It’s Easter down South; I’m so excited I can barely hold my bladder.
And I’m not alone. Bishop Ricky Moore, in Shreveport, has Easter fever worse than me. Yesterday, old Ricky dressed up like Jesus, took a deep breath, and then sealed himself inside a coffin. His deacons swore not to open the thing again until Easter.
You heard me right.
Ricky will lay in a locked casket for thirty-six hours; no food, water, toilet, or pound cake.
Had Ricky attempted this stunt up north in, say, Toledo, Ohio, they’d have carried him off to the crazy house. But this is the South. Ricky’s selling T-shirts.
And why not? Easter is grander in our part of the world than in other places. It’s the pinnacle of our calendar. Holidays like Christmas, Mardis Gras, and the SEC Championship are cotton balls compared to Resurrection Day.
Here, Easter is when all Dixie busts open like an azalea blossom. There’s singing, seersucker suits, hidden eggs, and Sunday lunches big enough to make your ears ring and your feet swell.
Gospel quartets visit town. Fellas with big hair, belting out songs that make your granny stand up in her pew and shout, “Tell it, boy!” Which isn’t like timid Granny at all — except on Easter.
In Alexandria, Alabama, off Highway 63, Mount Zion Baptist puts on a roadside pageant for folks driving by. Three middle-aged men, who look like your uncle Joey, stand on wooden crosses for half the day, wearing only their skivvies.
“It’s more dangerous than it looks,” remarked one Alabama official. “Jesus’ knees will lock up if he’s not careful. They need to make sure to drink plenty of Gatorade out there.”
Well, I’m not going to lie, I’ve worn an Easter tunic or two in my day. And, by God, I’m proud to say it. This is Resurrection Day. A day we choose to believe in things that mean something. When we attend the churches our daddies grew up in. When we think about our friends who’ve crossed the river.
It’s when Mama wears her hat; when preachers holler things like, “He’s risen!” When Granny shouts back, “He’s risen indeed,” so loud she cracks her hip.
Anyway, don’t forget, lunch is at noon.
And for heaven’s sake, somebody don’t forget to unlock Ricky tomorrow morning.