Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Eggs.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Article Series

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

The older I get, the less current holidays mean to me… and the more those from years, even decades ago. I see the vivid Easter displays; (these days pharmacies seem to have the most and largest.) But these festive aisles and windows, the bags of candy, and, of course, the seasonal cuddlies do not speak to me. They merely mark the calendar as just another day.

That was not always the case, but years and unrelenting death have so thinned the ranks of the significant players in these annual rites that the dead now significantly outnumber the living, of whom, graying, I am yet one.

I do not mind giving up this present holiday; there is little enough to lose.

But I would mind relinquishing my memories of Easter Days gone by, for there are my beloved ghosts, each and every one as vital in my mind’s eye as quick, not long defunct.

And because these folks are even more precious to me now than then, I wish this Easter to remember them through the medium of eggs, colored eggs, hidden eggs, Easter eggs.

My mother’s Easter eggs.

Without any effort whatsoever, I see her in the way the narrator in Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” (1938) saw his characters and Granite state denizens. She was young and beautiful then, far, far younger than I am now. She worried, as so many women before and since, about whether she was a “good mother” because she had outside work responsibilities. When I was much older, she would ask me if I minded her being away when I came home from school. I was too young to know just what I should have said. .So, I stumbled through an answer I hope gave comfort, but must doubt. Perhaps it was some scintilla of this guilt (I cannot be sure) that drove the yearly Easter Egg Project, or perhaps it was simply that this messy business was sure to make her laugh. I was there but perceived little; today I see much more, all impressions secure in my mind’s eye.

I quite recall we’d go to Woolworths, first, and then our local general store and post office, run by Mr. and Mrs. Mackey (I never called them anything other); folks who knew all, but were most times (gratefully) discrete.

Both places would have had the Eastern egg coloring kit (by PAAS?) that was de rigueur for this annual kitchen table rite. This kit had the necessary color pellets, special “swirl” colors, too, for advanced egg coloring…. and a host of decals with seasonal themes. We only used the secular ones. Some of these were certain to be later found in my brother’s hair and clothes; he tried to do as much to me, but I was older and wise to his tactics. He can hardly laugh about it even now…

At first. there was strict order and efficiency. Uncolored eggs here; table spoons for these eggs for dipping. Hot water (mind it needed vinegar) on the stove… pellets here… decals there. This sensible ordering of the event was gone in an instant, submerged in uncouth behaviors, reachings around and over, and of course clever sibling sabotages.

And always and again, laughter that firmly established more than any query ever could, that yes she was the best of mothers, how could she even wonder? And so, some telltale signs of the battle still table top, the now colored eggs packed up (except a few) and driven purposefully to Grammie’s house, where we rambunctious and much loved, visited most every day. Grammie had a task for these eggs… and we knew partly what it was, for these rituals were yearly done.

Each year, Grammie and Grampie, their four adult children and their spouses, would mastermind the family Easter Egg Hunt. There was never any question where it would be held. And while it was not so grand as the nation’s Egg Rolling at the White House, it was as meticulously arranged and punctiliously celebrated.

All aunts contributed the necessary elements — colored eggs of course (always the subject of high scrutiny and devastating comments sotto voce); home-made cookies (the honor of their sex ensured we never had others); and mountains of Easter candy that started with chocolate rabbits and ended with jelly beans. Then circled back to chocolate again. Excess was the order of the day.

Children were encouraged to play outside. Important doings were underway… in the kitchen and in the “rec” room below where the men had the task of determining the hiding places in and out… and carefully writing each location down. These men might grumble… but they never missed this crucial aspect of the affair. They would have been there anyway; we all ended each day in Grammie’s house and kitchen perforce, no invitation ever needed.

At the appointed hour Easter Day, after church and a heavy, formal luncheon which lost nothing of our solid living Hanoverian ancestors, the grandchildren (and that meant every last one of us) were gathered at the starting point in the garage, where on ordinary days Grampie was not above showing off his latest Oldsmobile and his automated garage door. His children, as yet, had neither. The grandchildren’s Easter eggs.

Grampie and his two sons and two sons-in-law including my father were in charge of Order and Efficiency. This year would surely not be a repeat of what happened last year. But it always was…

The children were all sternly and solemnly admonished to put what they found in their Easter basket and, Above All Else, to let one of the hovering adults know Where They Had Found It.

As always, the organizing theory was excellent… but the reality ensured the customary mass chaos (and much laughter).

The youngest grandchildren could never recall where they had found that chocolate bunny, which was already absent an ear. The oldest grandchildren (inspired by me, the oldest of all) were practised predators. We knew all the best hiding places and went to them like a bat from hell, erasing all order as we went.

Such perhaps was the truest indication that we were a family, each and every one of us.

Unwilling to end this giant game of hide and seek, the grandchildren hid and re-hid the eggs (now mostly broken and inedible) and candies, too. There were only to be found when one of the uncles was sure to find in humid July in the toe of his winter boots, a very jaundiced and pungent Easter egg artifact. So, that’s where that one went….

No Easter, however, would have been complete without my father taking us to the feed store and reviewing the new colored chicks and ducks (red, blue, purple, green). We were allowed a half a dozen or so; before we left Grammie’s we got to show our less fortunate cousins What We Got… pets all, none ever to be eaten.

Now all this exists only in my mind’s eye… but, because I’ve summoned this story, it is all quite clear, so many fond details not lost, but here after all and after all these years.

And so I say to every parent, grandparent and distant aunts and uncles, too: this day, live this day and hug every memory close. Each one is yours… and precious, too; not one to lose. It all starts with a colored egg, my privilege too long forgot, to do this day, in remembrance of all , each one alive in me as I in them.

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About The Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four college degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities, quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 20 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

 

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” have garnered eight prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now and get a copy of his memoir at http://writerssecrets.co

His new model at Writers Secrets.com helps people to get their messages and stories out to the world! Find out more at: http://writerssecrets.com

ebook cover Writers Secrets newGet a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

 

 

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‘And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ (Matthew 6:28) Easter Lily

Proudly presented from the www.writerssecrets.com Article Series

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

It is today Easter Sunday. Easter came late this year, April 24. And it came into a world that was dismayed by our elusive springtime; temperatures low, hints of snow and even some late flakes, and the bone chilling winds that convince you January has never left, though in fact it is 55 degrees in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

My house is awash with flowers, many more than usual. I saw some lovely orchids at Shaw’s market in Porter Square; they were reasonably priced, too. And so then having nothing blooming inside, I brought them home. It is now two weeks and a couple days since I acquired them; they are faded now, of course. But they still have traces, and proudly too, of the tasteful colors that made me snatch them up.

Doyle Taylor, a perceptive friend, saw that I was preoccupied one recent day and tended to be more caustic than usual. Doyle is a man who not merely believes in saying it with flowers but doing so promptly with a most thoughtful card signed by him and his new wife Casey. They were high school sweethearts who lost touch, married others… then after fate had dealt with them, rediscovered and married each other. They are charming, intelligent, delightful. One can never know too many such but life delivers them sparingly.

Then there is my most recent floral acquisition, the mandatory (for some) Easter Lily. I got it only yesterday (when I inquired a week ago I was told they came in only a few days before the holiday. It has one flower open and many buds promising good value and good looks, too. It is of this plant and its Easter Lily — Lilium longiflorum — that I wish to speak for it is, verily, the symbol of the day and its world-changing events.

Many Easter lilies, not just one.

We speak in common parlance, as people do, of an “Easter lily,” but in fact there are several such. First, of course, lilium longiflorum, the clear winner of the name by its indisputable commercial prowess.

Following far behind in popularity, use, and commercial value is Zantedeschia aethoipca, not a true lily at all, commonly called Lily of the Nile, Calla lily or Arum lily, native to southern Africa. Then Lilium candidum, commonly called the Madonna Lily, native to the Balkans and West Asia. Zephyranthes atamasco, commonly called Atamasco Lily or Rain Lily, native to the southwestern United States… then (you never guessed) daffodils, the daffs we love being lilies after all.

Where did Easter lilies come from?

Ever hear of the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan? That’s where today’s Easter lilies originate. And therein lies an important fact about why this industry was once dominated by Japan… and why today it is almost completely American. World War II was the transforming event.

Prior to 1941, the majority of Easter lily bulbs were exported to the United States from Japan. World War II changed everything. Today 95% of all bulbs grown for the potted Easter lily market are not only produced in the United States, but more surprisingly within a narrow coastal region straddling the California-Oregon border, from Smith River, California up to Brookings, Oregon. It gets even more interesting; just 10 farms in this area produce almost all Easter lily bulbs in the US of A. Unsurprisingly these farms have dubbed themselves collectively the “Easter Lily Capital of the World.”

An industry completely changed by one man and one bulb.

One man made a huge difference to this US dominance of the Easter Lily and how it looks today. That man was Louis Houghton who brought a suitcase full of hybrid lily bulbs to the south coast of Oregon in 1919. These he freely distributed certain that the weather and environment were perfect for the cultivation of a superior bulb to that grown by the Japanese. When WW II cut off Americans from the Easter lilies which were an integral part of religious services, Houghton was given his big chance on a silver platter.

He was successful beyond his wildest imaginings. By 1945 there were about 1,200 growers producing bulbs up and down the Pacific Coast, from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, California. The early comers profited for a time as the price of lily bulbs skyrocketed. It reminded some of the Dutch “tulip mania” of the 17th century, where a single tulip bulb cost the annual wages of 10 skilled crafts people. Were Easter lily bulbs next? A small army of lily farmers bet the ranch on it… and failed. The number of Easter lily producing farms steadily dropped; today there are just 10… comfortably dividing up the proceeds.

The Nellie White.

James White was one of the successful Easter lily producers. However, he thought the elimination of Japan (and its too small lilies) opened the door for other improvements, too. He wanted to end the dominance of the “White Gold” bulb… and significantly improve the look of Easter lilies with an entirely new bulb… in due course named after White’s wife, Nellie. Today the “Nellie White” dominates the U.S. market and thus the entire Easter lily business. One crucial thing in season can completely change any industry, and no one in business should ever forget that.

More about the Easter lily business.

One major reason why so many Easter lily producers closed was the considerable difficulty in growing and managing the plants themselves. First, Easter lily bulbs must be cultivated in the fields for three, sometimes four, years, before they are ready to be shipped to commercial greenhouse growers. During these years the bulbs are never dormant and require constant care and attention to assure superior quality and cleanliness. Each bulb is handled up to 40 times before it is ready to be shipped. And remember the commercial selling season is just two weeks annually at the time of Easter (the date for which changes annually)… and all Easter lilies must be ready and should ideally have at least one flower open, the better to showcase the thing that matters most of all to everyone who sees this stately, evocative plant: the Easter lily itself. It is astonishingly elegant, dramatic, the very essence of purity. As such Jesus saw fit to use this favored plant as a means of quieting nervous Christians.

The Sermon on the Mount.

Of the many seminal moments in the brief ministry of Jesus Christ on earth, the Sermon on the Mount needs special attention. It was given in about AD 30 and contains one essential element of the Christian religion after another, including this reassuring sentiment to believers:

“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

And so Jesus turned a glorious flower into a symbol of God’s love for and protection of even erring people. Thus, when you attend Easter services today or any day and see the unforgettable white trumpet-like flowers of the Easter lily, you are seeing an apt symbol and manifestation of a love that can be ours and eternal.

* * * * *
About The Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four college degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities, quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 20 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” have garnered eight prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now and get a copy of his memoir at http://writerssecrets.co

ebook cover Writers Secrets newGet a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

 

 

George Quacker Production

Div. Jeffery Lant Associates

All rights Reserved