As I was writing Sunday's blog about our Easter a dozen years ago, I sent out a few feelers to my crew to stimulate memories beyond my own. As I've heard lately, my memory is not so good...anyway, the Drama Queen remembered that particular day rather fondly and she offered to make a guest appearance on our blog. As you can see, my memory is a bit different from hers, but knowing both writers, hers is probably more correct. I hope you enjoy her story. Presenting...
A Copper Penny Easter
Dad woke us up in the early morning hours. The sky outside was still a little dim as the spring sunrise cut up over the mountains. A special treat for breakfast coaxed us into the van as the Gym Rat and Bossy loaded in the coolers. The Gym Rat wasn't as tall back then and Bossy could still score the aisle seat if she moved fast enough.
Teach and I sat on the middle seat, our new stuffed bunnies sitting on our legs and getting gently dusted by showers of donut sugar. Mom herded the Dog Walker to the car, vainly trying to convince him into his jacket and carrying Princess's carseat at the same time. With the care of an artist moving a freshly-painted canvas, Dad carried his tray of deviled eggs. They were truly a masterpiece of pale whites and paprika-topped yolks. Back then, I didn't know the difference and thought chocolate was the best part of Easter, so the parade of the eggs that weren't even colored bored me.
The drive to grandma's house always took the indistinguishable forever peppered with "are we there yet?" The sky up the canyon hovered overhead like a pewter bowl - the effects of an early brushfire or inversion high above the dusty bronze hills. Easters generate thoughts of plush green grass and vivid blossoms but this day was drawn in metallic tones like the bright copper pennies my great-grandfather sometimes handed out. He would let me lean against his side and chair as he clacked his dentures in and out: startling Teach and making Dog Walker frown with confusion at the strange sound.
Bossy would laugh at us and flounce off to play with cousins as Dad tried to explain to my childhood moralities why it was okay to suddenly fling our carefully-tended, meticulously-colored eggs down the hillside when the night before we'd been warned to not let so much as a crack appear without the egg being deemed ruined and hastily peeled for a salted snack. Still miffed over such a double standard, I left the egg-rolling to the more enterprising and joined Grandma as she walked along the ridges.
She told me stories of other Easters, and I imagined my Dad as a kid flinging eggs at his brothers. (It seemed all Dad's stories should involve his brothers ganging up on one another in a victorious fraternal brawl such as I had never witnessed.) Mom talked me into trying the coleslaw but the slimy texture made me grimace and it was only the threat of hurting Grandma's feelings that made me swallow it down. The wind sent napkins flying and barbecue smoke stung my eyes as it flew away to join the nickel-sky.
Great-grandpa kissed my cheek before we left, and the leathery feel of his lips was like touching the musty books hiding in the cupboards of Mom's office. Cousins and siblings piled into cars as the distant white glow of the sun started its track west below the horizon. I lingered behind, not quite wanting that day to end. It's an Easter I still remember though so many have come after and so much has changed. But the memory is still there and every once in awhile it will remind me of itself, and I accept it as just another of Easter's special gifts.