Easter Weekend in Quarantine

I hope you and everyone you love had a wonderful Easter Weekend. Despite the pandemic and nearly everything in some state of lock down (including Omaha’s public parks, of all things), we still managed to have a whole lot of fun with our friends and family.

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On Friday night, we had a Virtual Fish Fry with some of our mutual friends. Vivian made some battered fish fillets, french fries, and even some mac and cheese doctored up with beer cheese (and apple strudel, courtesy of Betty Across the Street). Naturally, we couldn’t share any of this with our friends, who all joined us with their own food at our dining room table via Zoom on my Chromebook. We were still able to catch up with everyone, and they even joined us for a round of “Sweet Caroline” as Paul even broke out his guitar. It didn’t turn out so well, thanks to Internet lag, but it was worth a try. Even Zoom’s 40 minute time limit couldn’t keep us down, as most of us were able to reconnect without much trouble and carry on until nearly nine o’clock.

Some of our friends had to bail for Good Friday, but it was still great to catch up with everyone. I expect some kind of catch-up party once the pandemic is over (whenever that may be).

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On Saturday morning, we got to see how bored people were getting with the pandemic by participating in a “Mask-eurade ‘Drive Along’ Parade” with the Omaha Children’s Museum and Rose Theater. A mile-long line of cars were packed Douglas Street and barely moved for an hour just to roll their way to 20th Street and pass by a few costumed characters. We saw the Paw Patrol, Bob the Builder, Leonardo, Cat in the Hat, Darth Vader, Miss Frizzle, Pooh and Piglet and a handful of others along the way.

The weather was gorgeous, so I got out to snap photos as we waited. It was still fun just to get outside nonetheless. Mostly, I hope the kids will have one more memory of the strange things people did during this unique time in history.

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After the “parade,” we had a little lunch across the river at Rivers Edge Park. All the parks in Omaha are closed (because “social distancing”), but Iowa’s are still open, so we ate some burgers and fries on the steps where Loessfest would normally be happening had the park not been flooded repeatedly.

Since our last visit, they’ve installed a giant sculpture made of scrap aluminum, which stared at the sky as we wandered the grounds around it. It was a gorgeous day to get out and run around a bit, as birds and blossoms seemed to indicate that spring was finally here — despite snow forecast for the next day.

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Our extended outdoor lunch was more than just a fun diversion — we were also giving Grammy (AKA the Easter Bunny) the chance to plant some eggs in our yard so the kids could return and find them. You couldn’t have asked for a better day for an Easter Egg hunt, and the kids had some fun running around the front and back yards gathering them up for us. My parents came by to watch (as did Grammy) and even dropped off some Easter gifts for us before saying goodbye.

It was warm enough to do a little bit of yard work afterward, and our happy little flowers were peeking up and blooming for us. We spent the evening having some chicken sandwiches made with the legendary “red bag chicken” from Aldi, which are chicken patties not unlike the ones at Chick-Fil-A and have developed a strange reputation online for being both delicious and perpetually out of stock (I can confirm both are true).

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We got up bright at early on Easter Sunday as both our kids managed to find their Easter Baskets long before the “Easter Bunny” expected. We got dressed and headed down to Bellevue Christian Center at 8:30, where they had a “drive-in” Easter service in their parking lot. Despite the drizzling rain and cold, it was quite nice, with a worship team singing on a makeshift stage and broadcasting via short-range FM to our car radio. Pastor Hooker wandered the lot greeting cars spaced strategically six feet apart (both for social distancing and a view of the stage), and then Pastor Andy got up and gave a message, looking a bit like Billy Graham in a hat and coat (according to Vivian).

Our kids remained happy and quiet in the backseat all the while as well, which was something of an Easter miracle in itself, and we rewarded them afterward with some after-church donuts from Dunkin.

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The rest of our Easter Sunday was full of quiet fun at our house, fueled with sugar from Easter baskets and a handful of delicious, flowery cupcakes that came courtesy of Grammy later in the afternoon. We watched the Wildewood Easter Service online as Aaron danced happily to the music, and then the kids played with some of their Easter basket goodies, which included some headlights and wind-up chicks. Later on, we broke out the eggs and dye and got the kids to color a dozen eggs together at our kitchen table. We let the colors set as we had some Easter dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes, and biscuits toward the end of the day.

It was certainly a unique Easter weekend with the pandemic still in full force, but considering we got to enjoy an Easter egg hunt with the grandparents and even get out of the house for church together, it still felt very much like a traditional Easter all around.

He is risen, everyone!

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