Carol Belcher loves bunnies. They were her late mother, Bettyâ€™s, favorite animal. During Eastertime, Carolâ€™s Point Shirley home is adorned with stuffed bunnies in the parlor, porcelain bunny salt and pepper shakers on her dining room table, and cotton tailed towels in the bathroom.
â€œI love how pretty everything is at Easter,â€ Carol said gently. â€œItâ€™s a nice time of year. Everything is awakening.â€
A dedicated parishioner of St. Johnâ€™s Episcopal Church, Carol is the Altar Guild lead, and prepares the church for services; most notably during the Lenten and Easter seasons.
â€œThis year we are reinstituting an overnight vigil on Thursday that replicates when Jesus says to his apostles, â€˜Couldnâ€™t one of you stay awake with me?â€™â€ described Carol about commemorating the Last Supper. â€œWe take turns and stay awake in the church.â€
Carol recalls staying awake for hours, filling the pews with hand-made tissue paper flowers.
â€œMost holidays, you can be happy all the way up until them; but the religious aspect leading up to Easter is sad,â€ explained Carol about celebrating Jesusâ€™ passion, death, and resurrection. â€œItâ€™s all the more enjoyable to be joyful when Easter does arrive.â€
One tradition that Carol enjoys is baking. Wearing her Easter bunny apron that was gifted to her by a neighbor, Carol baked cheerful sugar cookies — 15 eggs, and 18 bunnies in overalls — for St. Johnâ€™s Spring Craft Fair on April 9. She decorated them using paintbrushes; and with the assistance of her husband, Dave, packaged them with pastel ribbon.
â€œI have fun. Itâ€™s therapeutic,â€ said Carol, whose favorite decoration is a colorful â€œFAITHâ€ sign that has been glued back together many times over the years, and now sits on her stove.
For the fair, Carol also baked 182 brownies for her famous lobster roll lunches, and 16 cheesecakes and carrot cakes, to the dismay of her diabetic husband, who savors the delicious smells coming from their kitchen. Chuckling about only being allowed to eat crumbs, Dave feels that his wife bakes from her heart, and hopes that his good deeds of shopping for ingredients and packaging cookies will allow him to join his wife in heaven.
The St. Johnâ€™s morning Easter egg hunts were some of Carolâ€™s fondest memories at her parish. She also organizes the Easter eve suppers, which before the pandemic had been a potluck dinner with dessert buffet tables. Saint Johnâ€™s will be hosting the dinner again for the first time in two years; but on this occasion, will have a fixed menu of ham, green bean casserole, roasted potatoes, and macaroni and cheese served to guests.
â€œThe potluck was always a lot of fun because everyone was happy and eating. Our parish family are good eaters,â€ laughed Carol. â€œEveryone loves our food. Letâ€™s keep making good food.â€