BLESSED HOLY WEEK TO ALL OF YOU
Isn't this a beautiful picture? I found it in an antique shop here in Bismarck. You can't see it here, but it is outlined in metallic gold. The picture did have a frame, but it is so old it fell apart. I think it must be Catholic, because of the age and dress of the child taking communion. That makes sense, because Bismarck and the surrounding areas are strongly Catholic. Bismarck and central and southwestern North Dakota are heavily peopled by Germans From Russia, all Catholics. These were German people who immigrated to Russia at the invitation of Catherine the Great, with promises of land. They lived in isolated groups near the Black Sea. When the great American immigration began, in the late 1800s, many came to North Dakota, again with the promise of land. They continued to live in isolated groups, many refusing to learn English or adopt American ways. Today, the area southeast of Bismarck is called the German Triangle, with the three points being Linton, Strasburg and Napoleon. But I digress.
I think I have promised this picture to my niece, Lisa, who is Catholic. However, I have been hanging onto it myself for a few years because it is so beautiful. Aforementioned niece drapes her house in purple for Lent, then stays up all night before Easter Sunday putting up her Easter decorations. I usually have my Easter stuff up weeks before Easter, but not this year. The only Easter item I have are two Easter lilies. No matter how broke I may be at Easter time, I must buy Easter lilies because I love their scent. (Kahlil Gibran, I believe, said one must feed one's soul as well as one's body: To paraphrase: If you have money for two loaves of bread, buy one loaf of bread and spend the rest of the money on hyacinths. Or Easter lilies!)
Easter doesn't seem real to me this year. It's early, and the weather isn't right. Even when Easter is the latest date it can be, North Dakota weather is not conducive to Easter bonnets, new frocks and patent leather shoes. My sister, a nurse, has to work this weekend, so it'll be just Dan and me. We may not even make a turkey or ham.
I'm sure Easter will begin to seem real, however, when I attend church services at Zion Lutheran Church this Friday evening. Even though I grew up as a Missouri Synod Lutheran (by accident), I don't really care for the M.S. Lutheran Church because it is too conservative. However, I do love the Zion Good Friday services, especially the part where we pound nails (our sins) into a huge wooden cross that is dragged up the aisle.
When I do decorate for Easter, one table in my home is reserved for the Good Shepherd. But I also love the secular aspects of Easter, and I especially love vintage Easter items. I have old Easter postcards, papier mache eggs and bunnies, and best of all, my vintage German rabbits wearing clothing. In lieu of decorating for Easter this year, I will find pictures of these items and post them throughout the week.