April 1, 2018

First of all, a happy and blessed Easter to all. It’s important, especially given the tone of this thread, to remember the overriding lesson of Easter, that the death and suffering of Good Friday does not have the final say as to how the game is played out in biblical terms. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”.

Still, my Easter is not a time for joy nor sadness, just another reminder of how everything associated with it is gone.

…I remember a Holy Saturday afternoon service at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in North Billerica, Mass., sitting in the back pew, bathed in the colors of the stained glass windows above, and being overwhelmed by the imagery contained in the lyrics of that mournful Easter hymn, “The strife is o’er, the battle done”:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.
Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions has dispersed.
Let shouts of holy joy outburst.
Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
he rises glorious from the dead.
All glory to our risen Head.
Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
the bars from heaven’s high portals fell.
Let hymns of praise his triumph tell.
Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded thee,
from death’s dread sting thy servants free,
that we may live and sing to thee.
Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

…I have a picture on my nightstand of my godfather Milt, who was our choir director at St. Anne’s back in the early to mid-Seventies, smiling and happy in his choir director robe (something few, if any, musical directors or organists do anymore, BTW), and opposite him, a picture of me, Charlie Corkum and his wife Marem, and Don McKeown (me, Charlie, and Don served as the bass section of our choir) with two of our sopranos, Gladys Cerrato and Eleanor Daley, taken at Milt’s parents’ house – a big, rambling two-story house that until recently sat at the corner of Boston Road (Route 3A) and Treble Cove Road down the road from St. Anne’s – during a choir breakfast between the early and late services on Easter morning.

…I remember us as a choir trying to process down the aisle while Milt played this horrendous Easter hymn I still somewhat remember, “Hail Thee Festival Day”, at breakneck speed. I think Milt just wanted to get it over as quickly as he could, but I remember Auntie Marge complaining about being practically out of breath by the time we ascended to the choir stalls!

But they’re all gone. Some many years ago, others, like my mom, Auntie Marge, and the old Gullage house, more recently. And as for the old St. Anne’s choir, I think my dad and I are the only ones left. It’s not surprising – we’re talking over forty years ago!

…I remember a Good Friday in the mid-’90s, standing at the altar with my good friend Pete Jeffrey and our interim priest at the time, Fr. Hendy Webb, consuming the last of the consecrated Host in preparation for Easter.

…I remember one of the years I attended the Great Vigil of Easter at the Church of the Advent in Boston and hearing thunder and rain pelting down on the roof as the story was told of Noah and the Great Flood, the lighting of the Paschal fire, the infant baptisms (they’d all be in their early twenties by now!), and the glorious sounds of “Jesus Christ Has Risen Today” sung by the choir. I would love to go back there some Easter Eve to experience it all over again, but I’d be afraid of seeing it fall short of the what I remembered it as being.

…I remember all the years – I’m talking decades here – the combined Richard and Fudge families would gather at the Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus. There were some great times, and I’m glad my Auntie Marge and I were the ones to end it in a proper fashion before it became something akin to an obligation as the restaurant started to go downhill and the family kept on getting older and more spread out!

…I don’t remember any of the Easter services at Christ Episcopal Church in Elizabethtown, KY (or, for that matter, anything associated with Easter during our four years in Kentucky). I find that strange. I see their website is pretty minimal, and that they now share the building with a Lutheran church, so things can’t be going all that well there.

At any rate, all I’m saying is that I used to love Holy Week and Easter. But everything I associate with that time is gone.

I grasp onto George Harrison’s “Be Here Now” as a lifeline, feeling a combined sense of gladness and melancholy to have had such wonderful memories that I can still remember and cherish. But it also makes me sad: sad to know I’ll never experience those memories again; sad to know there will come a time when those memories will die with me as well.

And there’s no resurrecting that or them in any way, manner, shape, or form.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:37 | Comments (0)
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