Woman continues tradition of Easter cross display

Looking out the large picture window in her living room, Emma Bedel sees a display that holds a lot of meaning to her.

On Ash Wednesday for more than 25 years, she has had three white wooden crosses, each about 6 feet tall, in her yard. She keeps them up through Easter Sunday.

For a majority of those years, the display was in the yard of her farm home a quarter-mile off of U.S. 31 between Uniontown and Seymour.

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But after her husband, James Bedel, died Dec. 2, 2015, she moved to 913 N. Pine St. in Seymour.

Since then, her son, Mike Jaeger, has helped her place the Easter display.

The 71-year-old said she decorates for other holidays, but Easter is her favorite because of it being a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“I just like to do it. I always have. It’s just a thing I like to do,” she said. “I love Easter, and I want everybody to see the crosses. I want them to know what Easter is about.”

Bedel said she and her late husband lived on their farm for 40 years.

She worked as a nurse’s aide at the former Jackson Park nursing home in Seymour for 10 years and then spent 14 years at Lutheran Community Home in Seymour until retiring in 2004.

While working at Lutheran Community Home, she had a man make the crosses for her. It became a tradition for her and her husband to put them out on Ash Wednesday each year. They would drape a purple cloth and place a crown of thorns on the middle cross, which represents Christ.

Then from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, they would replace the purple cloth with a black one to represent the crucifixion of Christ.

“It means Christ died for me,” Bedel said. “That’s just how I believe. I think everybody ought to know that story.”

She said people have always taken notice of the display.

“A lot of people stop and look,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know the story. I’ve told a lot of people about it. Kids don’t know the story anymore.”

Bedel said children walk past her home and go down an alley to board a school bus, and she often sees them looking at the crosses.

She hopes they understand the meaning.

“I’m usually up at 6 (a.m.), and I sit here and watch them,” she said while looking out her living room window. “Maybe they’ll see it and wonder about it. It would be good for them for Easter instead of chocolate eggs.”