By Joe Rector

I hoped that things would have been better by now, all the while knowing they wouldn’t. That’s all right as long as this staying home is working to end this pandemic. I admit that I’ve made a few trips to the grocery store and home improvement places, but other than that, home has been where most of my time has been spent. What disappoints me is that the secular part of Easter celebration didn’t occur. Even worse, we haven’t been able to travel to Hendersonville to celebrate our daughter’s birthday.

For as long as I can remember, Easter Sunday has been a big event. When we were small, Mother sewed Easter outfits. In those days, she dressed us in identical clothing because she thought it was cute. However, little boys with big heads, skinny legs, and round bellies were anything but cute.

Our family loaded up in the car and traveled to church. Somehow, Daddy always managed to be off on those Sundays, and that made the day more special. The sanctuary was always packed with folding chairs set up in aisles, and, in every service the congregation always sang “Old Rugged Cross.” Mother always managed to be the last to leave after church, and we ran to change clothes the minute we arrived home.

Mother and Daddy would hide eggs for a few rounds. Then she would go in to finish Sunday dinner, and he would just go in. Dal would hide eggs for us a couple of times, and then Jim and I would hide for each other. By the time we finished, the shells were smashed and our works of art from the night before were destroyed.

Dinner always included ham and potato salad. Mother took some of our most battered eggs and made deviled eggs. Desert was always some kind of pie. Afterwards, we’d go out for another round of hiding eggs or searching for the ones we’d not found earlier.

Lacey’s birthday is a special time for us. She was our first born, and the day of her arrival was an  unusual event. Amy was in labor, but the contractions came at different intervals. A call to the doctor had us driving to UT Medical Center. We walked into the office, the staff checked her, hailed a wheelchair, and sprinted my wife to delivery. Lacey was born just about ninety minutes later.

As a little girl, I spoiled her and could never resist her requests when she looked up at me with that sweet face and blue eyes. I still have a hard time saying “no” to her. We had grandparents and other family members at our house for parties. On some birthdays, friends came and giggled, laughed, yelled and enjoyed the time together.

Our family always has celebrated her birthday within a week of that day, but this year, we’re not sure when things will settle down enough to have a party. It’s sad to a dad to not be able to give a birthday hug to his daughter. I miss her even more than usual.

The changes to celebratory days may become the new normal, at least for a while. My hope is that this virus will go away soon so that our lives can return to some kind of normal. Of course, that will happen only if we all do our best to follow the instructions from health advisers. Let’s all say a prayer that next year we will be able to give thanks for so many different things. Until then, stay home, stay safe, and stay in touch.