Eastover, holidays another way

Hunting Easter eggs, pulling on my new white gloves to complete my Easter Sunday outfit for church, the fragrance of my grandmother’s homemade rolls for Easter dinner, the mysterious early morning light at the Sunrise service. These are some of the small but intense points of light for my childhood memories of Easter. I lived in rural Virginia near a crossroads that held one store, a few houses, and Salem Baptist Church. It was the only church for white people for quite a few miles, and I don’t think it occurred to my parents to go to any other.  As a a twelve year old in 1950, it didn’t occur to me to question my parents opinions about many things, and as a recently baptized Christian, I certainly wasn’t encouraged to question.

Today I’m celebrating Passover with my Jewish partner, George, and some of his family in Western Pennsylvania.  He has planned the Seder and is happily preparing the kugel, charoset, and items for the Seder plate. I have the responsibility for roast chicken and matzoh ball soup.  Together we will wash and chop for roasted vegetables and a salad, and when his grandkids arrive home from school they will help make their favorite appetizer, matzoh pizza.

A few friends will join us this evening and bring huge wonderful macaroons for dessert. Candles will be lit, passages read from the Haggadah, and songs will be sung.  We will sing DAYENU and talk about gratitude for the many acts of kindness from Adonai. The conversation around the table will be about the meaning of the egg and parsley and horse radish, and there will be questions and answers about why this night is different. And special, even now.

George and I will return to our home close to the Atlantic coast in time for Maundy Thursday service in my Methodist Church, and he will even participate in our service by chanting in Hebrew, the same four questions he chanted at the Passover table with his family. And somehow the night will be different again. And special even now.