Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Traditions both secular and sacred occur this time each year with our family. Though with our boys on their own, Wendy and I attend Palm Sunday mass by ourselves. Anyone familiar with Catholic church tradition knows that the mass on Palm Sunday is the longest in the church year.

One reason for this is that the passion of Christ is recited at length from the Bible with speakers taking the parts of various characters from the liturgy. The congregation stands through all of this, not that easy for those at the early mass, many of whom are elderly.

This past Sunday we had no sooner begun the recitation when the choir interrupted with a short hymn. This was new. I don't remember singing ever being part of this reading. It meant we would be standing a little longer. After a few more paragraphs were read, the choir interrupted again with singing.

"Pow!" came a noise behind us. An older gentleman had swung his missalette against the top of the pew in front of him. It could have been an accident, as he struggled to balance his swarthy frame. Or it could have been an editorial comment against tampering with tradition with the addition of hymns. All I know is that the sound of his booklet whacking the top of the wooden bench in front of him reverberated loudly throughout.

With our children grown, we're past some of our other family Easter traditions as well. The Easter egg hunt in our house had been an annual tradition for many years with our boys and their cousins. I've always felt neglectful as a dad that I never found a large public Easter egg hunt for our kids to participate in when they were growing up.

Remember those? I'm sure they're still around. I won a softball once by finding a lucky egg. That wasn't easy as you were often competing against dozens, sometimes hundreds of kids.

Once, I recall being among a huge gathering of kids at a local fairgrounds where an Easter Egg hunt was going to take place. The organizers were doing their best to hold back the throngs of youngsters who could see the brightly colored eggs in the distance.

Close to the appointed time for the hunt, one of the volunteer adults wanted to get the attention of a fellow volunteer. "Hea, JOE!!" he called out loudly to be heard over the voices of the exhuberant youngsters.

Joe?? The gathered kids knew he really meant "Go!!" Away they ran like a herd of charging elephants. Though the volunteers tried to stop the mad dash as it wasn't the appointed time, they probably would have had more luck stopping a herd of charging elephants.

That left Joe and his buddies to explain to a couple angry parents why their children were held back while others were given a head start. My guess is if this group sponsored another Easter egg hunt the following year, Joe stayed home.


Blogger Lisa said...


That is one funny story!!

...I no longer go to Catholic mass on Palm Sunday, but I remember it well! I do recall that the last few times I went I did get more out of it than when I was a kid. It really is a beautiful service if it's done the right way (hymns not included)! I had to stop going to church after I went to confession and the priest told me I was going to hell if I didn't get an annulment. I didn't have $5,000 to pay for forgiveness, so I had to move on! ;)

4:09 PM  
Blogger MSUgal86 said...

I took B-girl to one of those Easter Egg hunts last year. Forget the kids, it is the mothers who can be dangerous!

5:54 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

lol I can just imagine that egg hunt!

Have a lovely Easter, Big Dave...make sure you hide an egg or two for yourself...just don't forget where you hid them! ;)

6:46 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Dave, one of the benefits of aging is that you can effectively hide your own Easter Eggs.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I'm not Catholic but I can only imagine the change in tradition upsetting a few people...

I never did take my kids to those large easter egg hunts. We would have our own hunt at our house and let he kids find eggs with their cousins....They seemed to enjoy it.

With TF under the weather, I don't think I will be doing anything with our Grandkids this year. I might have the family over for Easter dinner, but that is all up to TF at this point.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I grew up with Parochial school and the Catholic religion, so I also remember Easter week very well. Those memories are long gone though, since organized religion is no longer in my life.
But what I do remember are the Polish Easters at my Babci's home....the eggs, the Kielbasa, the Polish bread, the butter in the shape of a lamb and a priest coming to the house to bless it all. Some traditions always remain in our memory, don't they?
Happy Easter to you and Wendy, Dave.

3:14 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

They call that the Oklahoma Egg Rush?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

Another secular tradition being the inevitable fine showing of MSU SPARTANS in the NCAA championships, perhaps?

We stay home for the Easter Egg hunt, but it's still terribly competitive with a huge gathering of kids in the yard - all ours.

Trying not to let the Frozen Four excitement upstage Easter here, Dave. A little bird told me you are still cheering for my beloved SPARTANS. The Apocalypse is nigh!!

8:20 AM  
Anonymous SQUIRREL said...

We always did the at home Easter egg hunts for our kids too. We take them out to grandpas farm and all the cousins get together and search. We've got a huge family so it is like a public large organized hunt! HAPPY EASTER DAVE!

10:11 AM  
Blogger Summer said...

Dave, Funny post!
just a note for you, i do travel a lot and you mentioned on Carine's blog that you like to read travel blogs, it would be my pleasure if you visit my blog..i do post a lot of pictures also...hope you do not mind me inviting you like this!! i do have few videos posted also on with my travel pictures. :)

10:42 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Dave, great story. Now I rmember why I never took my kids to those organized frenzies.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

Nice easter story, Dave.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Sideways Chica said...

Very funny! I remember those days too--and fondly. Also, I also rememeber when an elderly woman was so incensed with the first clapping during Mass back in the eighties that she stormed out before communion. The next week there was only tentaive clapping, but she stayed in her seat at least until communion. We were all watching her though, including the priest. ;)

Ciao Big Dave...

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Great post, great comments! I'm laughing at the Palm Sunday service story. My best Palm Sunday ever was one I spent on a small Bahamian island where they celebrated with the most spirited and wackiest mix of island gospel and high Anglican left over from the British. The day before they whacked away at the island palms with machetes and before the service they had a huge parade right down the one dirt street on the island, singing gospel music and waving those palms- it was wonderful!

Hope you had a happy happy Easter and at least enjoyed a chocolate bunny or two.

P.S. My worst fear is that the Snarl will meet up with some charming fellow like your son and it will be twice the daring do. I remember chaperoning a group of young jazz musicians to Amsterdam and having to explain to them that JFK airport didn't have the same pot standards as Ann Arbor...

12:26 PM  
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11:04 PM  

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