My room at the farm was on the East side of the house. It overlooked the horse corral, the old maple tree by the well, and our large field that was used to grow corn, wheat or for cattle and horse grazing, depending on the year. Some of my fondest memories were waking up to the sunrays popping through the window by my bed. The seal of the state of Ohio depicts the sun rising over a harvested wheat field. I got to see that in the mornings. It was a joyous occasion because where we lived there was 90% cloud cover 90% of the time—not kidding. It’s why they built one of only 23 Army ammunition plants there during World War II. So when the morning sunshine was seen, it was a glorious day.
This particular morning, the sun was shining through my window. Dad had not yet woken me to help with the morning chores. I laid there awake in my bed thinking about –what I knew then of—the first Easter. On the third day, the sun shining bright as Christ arose from the grave, and how his followers were so shocked that he was not in his grave. I was always amused by how they knew what Christ said was going to happen, but they really had to suspend their disbelief when it did happen. Nonetheless, even at a very young age, I loved Jesus. John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I didn’t learn it from reading the signs in endzones of football games on TV, I learned it in Sunday School. This was a special day.
Almost lost in my thoughts on what it must have been like that first Easter, I snapped out of my daydream and remembered what was most likely awaiting my attention downstairs. I hopped out of my warm bed and winced as my feet hit the linoleum floor—we had only one heating register upstairs far down the hall, and in early April the Ohio weather was still pretty nippy. So as to not wake anyone, and to keep my feet from freezing, I tip-toed through the hallway and down the then-120-year-old steps. With my head peeking below the living room ceiling, I saw it—one of the largest Easter baskets ever! The Easter Bunny was good to me this year. Wrapped in green-tinted cellophane, the fake purple grass, a big chocolate bunny, lots of jelly beans, yellow and pink marshmallow chicks, so much!
Soon, Mom would make breakfast and Dad and I would brave the still-cold spring morning to feed the horses and cattle. I liked popping the ice-covered mud puddles in my barn boots on the way to the old barn. After breakfast, we got dressed in our finest clothes for Easter service at Wayland Community Church. Earnie Rose would be ringing the church bell before he settled in to snore through the service. The rest of us would hear the resurrection story once again. Afterwards, it was lunch at my Aunt Dory and Uncle Bob’s, where the entire family would gather. My cousin Steve and I would listen to Uncle Bob tell war stories, and Dad and Grandpa, having heard them all before, would fall asleep in a food coma. Easter on the farm. Where memories of a simpler time linger a lifetime. Where the promise of life everlasting was etched in our hearts.