Toilet paper and masks for Easter Sunday party favors

Easter Sunday-1The early morning is quieter than usual. The dark stormy sky and eerie silence feels ominous. The alerts on my phone show the US breaking new coronavirus records. We always do like to be at the top of charts. Easter Sunday does not announce itself with a rousing “He is Risen” joyfulness. 

Texts and WhatsApp messages await from near and distant time zones. Best wishes from Texas, Asia and Europe are heart-warming and bring a sense of connectedness that is reassuring. 

The quote in the last entry of my Lenten daily reflections from Thomas Merton also gives courage: “But now the power of Easter has burst upon us with the resurrection of Christ. Now we find in ourselves a strength which is not our own, and which is freely given to us whenever we need it.”

A windy and balmy walk before morning tea and newspapers soothes the soul. The streets are deserted. No cars full of Easter church goers with crisp new dresses and seer sucker suits. I’m donning all purple Lulu Lemon as my special Easter outfit.

The church service streams on Facebook Live propped on a makeshift coffee table on the patio. Neighbors stroll by and wave – everyone moving at half speed. There’s no rush. No big family dinners to prepare.

We agree to a social distancing take-out Mexican lunch in the garden with our adult children. Two tables set up at 6ft apart, it’s more like sitting at a conference table than a family dinner. The serving and food handling carefully kept separate by gloves and sanitizing cloths. The clouds part, the heat and humidity overwhelm. After too much food and margaritas we succumb to the call of an afternoon nap.

We yearn to retreat to our air conditioning, so call it a day. Maybe next year will be different. We bid each other safe-distance farewells and promises of outdoor dates in a couple of days when the next cool front blows through. Ahhh, back inside the house we enjoy the delicious a/c and naps.

The afternoon is sprinkled with circulating family photo texts  – each grouping in the safety of their isolated bubbles. News of a tornado in NE Louisiana in my brother’s town lights up the group text anew – they mark themselves safe. Checking in with my stepmother, I learn that their take-out Easter dinner from the yacht club this year included a roll of toilet paper and two surgical masks as party favors. A cousins sends out an appeal for masks – her daughter-in-law, a surgical nurse at a local hospital, is getting exposed to COVID-19 patients without proper protection. Scary.

I listen to the Andrea Bocelli Easter Music for Hope live from the Duomo in Milan. It brings tears to my eyes. Today’s empty streets in European capital cities look like scenes from an apocalypse movie. Who could have imagined this just a few weeks ago.

Late afternoon we experiment with our first remote video Boggle game challenge with my son’s fiancee. The three girls, me, my daughter and future daughter-in-law battle it out. What a welcome escape and energizer. In spite of the copious chocolate eggs that I consume to fuel my brain, I am defeated by my high-functioning daughter. She’s in medical school and clearly at the top of her game. You go girl! But I demand revenge tomorrow.

Now the sun is setting … I’m still too stuffed from chocolate eggs and fajitas and chips to worry about supper. Let’s go for another walk before we close the shutters on this most strange of Easter Sundays.

“Next year in Jerusalem”


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