One Easter Mom dressed me, Leon and David Mark just alike. Good golly Lord America! It was like one of those Egyptian plagues!
Leon was 12, I was seven, and Dave was 18 months younger. Black pants, white short-sleeve shirts, black ties and black Buster Brown shoes.
I still carry the scars from that evangelical Sunday.
From the ankles up, the damage was psychological. The feet were an entirely different deal. And if you were ever imprisoned in a brand-new pair of rock-hard, concrete-soled, steel-encased, wire-laced Buster Browns, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Listen, I still have a blister on my left heel…
To the best of my recollection Mom sold two hogs to cover our forage into the fashion world.
We had to pry Leon out of the car when we got to the church. Those shoes had me walking like a cardboard Frankenstein as I attempted to negotiate the front steps. The only upside was the wind didn’t have a chance of lifting me off the ground.
And then, as a Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald might inscribe, “things took a downward turn… “
Every single boy under the age of 18 had on a white short-sleeve shirt, black pants and a black tie. We were running around like a black-and-white rendition of an Energizer Bunny commercial… without the drum and sunglasses of course.
Leon thought we were dressed like a juvenile Mormon Tabernacle Choir without their robes on. I had no idea what he was talking about, which was about the only normal thing happening on this first Sunday in April.
Mr. Ed Wiley read that Scripture in Sunday School about Mary Magdalene getting up before daylight and going down to the tomb. I don’t remember what she did there because I got to counting all the Buster Brown shoes in the room.
I’m not sure this is scriptural but between Sunday School and big church we’d most always mosey across the street to Y. D. Moore’s service station. We didn’t all have a nickel for the outside Coke machine, but some did. We’d recount the week, share a story or two and make some after-school plans for Monday.
On this special Sunday, we mostly stood around looking awkwardly alike. I would have killed for a camel hair frock and a wide leather belt. If it was good enough for John the Baptist…
We marched into church like, well I guess, a robe-less juvenile Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Without a doubt, we inspired the writing of the Pete Seeger classic folksong, “And they’re all make out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same.”
After our choir finished “Up from the grave He arose,” and Mr. Aaron Bradfield prayed over the offering we settled in for Bro. Hatcher’s Easter sermon. He hadn’t even gotten Mary Magdalene full awake before my mind drifted to rabbits.
Now, the Bible is chocked full of lambs. There is a fair amount of cattle, pigs, lions, camels and a big fish or two. And lots of birds! But I was hard pressed to come up with any verses about rabbits… unless they were hopping around in Leviticus or Deuteronomy.
Billy Graham is the only guy that I was for dead certain sure had read those books.
My 7-year-old mind was on a crusade. How and why are rabbits associated with Easter? I was trying to remember what they had to eat at that Last Supper besides bread.
It just didn’t seem to me there was any connection whatsoever between a death, burial, resurrection AND a furry bunny rabbit.
Now, full disclosure, my not understanding didn’t stop me from biting the ears off of every chocolate bunny I could get my hands on! I was young and curious but I was not crazy. I remembered that verse in Hezekiah about never looking a gift horse in the mouth…
Bro. Hatcher was comparing some of us to doubting Thomas when my mind hopped to “how come” eggs are involved in this saga. They made less sense than rabbits!
We celebrate one of the most sacred days of the year by decorating eggs and “oohing and aahing” over multicolored rabbits. I’m sure there is some Pharisaical medieval story that puts all of this together. Mark me down with Thomas on some of this stuff!
I asked Leon when we were getting in the car about this puzzling combination.
“Well, it’s simple.” He was never without an answer. “When Jesus was a boy back in Nazareth he had a pet rabbit that would carry the basket when they went to collect the morning eggs.”
He didn’t know either.
We all three limped into the house shedding our ties and white shirts as we pondered Easter, rabbits, painted eggs and a ransom given for all…
This article originally appeared on The Star: Hunker Down: Leon didn’t always have the right answer