Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hippity Hoppity Easter Is On Its Way

Happy Easter and Happy Passover, Everyone

As my brother, Pat, wrote when he sent this to me, "Please click on this for a good chuckle.

When I first saw this link I thought it said "rape aster" so I was wondering why the hell Pat was forwarding anything like that. Thank JaysusAllahBuddha I snapped out of the fog and realized it was "Rap Easter" which is more up my alley for viewing.
Sorry, I don't have an equivalent Rap for Passover. Nonetheless, I trust all of you will have a grand holiday season, regardless of how you celebrate.

Just to be on the safe side, I would like to take this time to provide a little religious education to clear up a fine point for those steeped in ONLY the Christian tradition.

This is a picture of Passover. This is a picture of an overpass.

Speaking of my brother Pat, there is a Passover related story about the man who spend a good amount of his youth telling people:
"No, I am NOT Opie Taylor. I just look like him."

During our grade school years, priests from St. Paul Cathedral would visit every other month or so and speak with selected home room classes. Since they were our spiritual leaders, they would offer us their wisdom and counsel. Once a year these holy men would come to our classrooms, chat it up, and then hop onto a student chair so they could reach the door frame under the transom window. Then they would bless us and our classroom.
As part of this ritual they would write, in the spirit of a Passover marking above the door, with a special white crayon onto the dark wood: the year, JMJ (Jesus-Mary-Joseph) INRI (Latin for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum [Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews]and maybe PAX (Latin for peace). They would also throw in a few cross markings for good measure.

It might look something like this:
+ 1961 J.M.J. INRI PAX +

How reassuring it was for us all! I knew for sure the minute this took place that Lucifer wouldn't dream of tempting any kid in that room until late June.

Inspired by this, Patrick went home, took a hardened remnant of wax paste shoe polish, used to shine our Dad's police uniform shoes, from its Kiwi Brand tin. From there he proceeded to jump on a kitchen chair and write on the door frame just below the transom window of each bedroom. Here is the spiritual message he left for me:

+ R.I.A.J. Directly translated from ancient Aramaic, this means "Ruth Is A Jag"

He went on to include:
+M.I.A.J. Also ancient Aramaic for "Mike Is A Jag"

It was that day that the "reverse" Passover happened in the holy city of Pittsburgh. For it was realized later that, for some heavenly reason, this message skipped the door frame of my parents and Kathy, our sainted sister. Once I found out what it meant I took all my comic book back immediately after I turned him in to the parental units and read him his pedigree.

Years later, when he was in his mid-30s, Pat was hospitalized for some medical issues. I traveled to Pittsburgh to check on him and, before I left, I wrote on a note card and placed it on the wall above a cork board intended for get well cards. P.I.A.J. was there for the world to see. Well, I think you will agree that I showed him who was boss. Another outstanding illustration of my superior quality of patience. It only took me 20 years.

Every Easter comes with lovely bright pastel memories. When I was a kid I had what I thought was the most ostentatious basket ever. It had a large hoop style handle and a woven reed basket with a large lipped bowl. One side of the rim was turned over to make filling it with goodies even easier. It was such a bold fashion statement that I pitied my siblings and friends who had lame cookie cutter baskets. Some of theirs actually "twinned" the others a few times over with their bland presentation.

It was only about 10 years ago, when I was pouring over family Easter photos, that the roots of this basket dawned on me. Many of our earlier family photos are black and white with those scalloped edgings. Several are in little coil-spined booklets where you flip the photo over to reveal the next. During a walk down memory lame with these photos is when it jumped off the page at me: my basket actually had lived a former life as a funeral arrangement container.

I'll never know for certain which person literally offered their life so that I might have such a lavish Easter basket, but I would like to thank them for their selfless contribution to my holiday season memories. If I had to guess, it would be my Great Uncle Morgan as h
e is the only relative who passed away when I was that young. So, thanks Uncle Morgan. I wish I still had that beauty for my granddaughter.

Meanwhile, here is a quick snap shot of my sweetheart enjoying an early Easter egg hunt and the rewards of her efforts.

Easter Sunday will find me touring the Shenandoah Valley in Nelson County working on a personal project with a few friends. We'll be documenting the source locations which are the namesakes of some Alexandria City street names.
Plus, scenes like this of the Shenandoah Valley, under the watchful shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, are rapidly disappearing in Virginia and I want to document some of them before they are the settings for condos and other concrete pilings. We've already taken a photo essay of a significant portion of the Valley, but there is so much more to see. A future blog will be dedicated to illustrating just that point.

And so it goes..........HOPPY EASTER AND HAPPY PASSOVER, Scoop

1 comment:

  1. Didn't everyone use an old funeral basket?
    I can't imagine my parents actually buying us one!
    Well yes I can, at the Goodwill or as my Nana called it "Kaufman's 31st Street."