By Evan Shertzer –
Easter, just one more holiday on the calendar and another family gathering. There’s plenty of candy, food, drinks and family gossip. The whole family just loves spending time with each other, especially when all everyone is trying to do is dress to impress and see who is the better family, but deep down I know it’s a more important event than just a family gathering.
It’s getting together to see my family friends who I don’t really talk to, but for some reason I always become best buds again with them when we see each other at our grandparents. It’s also a chance to meet all the new babies in the family that magically just appeared out of nowhere, but every time I see them it feels like they’ve grown up two feet and learned some new important life skill like walking, crawling or talking.
Easter always starts at grandma and grandpa’s house. Each family comes in happy carrying the meals they prepared for lunch or dinner. It’s all hugs and kisses around, but truthfully everyone is checking out to see what Aunt Suzie made or did Uncle Scott bring his special dessert and did anyone forget something so we can pick on them and make fun of them later.
After everyone says hello and makes their rounds, I head into the kitchen to see what grandma is making for the delicious main course. I walk into the kitchen and smell all the melted brown butter on the green peas and noodles, I look into the warm oven and see the best-tasting beef brisket that is always the most amazing thing in the world I have ever tasted. Suddenly, I walk into the other room and see all the platters laid out before me that contain all the delicious desserts, and no one is around. I carefully sneak one of those crunchy and sugary cookies that Uncle Scott makes every year and then place the plastic wrap back very carefully and sneak out and head towards the dinner table to claim my spot.
Once grandma finally sits down after placing the final dish on the table, grandpa begins his ten minute prayer. When that is over, the passing of the platters and dishes begins. I start to build up the mountain that contains everything from corn, to ham, to mashed potatoes, to stuffing and green peas. Once it is complete, I look at the mountain, satisfied that I’ve stuffed all I could possible on it and in it. Then I get the gravy and top it all off so that the mountain is exploding and lava is pouring down the sides. This is one of the best feelings and memories to have and grandma and grandpa’s house; always knowing that they will have food and comfort for you.
I wonder one day if the same experience will be shared by my grand-kids. I hope that they can share the same memory that I had as a boy of building a mountain of food at your grandparents and then devouring it. I plan on keeping the tradition going of having everyone over for holidays or family occasions, but maybe my kids will all move away. I hope the memories that I’ve had can be recreated by grandchildren one day.
The first bite into the Easter meal is always the best because every bite after that you get more full and more full until you look at the plate with the last bit of food left and realize you just engulfed about five pounds of food that you know probably doesn’t mix well in the end, and you can’t eat a bite more. It’s a sad feeling after that because the dessert that was next in line is just denied entrance into your mouth because you can’t eat any more or else you will burst like a balloon.
That’s the classic Easter meal with our family, and mixed in during the meal is all the compliments to chef’s, and the complaints that something needs more salt or an ingredient was forgot. At the end of the meal though, everyone is too full with the food they ate to complain, and they all the feel the gravy that they placed on their mountains is about to come pouring out of them.
It’s going to be sad when my grandparents pass away, and once a holiday comes around I will realize that there will be no more memories at their house. The hugs and kisses that welcomed me at the door of their house on each holiday or just when I visited will no longer be there. I don’t plan on those days coming soon though, I don’t think anyone does.
After the meal and once the dishes are cleaned, and grandma is happy with where everything was placed, the choice is then for me to either stay and take a nap on the old pink couch with flower designs that they’ve had since before I was a toddler, spend more family time with everyone which ends up to be playing board games with lots gossip, or I can claim your dishes of left overs and head home after making sure to thank everyone, especially grandma and grandpa, for everything.
Easter meal isn’t just a family gathering, it’s a time for everyone to gather and say hello and bring back those connections between each other that seem to break after leaving a family gathering. I see now that grandma and grandpa have found out that getting everyone together for food keeps us all close like a family should be, and the hassle that goes into making all the food and figuring out a date on which everyone can attend and how to keep everyone happy in the end doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all see each other and that we still keep in touch with our family who will always be there for us.