When I was growing up, I always hated Holy Week. As an extremely devout Catholic, my mom saw it as her duty to make sure her kids endured every moment of worship she could possible squeeze into us in the last few drab days of Lent.
Generally, that meant that on Thursday and Friday night, we were in church listening miserably to the droning priest while our pagan (by my mom's standards) friends watched Gilligan's Island in the comfort of their homes and dreamed of Easter candy.
Sure, Palm Sunday, the previous weekend, had been somewhat diverting. I always liked leaving mass with a palm frond each year (except in fourth grade, when I broke my leg an hour before church and was allowed to stay home--an Easter miracle!), but services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday offered no such exotic party favors from the Holy Land.
Worse, on Good Friday, we had to participate in the Veneration of the Cross, waiting in line to smooch an icky germ-laden crucifix that was wiped quickly (but hardly disinfected) between each kiss. (Hey, maybe that's why nearly everyone in the parish had the same cold sore!) I found the spectacle demeaning and a little pervy.
Easter, when it finally arrived with its overflowing baskets of candy (the second best haul of the year after Halloween) always seemed like a meager payout for all the kneeling and tedium we had suffered. Plus, there was the interminable Easter service to attend with its choking clouds of incense, overcrowded pews, and obligatory fainting spells by parishioners overcome by the close quarters and long periods of standing and kneeling. (At least the suddenly slumping bodies caused little ripples of excitement in the otherwise soporific proceedings.)
Easter services might have been a nightmare, but I did always enjoy Easter dinner. Along with a ham and mashed potatoes, we usually had stinky and delicious deviled eggs on the table, and if we happened to be at the home of my aunt and uncle, each child found a large chocolate bunny waiting at their plate. My sisters usually gobbled up their bunnies within a day or two, but I liked to savor mine, taking a small nibble each day until my mom finally lost patience and, weeks later, tossed the stale chocolate rabbit in the trash.
This Easter, Darren and I will be in Arkansas, at the home of the above mentioned aunt and uncle. I'm looking forward to a nice, worship-free visit with them. (Well, they will worship--we'll relax on the patio.) We last saw each other at my grandpa's funeral in December, so I expect this visit will be far more jolly.
I'll let you know if I receive a big chocolate bunny.