Not one kitsch Easter bunny. No colored eggs. Nobody in a bunny costume waving me into Jiffy Lube. Not even one jelly bean.
Better than that. Way better.
Good Friday was at the only functioning synagogue in Sarajevo. What could be more in the spirit than watching Patti and Fletcher deliver a gift of 10 hand-embroidered Vermont tallits - prayer shawls--to the members of the synagogue? I watched as three 70 year old men held them, finally untied the red ribbon, and opened his. Feeling the strings, the embroidery. Then pulling it over his shoulders. I was proud to be a Vermonter.
Saturday the Bascarsija was packed. You just take it in. Turkish coffee, copper hammered plates, wool rugs, rainbow colors covering young women's heads.
But Easter was most heart warming. Mina went out of her way to read recipe books in order to cook an American Easter dinner for Fletcher, Patti, and me. She made lamb, potatoes, spinach, American muffins.
Mina and Hamo are in their late 60's now. During the war the Serbian army took over their Muslim Sarajevo neighborhood of Grbavica. They ran for their lives. Their daughters were evacuated from Sarajevo and were resettled in Burlington, Vermont. That starts the Vermont connection. Mina and Hamo had a small camp in nearby Faletici. Only 4 miles from Sarajevo, but high above the city where sheep graze. The entire town was razed during the war. Completely destroyed. But Hamo and his son rebuilt it by hand and furnished it with donations from relatives. Mina and Hamo live there year round now. Too painful to move back to Sarajevo.
My Jewish, Muslim Easter.