Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holiday time

My wife and I celebrated Easter in our traditional way. We had lunch at Chili's.

I know, I know. It's not exactly a ham at someone's house, or a buffet at a nice restaurant with family. This tradition does work for us. They serve up a fine chicken sandwich at Chili's. I don't have any more demands from this particular holiday.

The day got me to thinking as usual. Is there an odder holiday than Easter in terms of its celebration?

I remember from my Sunday School days that it is the most joyous day of the Christian year. I don't know why someone decided to peg the date to a phase of the moon rather than put it on the second Sunday of spring, but greater minds than mine figured that one out.

Easter is also the easiest holiday of the year to ignore, or at least not see coming. That's only in part because the date always changes which means I always have to look at my datebook to know when it falls.

I'm not a church-goer, so there are no major references to it in my life. In the past week a couple of writers have mentioned Holy Week, and I said, "Oh yeah." I guess I notice when Peeps have gone on sale at the supermarket. But then, I hate the taste of Peeps. At this time of the year, I don't have to do any gift shopping for anyone. I don't mail out Easter cards. I don't make up Easter CDs for my friends. I don't write a holiday newsletter. No one said "Happy Easter" to me in person.

It's on a Sunday, so most people have it off anyway. But for those who work weekends, like me, we don't get any sort of extra compensation for working that day. No extra pay, no day off in the bank to use later. It's just another day.

Driving around the area on Easter Sunday is a slightly odd experience. I'm old enough to remember a time when many businesses were closed just because it was Sunday. Those days are over, but Easter is something of a throwback to that era. We wound up at Chili's some time ago because it was open. Some restaurants, like Ted's the hot dog stand, are closed for the day. Target is closed, Kmart is open. There's less traffic, but the streets aren't empty like on Christmas. And so on.

It's almost as if those who want to celebrate Easter can do so, in their own way and with people of their own choosing. There's no pressure; it's just out there.

All in all, while it feels a little bit like I'm on the far side of a bit of a cultural divide, this seems a pretty sensible approach. Anything more would be, as they say at Chili's, "Margarita Madness!"

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