Phyllis Britt

Phyllis Britt

This Easter will go on record as the strangest I’ve ever experienced.

I went to church in my pajamas – when it’s streaming live, I can see the ministers but they can’t see me, of course. I intended to get up and get dressed, but it didn’t happen. I found that the service was equally as meaningful with me in my PJs. (Realize that for some reason that I really can’t explain, I still refuse to wear slacks to church. I’m usually in a dress and certainly not in my nightwear. So pajamas are a huge leap out of my comfort zone when it comes to attending church – even at home.)

It reminded me of just how far we’ve come – for good or bad – since I was a kid. Easter was a huge deal. I believe in my childhood we put more emphasis on Easter than Christmas. Everyone I knew voiced the opinion that the resurrection deserved to happen with believers dressed in their finest to glorify God – He deserves the best, especially on Easter. I can remember that I always got a new outfit, including new shoes and a new hat. When was the last time you wore a hat to church? I regularly see one woman at my church wearing a hat, but that’s all. I also always got a corsage from my daddy to wear on Easter morning. When was the last time you saw someone wearing a corsage? I can tell you exactly the last time I saw someone. About 25 years ago I was singing in the choir, and a fellow choir member had received a corsage for Easter, and she wore in on her choir robe. I don’t think the choirmaster was too happy, but he didn’t ask her to take it off.

In fact the Easter corsage was the tradition that almost deep-sixed my marriage to Tom before it happened. We had just gotten engaged, and we came home for Easter to announce our engagement to our parents. On Easter Sunday, Tom was going to church with me, so he was coming to our house to ride with my family. As we were about to leave for church my daddy pulled out a corsage for my mother, but not one for me. I guess it was obvious that I was disappointed. Daddy said, “I’m sorry. I assumed your fiancé would get one for you.” He hadn’t. Tom’s family didn’t do that as a matter of course. It was our first “fight” – well, heated discussion anyway. But we overcame our differences in Easter expectations, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Back to this strange Easter of many broken traditions – I noticed on Facebook that one of my church friends had gone so far as to fix something for breakfast as though she were going to church – our church always has an Easter morning breakfast to which everyone brings something. I wish I had thought to follow this tradition despite the circumstances, but with just Tom and me at home, it wouldn’t be the same. Almost always Liz comes down from Greenville in time for the breakfast, so I’m used to having at least the Bartges and the Browns join us for breakfast there. (Mac’s family often goes to the church his wife grew up in, so they don’t usually join us.)

We were able to have some semblance of a “normal” Easter dinner. It was touch-and-go for a while, because we have a long-standing tradition of lamb chops on Easter, and I couldn’t find any. Thanks to Facebook, I was led in the right direction to get them after all.

Because we generally spend a great deal of time with grandchildren Cade and Payton, and since their parents have been pretty much confined to quarters, we have sheltered in place together. As a result we did have the Browns with us for Easter dinner. We had planned an egg hunt for Cade and Payton; however, as you may be painfully aware, it rained – in fact it rained buckets. I think when things dry out, we’ll try again. After all, the Easter season continues until Pentecost, May 31, after all.

For this holiest of holidays, I went all out with setting the dinner table – my good china, silver crystal and, another longstanding tradition, my daughters’ collections of Beatrix Potter figurines as the centerpiece. (I’m not sure why these figurines still reside at my house, but I’m making use of them while they’re still here.) My daughter Cat asked why we weren’t eating on paper plates – “It’s so much easier,” she declared. Maybe it’s because of my upbringing of celebrating Easter with our finest, but I replied that I don’t have many occasions on which I can use my best tableware, so I was going to take advantage of the occasion.

I ultimately did dress up for Sunday dinner, and we had a small, but festive, celebration, with all the traditions we could abide by under the circumstances.

As a result, this Easter was strange, but enjoyable for the Britt household. And how was it for you?