Once I was dressed, my Mom and Dad
looked me over just in case there was a little something else they could
do to ruin my Easter morning. I mean, if you want to make a 10-year old country
southern boy miserable, roust him out of bed before the chickens are up, strip
his jammies off in a cold, drafty farm house, cram him into a stuffy
old suit (a hand-me-down at that), and choke him half to death in a
starched-neck shirt with a Windsor knotted tie. And, to add insult to
injury, we were required to fast until after the sunrise service concluded.
We started this ritual at 5 am and by 7 am I would have killed for a
But even the ending of the service
didn't allow us to eat right away. Oh no! Now everyone had to pile into
their cars and drive all the way across town to the Southern Methodist
Church where the Ladies Auxiliary (bless their little auxiliary hearts)
had prepared Easter breakfast. Good breakfasts, too, consisting of eggs, pancakes,
bacon, sausage or ham, hash browns, biscuits, and gallons and gallons
of hot coffee! The kids, of course, had milk. This was a rich southern Easter after all.
Once there, we were subjected to
waiting while everyone yakked and admired everyone else's Easter outfit,
and about the time you thought it was time to chow down, we once again
had to wait while Mr. Glasco droned through a lengthy prayer asking
blessing on the food which, by the time he finished, was cold as a well-digger's
I liked Mr. Glasco, understand;
he was a fine man. But he had that slow, southern drawl, and these really loose false teeth and he
had this habit of clacking them constantly when he wasn't talking. And
when he was talking, they clacked themselves. A prayer would go something
like this, "<clack-clack> Lord, <clack-clack> we thank
you for this bountiful blessing of food <clack-clack> we are about
to receive <clack-clack >. . . ."
Then a statement of thanks would
be given by Mr. Bennett, a nice southern gentleman, also with false
teeth that unfortunately whistled as he talked. He would sound something
like this: "tweee" I would like to take this opportunity
to "tweee" thank the Ladies Auxiliary "tweee " for the fine
job they have "tweee" done . . ."
When Mr. Bennett and Mr. Glascow
had a conversation ( "clack-clack - good morning John,"
"tweee -good morning Bill"), I had to leave the room for
fear of falling to the floor in laughter. They were both good men and
I often miss them, but I will never forget how they sounded.
In the southern food tradition, Ham goes with Easter in the same
way that turkey goes with Thanksgiving or a goose with Christmas. In
the days before good refrigeration, hogs were slaughtered and butchered
in the fall after the weather had become cold. Thus the meat could be
trimmed, prepared, cured,and hung without fear of spoilage. It also
meant that not long thereafter, Easter celebration was at hand and the
ham was plentiful. Baked ham just naturally became the traditional Easter
Now that I am a grown man I still
celebrate Easter. I attend the Sunday meeting, but I make it a point
to skip the sunrise service and breakfast at church. Besides, a church
breakfast wouldn't really be fun without Mr. Glascow and Mr. Bennett and their slow southern drawls.