A bunny tale …

Yesterday, for the first time in memory, Easter Sunday buried me under a huge pile of nostalgia.  You’d think Thanksgiving and Christmas would have considered that their sacred duty, but no, it was innocent pastel little Easter that ended up blindsiding me.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I’m the eldest sibling in my family.  Our brother is gone, our parents, too, all of our grandparents have passed away, a lot of aunts and uncles, a few cousins, and without warning yesterday a tsunami of loneliness sent me rolling end over end.  My sisters, although close in spirit, don’t live nearby, my son and Kim’s are long hours away in different directions, so it’s just me and Pa, which is ordinarily more than fine.  The Kimn8r himself is now an “orphan by default” — grandparents, parents, step-parents, sister all went off and left him via death.  His niece and nephew, cousins and aunties live far away.  So.  We manage, and we have a very good time at it.  Yesterday was just one of those days.

Oh, the growing-up years.  Depending upon the whims of the calendar, Easter morning sometimes dawned sunny and mild, but more often cloudy, gray and chilly.  Regardless, we four munchkins threw jackets and hats or goofy little headscarves over our jammies and ran across the driveway to our grandparents’ big yard where Grandma was waiting with our Easter baskets.  The hedges and trees and other hidey-holes yielded up an abundance of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, candy eggs and assorted Easter-y gifts until our baskets were overflowing. Then a breakfast of waffles and bacon, followed by a mad scramble to get into our new dresses (made by our mom), white anklets and patent-leather shoes.  Our little brother was stuffed under protest into a pair of pants and a jacket, and the tie that always gave him a “church headache.”  As for the three of us girls, we could be found complaining bitterly about the way Mother did our hair — it looked “dumb,” too curly, too straight, too not right.  Caught up in the joys of motherhood, she continued the grooming ritual on the drive to church, straightening (or smacking) anything within arm’s reach and using Mom Spit to clean the ears of whoever was fortunate enough to grab the middle position, front seat.  When she managed to get dressed is a mystery for the ages, but at least our dad knew enough not to sit in the car and honk the horn the way one of our uncles did every Sunday.  I have to wonder if he would have lived to see another glorious Easter morn.

Once there, we sat in a row, with Grandma in charge of keeping order through the judicious application of Juicy Fruit gum, pencils and church bulletins.  Our parents were in the choir shooting us the stink-eye if we whispered or giggled too much, while we sneakily pinched each other under cover of the pew in front of us.  Grandma gave it her best shot, in her Sunday dress and hat and sometimes wearing a pair of earrings lovingly shaped out of flour, salt and water paste and gifted to her that morning.  Grandpa went to church with us about once a year, at Christmas time.  He always said he wasn’t cut out for church because “When I work, I work hard.  When I go to church, I sit.  And when I sit, I fall asleep.”

Our parents would leave the choir loft and sit with us for the sermon, during which time Daddy invariably found it imperative to clip his nails.  That little task accomplished, his next aim was to free a piece of hard candy from its crackly cellophane wrapper.  His painstaking efforts to keep the whole process quiet only resulted in its taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. … one tiny explosion at a time.  If I’d been the pastor I’d have marched down from the pulpit and thumped him on the head, but as a kid I hardly dared even think such thoughts.

Church blessedly over, we all piled back into the station wagon, our brother sighing loudly and claiming a window seat so he could stick his head out and breathe once again.  Of course, he always ripped his tie off on the way to the car.

We’d come back home to the aroma of the Sunday dinner Mother had somehow put in the oven that morning — another mystery of time and space — shuck out of our good clothes, and start sorting our Easter basket haul.  Little grubbers that we were, I’m sure we managed to stuff a goodly pre-lunch portion of it in our faces before getting caught.

The afternoon usually consisted of endless egg hunts of the boiled and dyed variety, culminating in the cracked and battered dregs getting thrown at whichever sister, brother or cousin veered into our line of sight.  It was all fun and games until somebody put an eye out, of course.

I’ve been contemplating what sort of cosmic convergence might have set off yesterday’s blue mood, but nothing momentous stands out.  Just a little too much, maybe.  A little too much perfect day, a little too much sunshine, too much quiet, too much capacity for remembering, too much of not seeing people I love for too long.

The earth is back on its axis now, though, and life goes on …

That traumatic Easter when I ceased to be an only child.

That traumatic Easter when I ceased to be
an only child.

The Munchkins

The Munchkins

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leigh Miller
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 00:08:05

    I certainly can relate to the bittersweet memories that seem to roll in every holiday. I really liked hearing your stories, it sounds like you had a wonderful childhood, especially having Grandma to close, that is very special.

    I’m really disappointed to hear this about Kim. How could someone turn their back on family like that is beyond me. From what I know of Kim, it appears he has risen above his meager beginnings, and its wonderful he has found the love of his life, and the same for you.

    Its strange how times change, and one day we find ourselves with very few relatives, parents or siblings to share our lives with. Now we are the adults, this is hard to fathom how time has moved on, but here we are ~ and we are all on our own.

    Smile ~ you are loved. Be happy, cause you are so fortunate. Enjoy your days doing what you love, no interruptions and very little drama, we hope… This was a great read, I relived my childhood days too, and that was a gift I just got from you. Thank you!!! ❤

    Like

    Reply

    • Judy Smith
      Apr 04, 2013 @ 00:17:05

      Leigh, thank you for stopping by and talking to me. We were indeed blessed to have one set of grandparents right across the driveway from us, and the other set just a half-hour away. And a great-grandmother about a fifteen-minute drive from us. Riches!

      I need to clarify that Kim wasn’t actually abandoned — it’s just that his mother died young (57), his sister a couple of weeks before we got married, and his dad and step-mom in recent years. He had a great upbringing and made his parents proud.

      It IS strange how quickly the years go by and all at once we’re almost the oldest generation left in our family line.

      I do smile all the time and I’m probably one of the happiest little campers in the world. I just think a little too much sometimes. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story and got to relive memories of your own — that means a lot to me, as does your friendship.

      Like

      Reply

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