It's Easter and Big Dave and I are strolling into Champ's for a holiday supper. I just finished exercising and am wearing a crappy grey t-shirt sweaty around the collar and wrinkled khackis. I just wanna grab a quick supper in a dark bar where nobody will notice me and my unwashed hair. This is not what we usually do on Easter but I am liking it. I order the potstickers with Asian slaw and very cold beer.
Any other year I would be beating cream cheese dip into submission and praying the butcher gave me a good cut of ham. My toilets would be bleach fresh and there would be a purple and pink felt egg pin on my lapel. I would be waiting for relatives to show up and litter my carpet with potato chip crumbs and fill my sink with greasy paper plates. This year my boss penciled in my name for the Easter evening slot so I said sorry, family, cannot do the big dinner thing. And then the boss changed her mind so I ended up free of all the hostess crap.
So Easter finds me playing Scrabble with my father and my nephew for three and a half hours. Sonny was resplendant in his choice of holiday duds, pressed navy slacks and white turtleneck sweater, who wears this kind of stuff anyway. We got into only one argument, my temper flaming when the old man redefines the rules to suit his position. I grind my heels into his carpet and refuse to budge, after sixty years of his wiley tricks I remain unyielding. He asks my nephew for the deciding vote. When Luke agrees with me Sonny overrides the boy's decision and there is no progress.
And now I am sitting on my couch eating black licorice jelly beans and thinking about the telephone conversation with my granddaughters in far away Michigan a few minutes ago. They are refreshing and edgy and eternally flamboyant, oh for that energy in my life every day. They are eight hours away and I will dream about them tonight and the next.
It's Easter and that's a problem. The sweet salty scent of ham takes me back to Marie and countless talks in the kitchen, it's still a crazy ache. My aunt Gloria sent me a letter my mother wrote to her over forty years ago and my father and I scour its contents eagerly, wanting to experience the fresh breath of air that was my mother.