Nobody dresses up for Easter anymore.
Nobody shines their shoes, puts on a suit and struggles with that top shirt button; nobody wears white gloves, a new hat and a gay Easter frock; and nobody uses the word “gay” like that anymore.
Unless wearing the medium blue T-shirt without the dark blue stain and not missing a belt loop in your best jeans constitutes “dressing up”.
Easter Sunday was the only event of the Kid Year that I ever wore a suit and tie and a pair of hard shoes. The tie was usually a clip-on bowtie and the suit was of the finest 35 thread-count fallow brown burlap. The shoes still smelled of rubber and glue and always seemed to be one size too small.
The suit pants were so scratchy you had to walk in a stiff-legged fashion, being careful not to bend the legs at the knees or hips in order to reduce the risk of second-degree burns.
So the scene on Easter Sunday outside of St. Luke’s Church – when viewing the boys in wool suits, anyway – resembled a bunch of well dressed, walking clothespins. By chance if Dr. Jonas Salk happened by Sparrows Point on any given Easter Sunday back in the early 60s, he would surely have contacted the AMA to ask why all the male youths in the community had been deprived of all his beneficial research.
By the time all the genuflecting and the kneel-sit-stand-repeat routine of Mass had finally come to a merciful end, not only were the church kneelers and wooden pews cleaned and buffed to a fine shine, but so were your lower extremities.
(I once tried to wear my flannel pajamas under the pants, but I couldn’t get my shoes to fit over the footie part.)
If you happened to have a nice springtime poison oak or poison ivy rash at the time (like yours truly), you then became eligible to sit with the octogenarians in the Extreme Unction section of the church, located next to the emergency side exit.
On the other hand, the girls loved Easter. They had it easy: new dress, new shoes, new hat, maybe even a new crucifix necklace or a limited one-day usage of grandma’s special “diamond” rosary – it was just that simple.
Free from the encumbrances of having their legs encased in used Brillo pads, the girls were happy, their smiles genuine.
They won every Easter egg hunt because they could bend and stoop, an ability the boys did not possess on this day. They enjoyed Easter dinner because they had full use of their arms and weren’t required to wear a full body bib to protect their white shirt and burlap ensemble.
Even a female toddler all dressed up in white lace and a bonnet who stumbled and fell every two steps was more graceful than a 6-year-old boy doing a Frankenstein walk down the church aisle.
The girls just had it easier on Easter Sunday than the boys.
If any of you girls out there disagree with that assessment then not only do I want to hear your trumped up story, but I want proof in the form of photos that clearly indicate human suffering caused by rough, stiff clothing and signed affidavits from at least 10 eyewitnesses describing in great detail your ordeal of slipping on a nice cotton dress and tilting your hat just so.
For my next Easter column we will delve into the correlation between the Holy Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday – and Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, packing a baked ham and a basketful of jelly beans, dyed hardboiled eggs and chocolate rabbits.
- To my old friend Dave Shifflett: Rest in peace