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Savannah's Easter Parade

I love stories! My ears perk up when I hear, “I remember when.” My dad knows this, and he pulls on my weakness quite often. This morning was, “I remember when Savannah had an Easter Parade.” It was only said in passing, but with that familiar twinkle in his eye that always intrigues me. That “I have a secret” look.

Dang. I’m hooked and he knows it. I moved closer, pulled up a chair, and he began.

“Every year, after families finish their big Easter lunches, we would pick up our sweethearts and go to Broughton Street. Savannahians would parade up and down both sides, leisurely strolling where we could appreciate each other’s best Easter clothes. The ladies wore their new dresses with hats and gloves, while the men would strut in their dapper new suits. Up and down, we would walk, saying hello to neighbors and friends. Then, we would make our way to Forsyth Park and get our pictures taken in front of the fountain. It was Spring, so the azaleas were in full bloom. You should have seen it.”

In my mind, I did. I could picture it: Broughton’s beautiful, historic buildings with sidewalks full of locals. I can’t help but wonder when this tradition stopped. What happened? And how strange would it be to do that now? I smiled at the thought but remembered something I had seen when I traveled to Rome, Italy.

Every Sunday afternoon, beginning at 6 p.m., locals promenade along the Via Del Corso. The evening ritual is known as la passeggiata, or the evening stroll. I went one night to watch, and it was mesmerizing. The city shuts off the Street so families can let their children wander along at their own pace. Then, as it got later in the night, the families would morph into couples who walked arm in arm, snuggling in the shadows for a quick kiss. (Sorry, I’m a romance author, so bear with me.) It was one of the best feelings of community I have ever felt.

My mind snapped back to the present to my dad sharing memories with me. That’s how we keep memories alive; we share them with someone we love. When a story isn’t shared, it’s forgotten. Remember that. As adults, we are sometimes so preoccupied with what we are doing in the present that we forget to share our past with the people we love. Our past is what makes us the people we are.

This Easter, carve away some time with your family. Go for a walk, dye Easter Eggs, or lean over to them before church and tell them how your mom made you wear an Easter hat every year to Mass. Share with them your childhood stories. Then, when you’re done, go make new memories for them to share with their families one day.

Happy Easter, everyone. I’ll see you on Broughton Street after lunch.

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