Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Sun Is Dancing

Kicked off a sunny Easter morning with stories and poems from the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology. Since I forgot to do the April Fool's Day material on the 1st, I started with the story of how two enterprising boys manage to keep a giraffe from escaping their yard. "Nino's Easter" describes spring rituals and celebrations for a young boy living in northern Italy. "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes" tells of a mother rabbit who is tagged to be an Easter Bunny. She has a hard time delivering one special egg, but her drive and courage prompts the head Bunny to give her the title footwear. 

Instead of going straight into breakfast, I changed, grabbed my coat, and headed out. It was a far nicer Easter than I expected. We were supposed to be cold today, in the mid-50's. Only the blustery wind felt frigid. The warm sun was wonderful on my face, when you could avoid the gales. 

Headed down East Clinton, past tiny gardens filled with pansies and tulips and hyacinths, and to the steep stone steps leading to Newton Lake Park. It was even more gorgeous there. The sun danced on rippling green waters, making a fine contrast to pale green grass and sun yellow buttercups on the shore. Passed three college guys spending their Easter morning catching dinner later and many dog walkers, joggers, and couples out for a stroll.

Thought I'd have my Easter brunch at Tortilla Press in Collingswood, which has brunch every Saturday and Sunday. They weren't that busy. I saw a big family that took two tables and a few couples and friends. 

I was a little disappointed in their Easter menu. You could get blueberry pancakes or scrambled eggs and bacon anywhere. Finally went to the regular brunch menu and ordered an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese and breakfast potatoes. The "breakfast potatoes" were fried to a perfect crisp, very salty and very tasty. The omelet was amazing, with the creamy cheese perfectly complimenting the spinach and mushrooms. My waitress said it's her favorite dish on the brunch menu.

It was too nice of a day to go home right away. I strolled around Collingswood for a bit next to see if anything else was open. Walked around in Haddon Culinary, a gourmet grocery store, first. Alas, I saw nothing there I could afford. It was mostly very expensive high-end groceries like cookies, meat, or jelly and jam, thins I could get much cheaper at any supermarket.

Innergroove Records was open, too. I spent at least 40 minutes browsing through their stacks. Normally, I do better with the dollar records on the bottom shelves, but today, I came up with some jewels in the kids' albums. Finally bought:

The George Shearing Quartet - White Satin

Soundtrack from Snow White and the Three Stooges

Tinkerbell Records kiddie collection of 5 fairy tales, including Cinderella and Goldilocks 

My favorite find by far was Raggedy Ann and Andy: Happiness Album. This is one of the picture albums made by children's record company Kids Stuff in the early 80's, with gorgeous color artwork of Ann, Andy, and their dog Raggedy Arthur on either side. The girls and I loved this record to death in the early-mid 80's. I can still sing Ann and Andy's "Brother Come and Dance With Me" duet, and I learned "This Old Man" from this album. It cost me $9.99, twice as much as the other albums, but it was worth the memories. 

Treated myself to dessert at WaWa. Looks like blackberry is the big spring flavor for cold drinks at WaWa this year. Went with Blackberry Cobbler. Yum. It didn't taste much like cobbler, but it sure tasted like blackberry.

Went right home and upstairs after that. Listened to Happiness Album while working online. Ann and Andy are upset when rain prevents Marcella from taking them on a picnic. They wind up a music box and dance with Arthur and the Camel With the Wrinkled Knees instead and talk about the things that make them happy. When Marcella does finally manage to take them out, they play and sing "This Old Man." 

It's just as cute as I remember. "Happiness Is" and "This Old Man" are performed by a random adult singer and are really extraneous, but they're so catchy, you don't mind. "Come and Dance" is lively and fun. The opening and closing "Raggedy Ann and Andy World" has awkward lyrics, but is saved by a bouncy melody. 

Worked on writing for a while. The sheep leads Brett, Richard and the others under the White Castle's entrance and around to the back. Richard's sons Gary and Mark are excited to be home, but Richard reminds them that the Castle is under siege. Marcia tries to reach for flowers on the pond, only to not be able to reach them, while Brett falls out when her oar hits what the sheep claims is a crab.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Ate it while watching It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. The Peanuts have their own holiday preparations to make. Sally goes shopping for shoes and Snoopy finds a bird house for Woodstock. Peppermint Patty wants to teach Marcie to color eggs, but Marcie can't seem to figure out how to cook them. Lucy just wants to hide and find her own eggs. Don't bother with all the fuss, says Linus. The Easter Beagle does all that. Sally is skeptical after the incident with the Great Pumpkin at Halloween, but Easter morning brings more than one surprise for the kids!

Watched The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town online after I dragged flattened boxes downstairs, took a shower, and did a few chores. The orphans of Kidsville find a bunny on Easter morning they name Sunny. Sunny wants to sell their eggs to gloomy Town, but Lady Lily Longtooth doesn't look kindly on colorful eggs, rabbits, or anything she can't control. Sunny and the kids create traditions to get around her strict laws, and show her and her nephew King Bruce how much fun it is to make your own kind of holiday.

The rare puppet special An Easter Story takes us to the Easter Bunny's factory. He's worried there won't be enough eggs to go around this Easter. While his magician son invents jelly beans, he encounters two kids who say they can help color eggs. With the help of every kid on the planet, he comes to realize that rabbits aren't the only ones who are good at preparing for Easter.

Finished the night at YouTube with Walt Disney World Easter parades from the late 80's and early 90's. These aren't as jam-packed as the 4th of July shows, but we do get more focus on the actual parade, rather than boy band concerts and celebrity speeches. Regis Philbin and Joan Lunden host the 1989 and 1992 parades. Alan Thicke joins Lunden in 1989, with Philbin interviewing tourists on Main Street. By '92, Robby Benson, the original voice of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, took over on Main Street, leaving Philbin as the primary male host. And of course, Benson just had to dance with Belle during the Beauty and the Beast group in '92!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was such a massive success in 1988 that Roger was a major presence in both parades. In fact, he began the '92 special with a surprise appearance. By '92, the Disney Renaissance was in full swing, and we had floats representing The Little Mermaid and The Disney Afternoon cartoons along with the regular characters and older movies like Cinderella. Both parades featured groups in Edwardian dress showing off old-fashioned haberdashery, Clara Cluck and her dancing girl chickens in a barn float, and ended with rows and rows of teen southern belles from Mobile, Alabama in frilly pastel hoop-skirted gowns leading up to the Easter Bunnies in '89 and Mickey and Minnie in '92. 

Both parades also heavily advertised what's now Disney Hollywood Studios, which opened a few weeks after the '89 parade debuted. You get to see many vanished rides, including glimpses of The Great Movie Ride and the Backstage Tour. Richard Mulligan also provides a reminder that actual filming used to go on here, as we get glimpses of the old New York lot and the exterior of the Empty Nest house. 

If you remember Disney in the late 80's and early 90's, you'll want to check out these springtime blasts from the past!

And I hope you had a wonderful Easter and Passover with all the people you love!

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