When my mother was alive, her favorite holiday was Easter. She would have to dye the eggs with beet juice to make them red (even though they came out brown) and would observe the rules of lent as if she was a priest. No meat, no chicken, no dairy. I’m still not sure what she ate but I do remember that by the last week of lent, she wasn’t a happy camper. The Saturday before Easter, should would fast all day, get more cranky and then go to mass that night to take communion to atone for sins she did not commit. The next day, Easter, we would have a lamb feast and life was good again.
To atone for my sins (for which there were several) I would abstain from drinking any alcohol during the week. I would partake on Friday through Sunday – I was not that much of sinner that required more than that. On the Saturday morning before Easter, I struggled through the few hours of church service without coffee and then go out for a breakfast feast with my cousin, children and anyone else that wanted to enjoy the morning. It was a tradition that we have kept for over 35 years. Sometimes there would be 10 of us, sometimes it was just my cousin and I. In either case, it was Easter and it couldn’t be beat. I bet it sounds like it could be like the “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre” except we didn’t get arrested.
Although my mother is gone, we still do the Saturday morning tradition but the Sunday dinner is not as it was. A few years ago I decided that since I was the only one cooking, Easter could not be celebrated on Sunday. I decreed the Easter holiday would have to be another day. It was much like when I decided that my youngest son who was inconveniently born on Christmas Eve, had to have the celebration with his friends in October. It was more reasonable and less stressful. I’ve always been about a less stressful life.
So whether it is celebrated on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Saturday afternoon, or Sunday brunch it is still Easter. In remembrance of my mother, I used beet juice to dye the eggs. As when my mother did it, they came out brown. Anyway, it was still Easter.
We had a wonderful weekend Tony and I. Took a short weekend break by going to the Berkshires where we spent many trips with the kids and getting away from the kids just for a little while. This time it was to get away from the headaches the daily mail brings with bills that have me on hold waiting for the damn “representative” to answer, decisions on medical plans that have my head spinning and the dust from the basement renovation that my contractor won’t let me clean yet.
Coming home, its all there waiting for me along with one more task – signing up for medicare. For my younger friends, it is a requirement to sign up three months before your 65th. So I did it today. It felt like the day my former employer who had a mass layoff due to relocating sent to everyone a document revealing the age of all the employees leaving. There it was like a exposed nipple coming through a blouse in a family picture. I was so busted.
Maybe many of my co-workers knew it all along but were kind enough not to show it. Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal to them but it was to me. I was working in a department where the average age was probably 35 and I was most certainly the oldest kid on the block. I have to say, I never felt out of place or like I was a dinosaur. For me, it was great to be among people who were my kids age without the motherhood work.
In three months, I will officially be a senior citizen. I’m still not sure I can get my head around that. There’s still a lot of livin’ to do.
The unwanted aspect of the senior years of life is illness and inevitable death. We are always saddened by the loss of those we grew to love, respect and emulate in our youth whose names evoke memories of a carefree time when the future was no further than the next event. It was George Martin’s turn this week to pass on. He was 90, his hearing was failing but he died leaving a legacy of greatness and music that will last forever.
Often illness comes before death. Another aged rocker, Keith Emerson, 71, keyboardist and founder of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, took his own life recently after he was reported to have been diagnosed with a condition where he was unable to use his hands to play the keyboards as he did. Another rocker, Brian Johnson, 68, lead singer of AC/DC forced the cancellation of the groups upcoming American tour due to a progressive ailment. His doctors warned that continuing to tour would damage his hearing to the point of deafness. Those loud, hard driving concerts that my generation have come to know and expect have returned to bite the artists and probably some of the concert goers in the ass (or ears).
I am always optimistic of the future even though there isn’t as much of it as there use to be. I am sorry that Emerson thought his life was useless without playing keyboard. I was listening to the classic rock DJ Ken Dashow of Q104.3 who described Keith as very learned in classical music and jazz. I am more upset over his giving up when he could have done more to pass along his knowledge to enrich more aspiring musicians or music aficionados.
It must have been hard for AC/DC to give up the tour. The money lost had to be enormous but I’m glad they made the decision to stop in the name of health. Life doesn’t have to end tragically if you have a choice.
I’m just glad that all those who died recently (Bowie, Frey, etc, etc.) did not loose their life in a drug overdose like Joplin, Morrison and Hendrix. To not live enough to be as great as you can be is the ultimate crime. There is comfort in still hearing Clapton, Townsend, Richards and other great ones of my generation. I hope I will always be able to hear, see and enjoy them.
If you get to go through the circle of life long enough, you become a part of history that comes back in some reconstructed way. The pieces of wardrobe you threw out because it seemed obsolete has reappear as the next best trend. As much as I say “I wish I kept that Huckapoo blouse”, it had seen better days and would now look like I was going to a costume party.
Moving on to the presidential campaign. In some past elections, there have been candidates that were not taken seriously. Dukakis in the tank , Carter the second time around, and Sarah Palin. They weren’t elected but what I find interesting is that with the exception of Palin they were all Democrats (what’s wrong with this picture). Sorry to do this but I have to take Trump seriously. I didn’t at first but well….maybe now. It at least gives the SNL writers a great season and entertains me – #you can’t make this stuff up.
Finally, we have to suffer through reliving the 70s culture in the new HBO series Vinyl and the OJ Simpson Trial of the 90s. With Vinyl, it is a sight for cocaine addicted eyes. Was everyone really that stoned – in some circles, yes. Not me – TBT. I’m glad it’s not or wasn’t my world. With the OJ thing, I still can’t believe that the prosecutor so misjudged her audience. A lesson in ego-centrical miscalculation.
But, it is never too late for an old dog to learn a better trick. Such was the case when I recently went to a class to learn how to make a pie. As much as I love to cook, I could not make proper pie crust that didn’t look like the terrain of a nuclear blast. I listened very intently to the instructor and then went home to order $100 worth of gadgets from Amazon that she claimed will produce the perfect crust. She demonstrated its use with such ease I am sure it will work. Of course she has been making pies for over 20 years. But my fall back is if all this equipment fails to produce the expected results, it will be recycled and wrapped for my next “white elephant gift exchange party”. Moral of the story – don’t stop believing in tomorrow.