Panorama of San Bernardino

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Memories

My father loved most holidays. He was not a religious person like Mom. Dad was raised dirt poor and Protestant in Montana. Later in life, he was probably more of an agnostic. But he loved the food that came along with all of the holidays. And, Dad never met a decoration he didn't like. In our house, less was not more, and there would be cardboard rabbits and garland placed there by Dad.

The night before Easter, Dad would sit with us at the table watching us making our Easter eggs. We would dip them in food coloring and write on them in wax crayon. Dad would always have to make at least one, he was really a kid at heart. I remember his Easter egg being a mix of least five different colors, a gaudy mess. After making eggs, we would play our usual game of 500 rummy and then go to sleep at a decent hour because Mom would be forcing us to church in the morning, even though she got home late from her shift at the restaurant.

In the morning, we would wake up early and go to church. Mom would give us each a dollar to put in the basket. By the time we got home, Dad would have hid plastic eggs with quarters and a few highly prized silver dollars in the backyard. Me, Jackie and Annie would scratch at our fancy clothes and run in the backyard screaming and fighting for the coin. Mom would put our Easter baskets on the table and I would always grab the chocolate bunny out of the basket and start nibbling at his ears.

We ate early on Easter because Mom usually had to go to work. I've written before about Dad's famous ham. Easter was not Easter without a ham. Covered in pineapple and maraschino cherries, and glazed to a high sheen, it was a sight to behold and delicious, a mix of sweet, crispy and salty. Dad would pair the ham with homemade potato salad, his secret, he always said, was his addition of pickle juice.  He would bake hot Pillsbury rolls and slather them in margarine and put them in a basket. There was always a dessert too.

 After lunch, Mom would get ready for her shift at the restaurant, a waitress never had holidays off. We would yell "bye mom see you later!" Mom never seemed unhappy about going to work, but looking back it must have been hard to leave. I can picture her gazing wistfully at the house as she drives away to her shift at Yanghtzee's Chinese restaurant.

The day would usually end with a movie. Dad would pull out his prized laser disc and put in his favorite, Superman. Dad always marveled at the scenes where Superman could fly. Us girls would sit and watch the movie stuffing Dad's hot buttery popcorn in our mouths by the handfuls.

Sometimes, we would all fall asleep in front of the television. Dad would put blankets on us. We would wake up when Mom got home. No matter how late it was, Dad would always warm her up another plate of ham and rolls.

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