lobster for Easter eating shrimp and french fries. Now that was Easter eating.

As I got older, Easter got less interesting. I don't know when I stopped believing in the Easter bunny, but when I was in high school it became more about Jesus. Yet I didn't wrap myself up in the holiday; it just wasn't my way. I worked at McDonalds and then at Wal-Mart, and I always volunteered myself to work the holidays. I loved the pre-holiday rush (people-watching, that is) and the extra dollars in my pocket were nice. I suppose I should have known from the beginning that Christian holidays wouldn't be on my list of "things to do" in the future.

Then again, I've never been a big holiday person anyhow. Jewish holidays seem to wrap themselves into the fabric of the life of the Jewish people, however. It seems different in certain ways.

It's funny to think that many hundreds of years ago a Jew sitting in a Starbucks on Easter Sunday would have been a death sentence. I find it less weird to be out and about at Christmas because I know that a lot of the background behind Christmas isn't historically accurate (but still, mad props to my Christian friends, I love you guys; and I know a lot of the Jewish holidays have their issues, too). Being out on Easter makes me a little uncomfortable. Is that normal? Residual fear from the Middle Ages a little weird? Probably.

Anyhow. I've got about 80 exams to grade and then some food to cook for the last two days of Pesach (and seriously, baruch haShem, because this holiday is eating away at my insides and making me physically ill [that's not just me overreacting, I really am physically ill]). So Happy Easter to my Christian readers, Moadim l'simcha to my Jewish readers, and to all my Muslim and Pagan and Buddhist and Wiccan and Hindu and Atheist and Agnostic readers -- enjoy your Sunday, mmk?