Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Celebrated: By Christians for approximately 1,980 years

Humans would not be human if we were perfect, because that would make us no different from God. In creating us as separate creatures, God had to make us flawed, and the instrument of our difference is free will. We are born with free will, and what we trade for that free will is exile from Paradise. But that would be too lonely, and too sad, and too permanent. There had to be a way for us to get back home, and Easter is the revelation and the promise of that road home.

It's also the first holiday I have any conscious memory of: April 14, 1968, in our new home in Norfolk, Virginia. I had a blue coat and a white hat with a black ribbon woven into it, black patent leather shoes and my own tiny handbag. My twin sister, Kathy, had a spring green coat (to go with her red hair) and a yellow hat I envied, although in retrospect I see that it would not have gone with my coat, as Mom told me at the time.

We were not quite two and a half, and Mom was newly pregnant with what would turn out to be our sisters Peggy and Susan, born two days before Thanksgiving that year. Dad was home that weekend between training exercises on the USS Austin, an amphibious ship that was in and out of port but at least wasn't going to Vietnam. That Easter, Dad gave us a German Shepherd-Alaskan Husky puppy, a ball of white fur my mother called Boyfriend. Boyfriend, Kathy and I were toddlers together, and he was the gentlest, sweetest dog imaginable, though he grew to be enormous. (Enormous to a three-year-old, at least; I have no idea how big he actually was, because I've never seen a picture of him as a grown dog.)

I don't take pictures and I'm not good about keeping pictures, but somewhere there's a photo of Kathy and me and Boyfriend that Easter, and I wish I had it. We had to give Boyfriend away when Dad got transferred a year later, and the thought of that still makes me cry, more than 40 years later.

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