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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Easter Time

When I was a young lass, for a number of years at Easter time, my parents and I, together with my sister, Cheryl, her husband and my niece and nephew, would travel south of Perth to a town called Safety Bay. 

We always stayed in the same place - an old weatherboard duplex (or semi as it’s known here in Sydney). It had polished floorboards, creaky doors and this great chaise lounge in bright red leather. Or maybe it was vinyl. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. It was gorgeous.

In any case, I remember endless hours spent across the road at the beach making sand castles; running though the tall grass that grew out the back of the duplex; playing Bingo in the evenings and roasting marshmallows on the open fire in the fireplace. (Which, in reality, was probably a bit of a nightmare for my parents and Cheryl and my brother-in-law, with all of us kids running around in our polyester pyjamas.)

My brother-in-law, Mike, who moved to Australia from Greece at the age of 4, has always had an affinity with the ocean. We would go out in our boat, in the calm waters of Safety Bay, and Mike would dive down to the ocean’s floor, and retrieve octopus hidden in terracotta pots. He would then resurface with the octopus wrapped tightly around his arm. He’d tear it off and throw it in to the boat, and my niece, nephew and I would jump around screaming, certain that we’d find the tentacles wrapped around our legs at any moment, until my Dad finally picked it up and threw it in the bucket. (To this day, Mike makes the best pickled octopus EVER. Believe me – you will have never tasted anything more tender and delicious.)

We’d have our Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, searching all the places in the garden of the duplex that were still quite foreign to us; marveling that the Easter Bunny had managed to locate us on holiday. Yes, it was a lot of fun there. All of us huddled together around the dining table for every meal, spending our days playing, reading, sleeping – my niece, nephew and I fighting over who got to laze on the red chaise lounge. J

There is nothing more comforting to me than being with family. Especially at Easter time. As you will already know if you read my speech the other day, my sister died in a car accident on Good Friday, 1971, and hence became yet another Easter weekend road toll statistic. It has always been a very challenging time of year for our family, but I think my parents got through it by having us all together. It’s a credit to my parents, in fact, that even in those early days after losing Valda, they still made Easter time a special time for me and my niece and nephew. Actually, I think Safety Bay had quite an appropriate name for our special holiday together during this time. Together, we felt safe.

Unfortunately, now that I live in Sydney, I won’t see my parents or my sister this Easter. But I have my own family now, and I try to make this time of year as special for them, as my parents did so for me.

I have a pretty good idea how Easter Sunday will pan out in our house. My three boys will get up and go on their Easter egg hunt in the front yard (because, quite frankly, if it was in the backyard the dog would devour the eggs before they had even hit the ground). Afterwards, they will ask to take “just one more look” in case they've missed any. Hours later, we will live a small moment of regret at letting them each such eggs as they run around like hyped up Energizer Battery Bunnies, high on sugar.

But then, we’ll tuck them in to bed that night, and we’ll admire our “angels” as they sleep, and I will think, yet again, how lucky we are, and how precious they are. Then I’ll send a little cheerio to my sister, Valda, who is no doubt watching over us especially during this time, then give my parents and my big sister, Cheryl a call.

I’d like to wish all of you a very Happy Easter! Pace yourself - both during travel and chocolate consumption. And most of all…stay safe. I’ll be back here on Monday after a quick break with Hubby and the boys.


PS - Hot or Not, usually posted on a Friday, will return next week. SO busy right now...and need a little break! xxx


MegsyJ said...

This marks the first year my daughter can have Easter eggs. People told me I was mean last year not letting her have any (despite the fact she was only 6 months old - weird). But this year I'll let her have a few.

Happy Easter! xo

Ami said...

Happy Easter! I will be thinking of you tomorrow.
Have a lovely break. xxx

SeraphimSP said...

I love Easter too and we celebrate all aspects of it. I will say a prayer for your sister over the weekend. Thank you for sharing your story Jodie xxxx

@1clairehalliday said...

lovely post. Hope your Easter is as happy as can be. I am reflecting too much myself this year - a very close friend of mine lost her husband and two children on Good Friday last year and I think about it constantly. Take care.

Kylie L said...

A sad but touching post- you honour your sister and your parents beautifully. Thinking of you today.

fat mum slim said...

Happy Easter to you, and your family.

This was such a beautiful post. I'm sad that your sister is no longer here on earth. xx

emilydam said...

Thanx Jodie.. What a great post.. I hope you enjoyed your weekend! xxx