Easter, Our Way

I go to the Easter party at the craft school. What this means is that it’ s an excuse for everyone to dress up in exaggerated pastels, wear bunny ears (which are inherently suggestive), and dance the night away. We are the heathen in Appalachia, drinking blatantly in a dry Baptist county, and the Sheriff visits us three times in one night. But it’s a private party and no one is reckless. We shout craft school talk over dance re-mixes and rousing games of beer pong. There is a frenzy of dancing around the keg, which has been decorated like an Easter egg and rests on a bed of fake, green grass.

There are almost too many images to try and capture. One of my favorites being the goodbye kiss Dan (from Shady’s Cafe) gives me as I walk down the porch steps and towards the gravel road.

“So nice to see you, as always,” I say to him, and I mean it.

“Oh you too, of course,” he adds, then peck – his lips are soft and light, like marshmallows, and I can feel a bit of unshaven mustache above his upper lip.

Of course, the image of Anna in half-play out on the back deck, lulled by her warm beer and the driving beat of the dance music was similarly priceless. From across the beer pong table she meets Dan’s eyes and the two start to crack up, then take full poses in what I have come to call a Craft School Shoot Out. Imagine a typical shoot out scene in an old Western movie. Two men, each striking in their own ways, approach center stage and prepare to draw. A Craft School Shoot Out involves shirts and buttons instead of guns and bullets.

Dan undoes the top button of his shirt, making a ridiculous porn face for our amusement. His cheeks quiver as he swallows a mouthful of laughter and tries to hold his faux pose. Anna replies on cue, unbuttoning the top button of her 1950’s ivory dress with embroidered cherries on it. She laughs her New York laugh that I have come to know from almost any distance across the craft school campus.

“Sit tight,” I say to Lyman, as we lean into each other and try not to get in the way of this important scene. “ I think we’ve accidentally found ourselves in the middle of a very interesting situation.” He laughs in agreement and we egg Anna and Dan on with whoops and hollers and I-can’t-help-it laughs.

In the end Anna undoes four buttons, taking a deep breath with the release of the last button. The crowd assumes there will be flesh beneath but only a woman knows her own secrets and she opens the top half of her dress ferociously, then laughs like a barking spider into the night, revealing the silk ivory-lace tank top she wears beneath her dress. Fooled ya!, she must have thought.

Dan has no choice but to try and outdo her so he reaches for the buttons on his jeans, and slowly undoes the top one. Ben, the glass blower, sidles up next to him and starts to undo his belt; two making it better than one I suppose, but they both keel over in laughter before the next button and the Craft School Shoot Out is ended.

This is how we play. We dance and drink and make believe and just for a few hours here and there, indulge in poke-fun fantasies with total innocence and harmlessness. It is a dreamland and a writer’s palate, candy for the imagination, fodder for the non-fiction writer, food for the temporary vessels of the soul.

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