Thoughts on Easter in Panama and New Mexico

Thoughts on Easter in Panama and New Mexico

Holidays are always glorious events. I will comment on the foods and traditions and families and places and colors and some of the times  that I remember.

Easter at this time comes to mind. I remember some things of Easter in the Lockridge family. I remember Easter egg hunts on Sunset Road when I was young. With such a large yard it was easy to hide the eggs from us and to hunt for the eggs. I remember mostly the hollowed out eggs and the coloring of the eggs. I can still “taste” several of the special candies of the day! I remember the ham mom would cook and the wine at this holiday; Mogen David Concord Grape wine as I recall. It was a Passover wine I’m sure. Mom was Jewish so we had wine several times a year at holidays. I don’t remember any special wine glasses but rather some peculiarly noteworthy serving glasses. These were the small, 4 ounce jars that pimento cheese and dried beef had come in. Ah, I remember the pimentos used for the pimento cheese and the dried beef that daddy used for his S.O.S. gravy! Still can taste it!

I remember the special services at Edith Street Baptist Church at Easter. We had crackers and grape juice served by ushers during the service. I had no idea at the time why this was served but understand now. I remember our Sunday school teacher saying that the “wine” mentioned in the Bible was referring to grape juice! By way, Edith Street Baptist Church was selected when we were in the early ‘50’s because religion became a bit important – along with prayer at meals and bedtime – because Joann had contracted polio and we needed to pray. A nearby neighbor family attended Edith Street so we young two brothers, Don and myself, went with them on Sundays. Marilyn and Bobbie were both married there later on.

I think of the several things that Easter means here in Northern New Mexico. I don’t do the Good Friday walk to the Santuario at Chimayo but respect the many that do and for their reasons for this devotion. I’ve been to the Santuario a number of times and feel the special nature of the Chapel. I am familiar with many of the foods of the time too. I have been lucky enough to have eaten at various homes and celebrated with their foods. By the way, my family celebrated with some special foods. Ham of course though Mom was Jewish but I guess her  family had been raised as Reformed. We had blinis, one of my favorite things in life. Joann made such wonderful ones the few times a year that we had them. And then the matzo ball soup. There is something to be said about my Jewish mom’s chicken soup and those grand matzo balls! I still to this day buy matzos this time of the year.

Now I’ll talk about my memories of Easter in Remedios, La Provincia de Chiriqui, La Republica de Panama. This was a special village in the Easter time. My Peace Corps village of Nuestra Senora de los Remedios was visited by many local Panamanians during the Holy Week. There would be several “defiles”, parades, through the streets during the week and then the special services on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday. The Good Friday service was memorable for the events around the church service. That evening during the Mass when Christ was to die the lights would flicker on and off and rocks would be tossed onto the tin roof of the church to signify the lightning and thunder at Christ’s death. Then, one of the local young men (selected before hand and seen earlier during ‘desfiles’) would flee all of a sudden with all the boys and men chasing him. He was Judas and was running to avoid the beating that he would receive were he caught. I don’t recall seeing this happen the two years that I was there but the chase was kind of scary! I felt comfortable as a non-Catholic observer in Remedios just as I do here today. Matt still invites me to walk to the Santuario today but I guess I’ve been able to make my own amends to God in my (and His/Her) way!

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2 Responses to “Thoughts on Easter in Panama and New Mexico”

  1. Peggy Durbin Says:

    I loved your mom’s matzo ball soup. It would keep you going the whole day! And her coleslaw is the touchstone by which I measure all coleslaw.

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