Kage Baker tended, most of her life, to celebrate Easter on the run.
This was because, well into our 30’s, it generally fell on a rehearsal weekend for the Spring Renaissance Faire. We’d be out on site on Holy Saturday, building and teaching and rehearsing; we’d spend the Easter vigil watching the stars through the oak boughs, sleep in a tent, and wake up at dawn for our Easter solemnities.
I’d usually find chocolate eggs hidden in my shoes – except the year I left them outside the tent because they muddy. Raccoons ate my Easter candy that year …but various other actors (likewise waking up on Easter morn in their tents) took up a collection for me, and so I got to feast on donated eggs and jelly beans anyway.
Kage always swore she didn’t want candy: mostly, I think, because Easter fell just when she was trying to get into a costume she hadn’t worn in a year, so she was usually dieting furiously. At any rate, I usually gave her toys – lambs, rabbits, duckies. A rubber chick one year, that you could squeeze and its little bloodshot eyes would pop out horribly – she loved that one. Her favourite, though, was a splendid wind up rabbit with red glass eyes, that she named General Woundwort. She made him little bandoliers and a swagger stick.
Anyway, we’d rise and strike our tent – drink the sweet white wine we’d stashed in the creek to be chilled for breakfast – cry joyous Eloi! Kyrie! to whatever risen deity was listening in the trees – and head home. We could have gone the night before, of course; we knew there’d be no work or rehearsals on Easter itself. But it was too delicious to leave, when the Faire site grew uncharacteristically silent and empty on a spring night; too glorious to wake up at dawn, alone but for the other demented die-hards under the budding trees. Faire site was a wonderful place to wake up in on Easter morning.
Most year, there was an egg hunt for the kids; I remember one year when, due to some weird confusion with Celtic customs in the Front Office, the administrators dyed all the eggs woad-blue … whatever colour the eggs were, we’d hear the children shrieking with excitement as they hunted them among the wild roses and the camomile down by the creek, or among the bright new hay bales around Main Stage. It was a joyous noise behind us as we trooped off to our car to head home.
Because no matter what else – whether it was hot or cold, clear or rainy (we spent more than one Easter morning under Main Stage, waiting for the rain to end) we knew we had to get to Momma’s for dinner. It was Expected, with a capitol letter; and a capital offense waiting for you if you didn’t show up. Not that we would have missed it – Momma’s Easter dinners were legendary, and enormous, and convivial, and free. We’d arrive tipsy from that sweet wine for breakfast, damp with rain, sometimes still in costume, and Kage would make up for her virtuous rejection of candy by eating anything Momma handed her.
In later years, when Momma was gone and there was no longer a Spring Faire … well, by then we were living in Pismo Beach, and so Easter continued glorious. Sometimes we went to brunch, where Kage discovered chocolate martinis – breakfast martinis, she insisted, while I rolled my eyes and gagged, and stuck to coffee. But she’d order her damned musical comedy cocktails, and her eyes would start to glow with the theobromos, and she’d weave mad stories over the eggs Benedict.
Sometimes we’d pack special breakfasts – the traditional May Wine, and some sweet loaf wrapped in a tea-towel, and strawberries. And a bag of Cadbury’s solid chocolate eggs, with lovely delicate candy shells – not those ghastly “creme” eggs, with the filling made from petroleum by-products. The solid eggs are tiny and pastel, and just the right size for a parrot’s claws. Because Harry always came with us – and he adored them, and knew he was entitled to one or two all to himself; he’d hold them in his foot and nibble away until he was reduced to licking melted chocolate off his toes, and we’d laugh and laugh …
Today, I’ve breakfasted on sacred Mullah coffee and hot cross buns; Kimberly and I have a truly noble ham slated for dinner, with asparagus and au gratin potatoes. It’s a warm, sweet day, a good day to salute the spring.
Kage used to cry: Χριστός ἀνέστη!. And I would reply: Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! She probably meant the Christ, and I know I meant the Green God, but all that mattered was the Great Truth: He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! Whoever He is, He is alive and walking in the world.