Saturday, April 15, 2006

Welcome to my Easter

Robert and I are hosting Easter at Marta and Pepe's. That's what I get for giving such an illuminating tale of Easter-yore at our house. I described the baskets, the colored eggs and chocolate bunnies, the Easter feast; the ham, the potato salad, the deviled eggs, followed by the hunt for the obscenely excessive golden egg stuffed with a hundred dollar bill. This tradition is Robert's fault though I can't remember exactly how.

Well, naturally, Marta was worried that we should not deprive ourselves of our time-honored tradition. Why, of course, we should try to duplicate this wonderful event for our Mexican friends! Let the Easter Bunny come to Loreto! Just because they celebrate by going to Mass and walking in the Passion of Christ parade from the Mission through town, doesn't mean they're not open and eager to see our version of Easter.

I didn't know about the parade until I came up on it Friday afternoon. The police had halted traffic to allow the parade to pass. I parked and trotted up for a closer look catching a glimpse of Jesus pass under the Tecate beer sign near the four-way stop on Juarez street. He was dragging a massive wooden cross while men dressed as Roman soldiers in red robes pretended to strike him with whips. The townspeople followed behind looking solemn with hands folded together. I suddenly felt embarrassed. I had that guilty feeling you get when you've been caught with your eyes wandering during prayer-time, or like when you realize you're the only parent who forgot to send your child to school with a canned good for the food drive that day.

So in the last few days my enthusiasm for my Easter debut has waned considerably. But I'm committed and I must follow-through even though there have been plenty of obstacles. For example: there is no such thing as a ham in these parts. I drove all the way to Constitution to look for one and learned they are only stocked at Christmas time. So I settled for shaved ham for sandwiches. There is no such thing as sweet pickles here, so my potato salad went out the window. No PAAS egg-coloring kits. No easter baskets, so I bought the available hand-woven variety from the vendors near the Mission. I looked all week, everywhere, for brown sugar for my chocolate chip cookies that Pepe requested, but had to settle on what I could find--raw, unbleached sugar. I decided to have the chef at the Camino hotel fill in the holes with roasted potatoes, spinach salad, and a carved watermelon-half filled with melon balls.

Tonight, while I lifelessly boiled eggs and baked cookies, Robert and Allison filled plastic eggs with candy and coins. Robert also brought back from his trip home the infamous Easter "Peeps," those nasty marshmallow chicks and bunnies that he claims taste best stale. Whatever.

So tomorrow we will ruin forever the true meaning of Easter for our Mexican friends. Their children will gorge on sweets and grapple for party favors. Greed and competitiveness will overtake them as they push and race each other for the gringo c-note inside the golden egg hidden in the cactus. Even I may never feel the same benign acceptance of the Easter Bunny. In my imagination he is fast morphing into a bucktooth-grinning monster come to steal away souls. And I, his accomplice.
No, truly, I love our Easter and will miss not being home.

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