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April 7, 2022 - By Joy Reed Belt

Am I the only person whose mother gifted her with a thoughtful and elegant Easter Basket for almost 60 years? If not the only one, I bet I am in a very select category. From the time I was an infant, until she died, my Mother decided to make Easter my special holiday. When I was four, my basket contained a map of the backyard which led me to a live white Bunny Rabbit. Ms. Bunny and I immediately bonded. When I let her out of her specially made container, she would stay by my side. When I was with her I did not walk or run, I hopped. Ms. Bunny and I spent hours everyday hopping around the backyard. I loved her and was heartbroken when the weather started getting cold and we had to take Ms. Bunny to my Grandfather’s farm to live.

Buoyed by the success of Ms. Bunny, the next Easter, Mother included four live baby chickens in her Easter offering. That did not go so well. Despite all my attention and care, one by one the chickens died. I was devastated. My Dad and I dug individual graves for them which I decorated with elaborate homemade crosses. Unfortunately I glued my Mother’s favorite earrings on the crosses and was forbidden to ever open her jewelry box again. After completing each monument, I would hold a service, preach a sermon and sing every hymn I knew at the top of my lungs. Initially my parents seemed to be charmed by my funerals. But they became alarmed when I tried to make them a daily event. After tolerating me for about three days, they decided there would be no more “live” Easter gifts for me. 


The following Easter amid the colored eggs and candies, my basket contained two little Cameo paintings. I cherished those little paintings. They were such a successful gift, that I continued to receive art and artful objects in my baskets until she died. I credit those baskets with helping develop my interest in art. My Mother became more and more interested in art because I loved it and seeking it out was something we could do together. So many wonderful things were placed in my Easter Basket over the years, including the pearls I wore at my wedding to John. At this point in my life, Easter is a time of remembering. I think about and honor all the people I have loved who are no longer with me. One way of doing that is to take time to enjoy the art that reminds me of those people.

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