Memories of cheese grits and chocolate

By Tammy Keith Published April 16, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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Easter reminds me of so many happy moments in my life.

When I was growing up, we got an Easter basket and went to church, but it was pretty low-key, since it was just my brother and me.

My husband has three siblings, and in his family, there was always more fanfare surrounding the holiday. When I think of Easter, I think of my mother-in-law’s cheese grits, which have become our tradition, too. She also put tiny little wicker baskets by each plate and filled them with toasted pecans. I am useless in the kitchen, but I volunteered for that job. I had a system: a few for the baskets, a few for me.

I remember gathering at the newspaper-covered table to dye Easter eggs, which the next morning were turned into yummy Golden Rod toast.

I also think of the Easter beanie, which my father-in-law got as a gift one year, and it became a tradition to put on top of his basket, and his head.

I remember one Easter when we stayed home. It was raining, and we let our outside dog inside. After we got back from church, the living room was littered with candy wrappers. Panda had eaten much of the chocolate candy, which is a no-no for animals, but she didn’t seem any worse for it.

I also think of my too-smart-for-his-own-good younger son, who was about 5, asking how the Easter Bunny got in the house, “because he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.”

And one of my favorite pictures is of my older son when he was about 2 1/2, wearing his sweet little turquoise-colored outfit, leaning over and smelling a flower in my in-laws’ yard. I also treasure the photo of him when he was 1, crying, as he sat on the Easter Bunny’s lap.

We always hid plastic eggs inside our house every year for the boys to search for, and they were filled with candy and change. We did this until they were practically grown. I think my husband had as much fun finding creative places to hide the eggs as they did searching for them.

I still fill Easter baskets for my husband, my boys, and I added a daughter-in-law. This year, I’ve got a basket for Kennedy, my granddaughter who is expected to arrive in May.

My husband said, “You do realize she won’t be born by Easter?”

Yes, but it’s fun. I put in some books, including Richard Scarry’s

I Am a Bunny, which we often read to our boys when they were toddlers. I also couldn’t resist some tiny pink bunny shoes. She didn’t get any candy this year, but it’s never too early to start happy memories.

As I drove to work yesterday morning, I saw this on a church marquee: “What is Easter eggsactly about? Jesus rose 4 u.”

That’s the happiest surprise, and something we all need to remember as we eat our candy and hunt for eggs.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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