HomeCity NewsToday’s Easter Special: Ukrainian Eggs

Today’s Easter Special: Ukrainian Eggs

First published in the April 14 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

We pause now for Easter. Boy, do we need Easter.
Last week, all my long-term warranties expired, though they were pretty useless to begin with.
In other important news, the new locker room at the YMCA has a large picture window. Correct, a locker room with a picture window. Like putting a screen door on a submarine, I suppose.
Closer to home, my Wi-Fi appears to be connected to my septic system. Both are down. And my printer hasn’t worked in weeks.
Question: If I pump the septic, you think the Wi-Fi will work again? Or should I reboot the Wi-Fi and see whether the toilets flush?
And apparently my house was built by Poltergeists, in a single day, using a common household stapler and cream cheese.
O Easter, both frilly and fraught. Boy, do I need Easter.
Easter is voile dresses and flowers in the kids’ hair … bonnets … baskets … deviled eggs (kind of ironic).
Easter is kites in the park. Easter is spring soil and the greenest-ever infields. It’s blossoms landing in your coffee when you read the sports page on the patio.
Easter is allergy medication.
It’s a pretty simple holiday, actually, roughly 2,000 years old. According to legend, a giant bunny visits late at night, spreading joy. So, in many ways, Easter is much like a party at the Playboy Mansion.
Like I said, both frilly and fraught.
When our kids were young, they used to dress up like little Roman soldiers and chase me around the yard with sticks. Eventually, they’d corner me in the garage, giggling.
“Get him!” Posh would say. “Get him!!!”
Some families play charades; ours focuses on semi-accurate historical reenactments.
You know, we all have our own little worlds of worry. Each day, we try to march on, “boats against the current,” as Fitzgerald once said.
But sometimes our worries erupt.
There was a brawl recently down at the Japanese joint, broken chairs, the stuff of cheesy TV Westerns. I don’t really think that’s what Easter is about. Nor do I blame chain restaurant cuisine, in general (though it’s tempting, for sure).
Likely, this 30-second brawl was caused by one idiot saying something stupid to another idiot. Suddenly chairs, tempura shrimp and fists are flying. To be honest, the video was kind of fun.
Listen, you mooks: Jesus sought attention, too — he could be a brooding hero, like Brando. But he never broke a chair over a stranger’s neck.
Our town is vaudeville. Our town is Shangri-La. It just depends on the day of the week.
Recently, Facebook parents were up in arms over how teens had left trash all over a pretty park. One parent threatened retaliation. Another carped about the shortage of trash cans.
Finally, one Facebook mom simply said: “I have to finish an errand, then I’ll grab a rake and go down there.”
So, what is Easter about? Well, that.
More than most, this Easter is a relaunch. More than most, this Easter is a bridge to better times.
Easter is egg hunts and ham. Easter is dappled sunlight. Easter is buttery brunches that leave the men with baby bumps.
Another family tradition: cute babies. This year, my grandbaby (Catty Cakes) will wear her very first Easter dress.
Another family tradition: Ukrainian eggs.
My late wife (Posh) learned them from her grandma (so, the kids are fractionally Ukrainian, as well as part beagle).
To honor her heritage, Posh would decorate these Ukrainian eggs every Easter. Bands around the center represent eternity; stars symbolize the sun. Whether simple or ornate, they are strikingly beautiful.
Maybe that’s what Easter is about. Tradition and our gritty determination to survive.
And crafting stuff that is strikingly beautiful … something for the flower box … something for the soul.
“A book is a garden,” Baudelaire said.
So, my friend, is Easter.
Happy Easter.
Ukrainian eggs are a folk art sometimes known as “pysanky.” The lines are created by melted bees wax. Posh used a pin stuck into the end of an eraser. She’d use that as her stylus, dipping the pin in the melted wax and creating the patterns on the eggs. Then, when she’d dye the eggs in the usual way, the wax would resist the dye, creating beautiful waxy patterns on the eggs. There are all sorts of ways to do it though, some really ornate and artful. Initially, probably best to keep them simple. As usual, the website allrecipes.com has a how-to on this, but you can Google “Ukrainian eggs” or “pysanky” as well. Budmo! (cheers in Ukrainian).

You can email the author at Letters@ChrisErskineLA.com

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