It was as if I became an instant part of every family in my town. I first met this lady when the owner of the local veterinary pharmacy took me home with her to try the fat they had rendered from their hog, which she spread on a big piece of homemade bread. From then on she waited for me to visit on each holiday.
Easter is the best. Every family prepares their Easter basket the night before Easter - ham, salt, eggs (painted and plain), butter, and wine are just a few of the additions. The "paska" or Easter bread sits tall and regal as the shining showcase, but my favorite are the little cakes of butter carved to look like little lambs like this one.
Everyone takes their basket to church to be blessed. Some begin their ritual the night before, on their feet until the sun comes up. Others arrive just before daybreak. The arrive expecting that their basket, as well as their person, will be blessed with a good dousing of holy water - enough to clean away the sins of the year!