"Thanks," she wrote back, "but to me it's just another day."
"Remember when Easter meant new Sunday shoes, a dress with a petticoat, and a straw hat with daisies?"
"I remember," came back the message. "I loved those days."
"It's a shame we don't have anything to look forward to anymore. It's a shame we don't dress up anymore."
We both signed off. We both lamented that Easter was no longer something to look forward to and plan for. I still remember a pair of lemon yellow patent leather flats that were tucked away in their box for weeks before I was allowed to wear them to church on Easter Sunday. When I put them on I felt like a princess. My mother made me a matching yellow dress with lace on the sleeves. And, there was the hat with daisies.
I now know that those shoes and that bit of lace had cost my parents dearly, but they never let on. Each of us four kids (there would eventually be six) was decked out, spit and polished. And, for the girls in the family - including my mom - there was a corsage from my father. Always carnations nestled in a clear box and put in the refrigerator to keep them fresh until my dad would pin them on our Easter dresses.
After the short conversation with my friend I thought about those long ago Easters. Those memories aren't precious because of the shoes or the hat or the corsage but because dressing up represented so many things: respect for our families and our church, acknowledgement of an important event, and celebration of a season when so many things seemed fresh and possible.
Over the last decade the world has become casual. Jeans are fine in church, at the theater, at grandma's house for dinner and one day is not distinguished from the next by how we dress.
Now Easter is over but I'm still thinking about those yellow shoes and church and hats with daisies. My mom is with us, my father long gone. I haven't worn a corsage in years and I'm not even sure a florist will still make them. I know I can't be that little girl in a crinoline and hat, but I am going to bring back that rite of spring.
The next time someone asks me to lunch, or my husband and I go to a movie, or we have friends to dinner, I am going to treat the day like those long ago Easters. I am going dress with care so that they know that I have looked forward to seeing them and that I think the moment is special. I will reach deep into my closet and I will put on my Sunday shoes - even if it isn't Sunday.