I miss my daughters most at Eastertime. Sewing their dresses, finding three new pairs of white patent leather shoes.

The Easter of 1979, our family lived on Great Smoky Drive outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Young, with our futures before us, we’d left our extended families, neighbors, and church in Michigan for my husband to seize an employment opportunity.

Becky, our firstborn, attended fourth grade and loved her teacher and class. Perhaps her new pierced ears helped her adapt. She conscientiously sterilized her earrings with peroxide in a small paper cup.

When I crossed the Allegheny River to drive our middle child, Kelly, to preschool, her younger sister, Ruth, said, “Alligator River!”

Sponsored by the church we attended, Kelly also loved her teacher and fellow students. She cried when I returned to take her home.

“I want to go to preschool, too!” Ruth said. Nonetheless, as Easter Day approached, the girls anticipated our return to Michigan for their Easter egg hunt with their cousins.

And I longed for dinner with my sisters and their families. Foremost, though, I anticipated the Easter Sunday service within the sanctuary of our former church, the highlight being Buddy Mack’s solo of “The Holy City.”

We didn’t stick in Pennsylvania and soon moved our belongings back to Michigan. Each Easter Sunday, Buddy Mack sang “The Holy City” to the glory of Christ’s resurrection.

By 1990, Becky had dropped out of college addicted to drugs. My husband, daughters, and I received word of her death July 6, 1996. Shattered, we left our church and never heard Buddy Mack sing “The Holy City” again.

Dear Reader, as you heal, it’s peculiar what you recall and hold dear. As Easter Day approaches, I remember Buddy Mack’s gift to fellow pilgrims, and sing his song on Buddy’s behalf. Please sing along.

Last night I lay asleeping
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem
Beside the temple there.
I heard the children singing
And ever as they sang,
Methought the voice of Angels
From Heaven in answer rang
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
Lift up your gates and sing,
Hosanna in the highest.
Hosanna to your King!”
And then methought my
dream was chang’d
The streets no longer rang.
Hush’d were the
glad Hosannas
The little children sang.
The sun grew dark with
The morn was cold and chill
As the shadow of a
cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
Hark! How the Angels sing,
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna to your King!”
And once again the scene
was chang’d
New earth there seem’d to be,
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea
The light of God was
on its streets
The gates were open wide,
And all who would
might enter
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or
stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.
“Jerusalem! Jerusalem
Sing for the night is o’er.
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna for evermore!”

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com.