Throughout time, deciding when to observe the Easter holiday has been the center of controversy and much debate among Christians. However, the idea of a celebration in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and enjoying a feast with family and fellow Christians has prevailed no matter what date is set on the calendar for the traveling holiday.
In my youth, Easter rivaled Christmas dinners when all the cooks in the family gathered to put their best culinary efforts on the table.
Needless to say, everyone ate like kings from the minute we returned from church until the last family member waved goodbye as the sun disappeared. And if there were any leftovers, we ate like princes the next couple of days.
On Easter Sunday, there was laughter as stories of past silliness were fondly recalled and tears of sorrow shed for those who were not able to be with us.
"They're enjoying a feast with the Lord," my Grandmother Iva would say while patting a tear away tissue and then raise a glass of wine in memory of loved ones who had passed on. "Oh, what a day that will be."
As a child, I never fully understood the meaning of the last part of what she said. But, 24 minutes after Easter Sunday ended in 1987, my grandmother went to be with the Lord.
Although it took a year to recover from her unexpected death, I realized what she meant.
The first Easter dinner after her death wasn't what I had grown to expect. So much about it seemed wrong without her there. I missed her laughter, her sense of humor and how she filled a room with joy with just a smile.
I don't know for sure, because her death hit me so hard, but I remember snow began to fall and lightly covered the ground that night while family members gathered at the hospital.
Prince wrote a song titled, "Sometimes It Snows In April," and I wore out several tapes listening to it for solace.
According to the lyrics:
Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish, that life was never ending,
But all good things, they say, never last
All good things, they say, never last
And love, it isn't really love, until it's past
This past Monday's snowfall brought memories of her flooding back. While they are so very welcome because she's always in my heart, I can't help but admit that I miss her terribly this week.
With her on my mind, work on my mind and getting ready to prepare Easter dinner this weekend, I had a weird thought about my grandmother that I think she would appreciate.
Grandma Iva arrived after Easter dinner, which would mean she would be able share with the Lord how to enjoy the leftovers by making breakfast ham cakes.
Mix two cups of leftover potatoes (one each of regular potatoes and sweet yams that are mashed together) with two finely chopped garlic cloves, 1/4-cup each of chopped green (I like some celery for crunch, but you don't need to add it) and red onions, 1/2-cup of shredded Cheddar cheese, a dash of hot sauce to taste and two cups of finely chopped or grated leftover ham. When done, place bowl in refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before continuing.
NOTE: You can use two cups of whichever potato you prefer, but we always liked the taste of the two together.
Remove from refrigerator and form the "dough" into eight large or 10-12 smaller patties. Cover the bottom of a large cast-iron frying pan with a thin layer of olive oil, and cook patties over medium heat, turning several times, until golden brown. Let each individual season their patty to taste.
If we were having a hearty breakfast, my grandmother would place an over-easy cooked egg on top of the ham patty. If we were in a hurry, these patties made great hand-held breakfasts on the go.
A wonderful friend of mine, who knows how hard this week is for me, sent this e-mail that I would like to share with readers:
A Recipe for Life
1-cup of good thoughts,
1-cup of consideration for others,
1-cup of kind deeds,
3-cups of forgiveness,
2-cups of well-beaten faults,
4 cups prayer and faith, and
Add a few tears of joy, sorrow and sympathy
Mix good thoughts, consideration, kind deeds, forgiveness and well-beaten faults. Add tears of joy, sorrow and sympathy for others. Fold in prayer and faith to lighten other ingredients and raise the texture to great heights of Christian living. Pour all into your family life. Bake well with the heat of human kindness. Serve with a smile.
I hope everyone had a good holiday with their family.