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As a young person growing up in the church, I was familiar with Easter. I heard all the Bible stories and knew them by heart. I understood this was a special time of the year for all Christians.

The Easter Sunday service could get quite long for a young person. If it was not for the Easter bonnets to admire, it could have been rather boring for us young folk. ?Admire? is rather a strong word for the situation.

I do not think you could say that we were admiring those Easter bonnets. If you used the phrase, 'made fun of,? you were probably closer to the truth, but you did not hear it from me.

There was nothing quite like some of those Easter bonnets to bring out the giggles in the best of us children. Perhaps the most notorious of all Easter bonnet wearers in our church was Aunt Tilly.

Aunt Tilly was not a blood relative to anyone in the church that I ever knew, but everyone in the church called her Aunt Tilly. She was an eccentric old spinster and lived alone.

As a young person growing up in the church, I was familiar with Easter. I heard all the Bible stories and knew them by heart. I understood this was a special time of the year for all Christians.

 

The Easter Sunday service could get quite long for a young person. If it was not for the Easter bonnets to admire, it could have been rather boring for us young folk. ?Admire? is rather a strong word for the situation.

 

I do not think you could say that we were admiring those Easter bonnets. If you used the phrase, 'made fun of,? you were probably closer to the truth, but you did not hear it from me.

 

There was nothing quite like some of those Easter bonnets to bring out the giggles in the best of us children. Perhaps the most notorious of all Easter bonnet wearers in our church was Aunt Tilly.

 

Aunt Tilly was not a blood relative to anyone in the church that I ever knew, but everyone in the church called her Aunt Tilly. She was an eccentric old spinster and lived alone.

 

Nobody was more fashionable than Aunt Tilly, and we all looked forward to Easter Sunday just to see her new Easter bonnet. She never wore the same one twice. I often wondered whatever happened to all those bonnets. Easter was not Easter without Aunt Tilly's bonnet.

 

Aunt Tilly knew how to wear a hat and how to make an entrance on Sunday morning, especially on an Easter Sunday.

 

Our pastor would begin the Easter service with the invocation. We would all stand and sometimes that prayer would last a good eight minutes. I know, for I had timed him on several occasions. He never let me down.

 

When he finished that prayer, we would sit down and prepare for the first hymn. Just before that first hymn, Aunt Tilly would make her entrance wearing her Easter bonnet and sit right in the second pew up front by the organ side.

 

That Easter bonnet would fill up the entire front of our sanctuary, much to the delight of Aunt Tilly. Her Easter bonnet usually was the fashion statement of the year. Each one was more elaborate then the previous one.

 

In those days, everyone wore hats of some sort. Each hat defined the personality of the wearer, and this was no more evident than on Easter Sunday.

 

Even Fanny Diffendaffer wore a special hat on Easter Sunday. Sister Fanny, as we called her, was a retired, independent missionary.

 

She spent her entire missionary career in Africa. Several times, she was invited to show her slides on her work in Africa, but she always declined. Someone found out that she was embarrassed by those slides.

 

The people she worked with did not wear clothes and she refused to show such pictures in the ?Hoos of God.?

 

I often wondered what those ?clothing-optional? people really thought of our Sister Fanny. She always wore those dresses with a collar up to her chin, long sleeves and the hem down past her ankle.

 

All the time I knew her, all I ever saw was her round, smiling face. Most of the time, she even wore lace gloves.

 

My father once went to her home to put on storm windows for the upcoming winter season. I tagged along to assist in the project. We had never been to her home before and were a little shocked.

 

Sister Fanny did not have any electricity in her home.

 

Old-fashioned kerosene lamps illuminated her home. Instead of an electric stove, she did all her cooking on an old wood cook stove modified to burn coal.

 

She had no radio or television and I wondered how in the world she entertained herself. In the corner of her living room was an organ; unlike any organ I had ever seen.

 

Being a kid I blurted out to the consternation of my father, 'sister Fanny, how do you play your organ without electricity.? She chuckled and said, ?come here and I?ll show you.?

 

I walked over and she began to play. It was an old pump organ. In order to play it you had to pump it, almost like riding a bicycle. She pumped and played hymns all the time we were putting on her storm windows.

 

Even Sister Fanny wore a special hat on Easter Sunday. Of course, Sister Fanny always wore a hat on Sunday. For Easter Sunday, she put in her hat a freshly picked, yellow daffodil.

 

Sister Fanny rarely said much in church. She would come and quietly sit in her pew and never spoke out. The only time she really spoke was at the Prayer Meeting when she would pray. And, could she pray.

 

It was nothing for Sister Fanny to pray for an hour on her worse day. Just when you thought she was winding down and sliding into the last ?Amen,? she would get an inspiration and take off on another flight of intense prayer.

 

Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday as Sister Fanny preferred, was a special day for her. She always came to church early wearing her hat with the freshly picked daffodil. It was the only time she really seemed excited.

 

When anyone greeted her, she almost shouted back, ?He Is Risen, Indeed, Sir. Glory-Hallelujah-Amen.?

 

'moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:? (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV).

 

He is indeed Risen. Glory-Hallelujah-Amen.

 

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