Easter Bonnets

At Easter let your clothes be new
Or else be sure you will it rue.

Poor Robin, an 18th-century English almanac maker, is credited with writing this doggerel. The notion that ill-luck would follow one who had not something new at Easter expanded in the 19th century.

In the English tradition, the notion of getting new clothes on Easter to signify inner growth and renewal dates back to Shakespeare. In “Romeo and Juliet,” Romeo’s sage and ill-fated confidante, Mercutio, chastises Benvolio. “Did’st thou not fall out with a Tailor for wearing his new Doublet before Easter?”

In the States, it wasn’t until post-Civil War society, towards the latter 1870s, when modern traditions surfaced. Women and children marching in Easter Parades replaced dark-colored mourning smocks with brighter clothing. By the early twentieth century, Americans became more and more invested in the Easter outfit—the hat, in particular.

Current Traditions

Following forty days of Lent, we typically wear drab outfits reflective of a collective “abstention.” Easter Sunday lifts the fog not only in spirit but also in our wardrobe. Fittingly, mom took us to Freeman’s clothing store each year to purchase a new Easter suit and tie.

Today the Easter bonnet is a type of hat that women and girls wear to Easter services. Because Easter coincides with seasonal blooming, women sometimes garner fresh flowers to wear in their hair and bonnets. Lilies, daffodils, azaleas, hyacinths, and red tulips are considered traditional Easter flowers.

The popularity of the Easter Bonnet peaked in 1948 when Judy Garland serenaded Fred Astaire with Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade” in a film of the same name. In this number, Garland, who dons a white Derby Hat with pink and violet rosettes, makes no place seem as grand on Easter Sunday as Fifth Avenue in New York City. However, the Easter Bonnet has become a relic, albeit a delicate and artisanal one, of cosmopolitan splendor.

What about you? Will you be donning an Easter bonnet today?



The Claypool Lennon Delirium

Amanda asked me this week if I had heard of The Claypool Lennon Delirium. I have to admit that I had not. Of course, I immediately decided to check them out.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium is an American psychedelic rock band. Members include bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, known for his work on Primus, and guitarist/vocalist Sean Lennon.

The band was originally conceived in 2015. Claypool knew Primus would take a year off after touring. He kept in touch with The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger’s lead singer Sean Lennon. Sean had not planned any musical project for the following year. 

They started with the idea of making an old-school, psychedelic and progressive rock record. Claypool invited Lennon to his guesthouse to drink wine, run some ideas and play drums.

Over the course of six weeks, they wrote and recorded a total of ten songs. They shared various vocal and instrumental responsibilities, going beyond their core instruments of bass and guitar. This session culminated in the release of their first studio album, Monolith of Phobos. The album debuted in the Top 10 of three Billboard charts: Top Vinyl Albums, Top Tastemakers Albums, and Top Alternative Albums.

South of Reality

On February 22, 2019, the duo released their second studio album, South of Reality. They wrote and recorded the LP over two months at Claypool’s home recording studio in California. It was preceded by the release of the six and a half minute long track “Blood and Rockets”. The duo embarked on a brief headlining tour in support of the record in late 2018. They are currently on tour.

Sean Lennon is the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I think his voice sounds a lot like his father’s. There are parts of this song that remind me of “Because” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” from the Abbey Road album. 

Celebrating Celebrate

I haven’t attended worship in a church for several years. Coker used to have a contemporary service called Celebrate that met at 11 AM each Sunday. Certainly, contemporary services are my preferred style. Celebrate began as a grassroots alternative to the traditional service at Coker in the 1990s. Lauren and Amanda were the first to discover Celebrate and asked if we could go there instead of the traditional service. Because we wanted to keep them interested in church, we decided to give it a try.

In the beginning, Celebrate met in the gym. Because the walls were cinderblock and the floors were linoleum, the acoustics were terrible. However, that didn’t matter. The band played music we knew. For example, “Awesome God” and “Now Is The Time To  Worship.” We made a joyful noise sitting on those plastic stackable chairs. One of our associate pastors gave the sermon.

Celebrate 2.0

Over the next decade, Coker expanded its campus and added a new building. It was built for High school and middle school members. Importantly, they included a large room to hold worship services. The Upper Room became the permanent home of the Celebrate service. Just outside the Upper Room doors was a reception area called Higher Grounds. Worshipers could drink coffee here or take it into the service.

And greeting everyone each week was “Brother Bill” Dovali. This coal black Vietnam veteran commuted each Sunday from Fort Sam to spread joy with his infectious smile. Bill wore black and white wingtip shoes and the most colorful shirts you have ever seen.

The band was always the centerpiece of this worship experience. In addition, communion was served every week. Initially, after moving to the Upper Room, one of our associate pastors preached every week. After he left, our senior pastor shared preaching duties with other associate pastors. In its heyday, Celebrate was drawing 200 – 300 participants each week.

Leadership Changes

Ultimately, the Methodist Church replaced our senior pastor. In addition, they shut down the Celebrate service. The band members, along with many worshipers found new homes. Because Coker no longer offers a contemporary service at a convenient time I never returned.

We are having a reunion of the Celebrate service at my house tonight. The band’s Core members will be here. Also, our senior pastor from Celebrate’s glory days will be here.

One congregation favorite was Jesus Is Just Alright. Most people are familiar with the 1972 cover by the Doobie Brothers. Christian rock and hip hop band, DC Talk released this version as a single in 1992. Enjoy!

Music with a dash of trivia