Easter surprises, good and bad

Easter surprises, good and bad

Submitted by By Donald R. Serfass dserfass@tnonline.com on Sat, 04/02/2016 - 09:00

Easter surprises, good and bad

Easter brought a few surprises. Easter always seems to bring surprises.

And no wonder. Easter is a holiday predicated on surprise.

For believers, the Resurrection instills Christians with the biggest surprise of all. Many rejoice at the surprise of an empty tomb and promise of everlasting life.

Another Easter surprise is that the holiday grew from pagan roots.

Ancient Saxons in Northern Europe honored goddess Oestre at the time of the spring equinox, honoring sunrise, springtime, fertility and, essentially, the renewal of life.

Pagan roots also are evident in that Easter is a movable holiday. The date changes. Because of that, we need to check a calendar to see if Easter will fall in March or April. That, in itself, is a surprise. Next year, for instance, Easter falls on my birthday. It’s happened in the past but is a surprise for me nonetheless.

One surprise I often give myself over Easter is a whimsical trip to a different location.

I pick a town at random, and then take along my camera and seek out all things scenic, special or different. Doing so reinforces the concept of surprises and keeps my mind occupied in a productive way.

This year, Easter brought a few extra surprises.

On Saturday, I walked into my front yard and was greeted by a friend who handed me a box of homemade, chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs.

Nancy Meiser and I have known each other 51 years. That’s a surprise because we both feel we’re not a day over 39. Still, we were together through grade school, high school and college. Her peanut butter eggs are a nice surprise, too, because they’re extra rich and creamy.

Later in the day came another surprise.

Friend Betty Cook called from Lewisburg. At age 87, she’s a skilled community organizer and active as ever.

Betty, herself, is living history. She has lifelong ties to some of the great names of major league baseball.

Two years ago, she invited me to bring my Victorian highwheel to her town, where she introduced me to guest Linda Ruth, granddaughter of Babe Ruth.

Turns out, Linda Ruth and I are the same age. We instantly hit it off. She was fascinated by the highwheel and even jumped up onto the seat, with just a bit of help.

Later, we talked at length and she revealed all kinds of fascinating personal info about life with “The Babe.”

During the busy day, Linda and I also got to know another of Betty’s guests, Jim Getty of Gettysburg. He’s the nationally acclaimed Abe Lincoln re-enactor.

In fact, Getty’s voice, portraying Lincoln, is what you hear at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was an honor to get to know him.

Linda and I had a great time that day and even kept in touch afterward.

So it was quite a pleasant Easter surprise when Betty phoned last week to invite me to return to Lewisburg this summer. Once again, I’ll spend time with Linda Ruth and hear more about her legendary grandfather.

But things will be different this time. There will be a void.

Sadly, Jim Getty is no longer with us. He passed away at age 83.

Right now I’m thinking of one of Lincoln’s great quotes: “In very truth, he was the noblest work of God — an honest man.”

I’m sad he’s gone. I wanted so much to have a chance to be with him one more time. He was a font of knowledge.

And so Easter this year brought surprises, pleasant and unpleasant.

Nancy’s chocolate candy definitely lifted my spirits. And yet all of the colored eggs in the world can’t brighten an Easter when it’s tainted with loss.

The older I become, the more I see life as a momentary gift. Nothing lasts forever.

That’s just one reason why it’s important to celebrate each day.

Reach with vigor for all of the happiness within your grasp. Savor every smile.

And cherish every pleasant surprise.