by Brenda Shaw

Our Easter Parade
Easter always brought the Gill family to visit with Jen’s Mom and Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly. Ray and Jennie with their boys Gordon, Wayne and Gary from Vancouver and Ray’s Mom and Dad Mr.and Mrs. Gill from Castlegar would all arrive about the same time on Thursday night. Sometimes Ken Kelly and his wife and girls would come depending on where Ken was stationed. He was in the Air Force and moved quite often.
On Good Friday after we attended the services at the Church we would come home to find the house full of the Kelly clan planning our Sunday Easter Parade. This was no ordinary parade of fine clothes and elegant how!
The one thing about the Kelly clan was they all loved to dress up and the more outlandish outfit the better! The men would dress in women’s clothes and the women in men’s and the kids in their Mom and Dad’s clothes! Mr. and Mrs. Gill were very proper English but were just full of fun and willing to do anything for a laugh. We enjoyed watching them join in the fun.
Sometimes we would be able to talk some of the neighbours into joining our parade but usually it was just the Shaw’s and the Kelly clan with the neighbourhood watching the festivities.
On Saturday we coloured all our eggs early in the morning and then Mom and Jenny would peel the potatoes and veggies for supper as we all spent Saturday night together. Grandma Pioli and Grandma Kelly were in charge of making enough pies to feed everyone! Mr. and Mrs. Gill were in charge of decorations; Dad, Ray and Bill Kelly were in charge of refreshments!! Dinner time was chaos with kids everywhere and little tables set up here and there and finally it was time to sit down and have dinner. Mr. Kelly was a hunter and our dinner was always a beautiful venison roast that was saved for this special occasion.
The evening was spent putting finishing touches on our costumes for the big parade and then the adults played cards until late into the night while we played board games until we all just collapsed and fell asleep with bodies lying at the end of our beds until it was time for them to go home!
Sunday morning, Mom, Grandma, Sandy and I (later Norma too) would be off to Church for the Easter Services and then home to our Dad’s awesome pancakes or waffles. We could barely eat as we wanted to get outside and find all our Easter goodies. We would meet the Gill boys in the back alley collecting their goodies. There was a time honoured tradition that the middle of the road was the line we did not cross so we couldn’t collect the wrong goodies!!!
Our parade was usually right after lunch and everyone would line up in the back alley dressed in their bizarre outfits. Mr. Gill made the cutest little old lady you ever saw! The rest of the adults were pretty darned funny and we had a hard time not laughing too loudly at my Dad who always had one of Mom’s pretty dresses on and his hair was curled (thank you to Sandy) and he and Ray even had lipstick on! The men all wore very fancy women’s hats that the wives had made the night before!!!
Gordon was kind of the Pied Piper and led the parade playing his recorder and everyone would sing and do little dances as we went down the back alley and out onto the road..down past the Makaseff’s and around the bend and up the street all the way up to Earle Crescent..then along Earle Crescent to our street and down the hill to our house. Sometimes the neighbours would follow along so they could see the whole parade.
Gordon learned to play “Easter Parade” and a few other Irish tunes that we all knew the words to. There was much laughter and fun back and forth…and it ended up with the parade coming to a halt in front of our house. This was the highlight as Dad and Ray would do the Irish jig or step dance and poor Gordon could barely keep up!
Oh my when I remember the good times my sides hurt from laughing! I remember once many years after the Kelly’s passed away and Ray and Jen were not well enough to come to Oliver, Mom and Dad got dressed up and Norma took a movie of them doing their own parade. We mailed the movie to Ray and Jen who phoned as soon as they got it…lots of laughter and tears that day!
So my friends, I hope you enjoyed this little memory and May the Good Lord bless and keep you now and forever!

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