I started humming the tune about ten days ago. By last Wednesday night, I was belting out the chorus sporadically. And by Thursday morning, I was singing the song with such gusto that my wife and kids had had enough of it; I even texted a bunch of my friends to tell them that the song was back.
“You’re weird” a friend of mine texted me. She may be right. I may be weird but every spring I start emphatically singing the Easter Taco song!
The Easter Taco song was created a few years back and I sing it with passion. People passing by or hearing the song for the first time will often do a double take when they hear the song sung to the tune of “Hallelujah.” I can’t blame them but it is the tune from which the song evolved. I can’t change that now. It is what it is. People, who know me, should not be surprised to hear me singing the Easter Taco song.
The question I am asked the frequently is, “how did the song originate?”
Stephanie’s mother, Kathy, was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in the summer of 2004. At fifty-four years of age, she was told by the doctors that she had six months to live. I could never fathom waking up one morning with the entire world in front of me and being told by doctors that I had six months left to live. “Get your affairs in order and enjoy what time you have left. Travel. Spend time with family. Pray.”
Yet, that is what happened to Kathy. Her kids had grown up and started their lives. Her house was paid off. The world was her oyster and she deserved to shuck it in order to discover the untold treasures that awaited her. And then the doctors delivered the news that said the untold treasures would have to wait.
Kathy was a fighter and she opted for an aggressive treatment plan. Six months later the doctors were astounded. The only prognosis they would give is that Kathy had Stage IV cancer. The rest was up to Kathy.
Flash forward to the spring of 2006 and after a long winter of treatments, Kathy was tired. Stephanie, who had left her job to help out her Mom, was tired. It was a tough winter that wore out our entire family, even the kids were tired. Flowers blooming, spring, gardens, warmer weather and Easter weren’t enough to inspire us. We all just wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep for another month. As Easter drew closer, we knew that a big family dinner was just out of the question.
So Stephanie and I put our heads together to come up with a modified schedule for the day. We decided to have a quiet egg hunt in our house with Kathy and the kids, a quick trip to the carousel with some friends while Kathy rested, and then a relaxing afternoon on the deck while we let the sunshine envelop us. And that is when Stephanie and I came up with a simple dinner solution; Tacos!
Tacos are easy to make, easy to clean up and tacos can be individualized so that people can decide how to prepare their own tortilla treat. Kathy thought we were crazy for making tacos for dinner. I still remember the look on her face when she asked us, “Tacos for Easter Dinner? Really?”
And it was one of the best Easter dinners we ever had. We made many, many jokes about the fact that we were having tacos and in a moment of weary mayhem, I created the Easter Taco song right there at the table. This led to more jokes, spirited conversations, additional verses for the Easter Taco song and family stories that had us laughing hysterically. By the end of the meal, our spirits had been renewed. The somnolent family that had endured a longer and colder winter than we had previously endured finally woke up and welcomed in the spring. Easter dinner was a success!
Kathy enjoyed two more Easter Taco celebrations with us before she lost her battle with cancer. She was taken from our family way too early at the age of fifty-eight but her spirit lives on with us every single day, especially at Easter when I ask Stephanie to make Easter Tacos.
A friend recently asked me if Easter Tacos were a special recipe or just Tacos. I told him that Easter Tacos are just plain old simple tacos with a twist. They are a reminder that life gets hard, that we should never sweat the small stuff, that we should always laugh, we should sing, we should make time for friends and family but most of all, we should embrace our lives because none of us know exactly how many years we have left.
That is a lot to fit into one little tortilla shell but when I sit down to Easter dinner, I remember that Easter Sunday five years ago that rejuvenated my family when we needed it most. I also look at my kids and realize how much their Grandma Kathy influenced their young lives and I am grateful for the years that she spent with them. But most of all, it is reminder to take stock in my own life and remember that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”