Usually there was such mud in the driveway that it looked like someone had run their fingers through a chocolate pie. Traces of snow lurked in the nearby woods and always a cool breeze blew across the snow to give your nose a tinge of red.
One fine Easter, my mother announced that she wanted to prepare Easter dinner for all her “kids” and “grandkids.” Now that was a monumental statement knowing the size of her kitchen, the kitchen table and the number of chairs needed to accomodate this gathering. She was determined and declared she might wear one of her bonnets she liked to decorate and pop on her head for such an occasion.
The day came and Ma was up at the crack of dawn peeling potatoes and getting the ham ready for the oven. Dad had passed away years earlier and I think Ma kind of wanted the whole gang back in the house again…even for one day. She had an electric stove and running water now..and yes, gulp, even indoor plumbing. After preparing food in the humble entrappings she used when her four kids were growing up, it must have seemed like a walk in the park.
There was one drawback, however. There was still snow on the ground. Snow mixed with mud..so now the chocolate pie looked like it had whipped cream on top. We were to hide Easter eggs. Yes, we would do this. That was part of Easter. So I helped her hide the eggs.
The whole gang slowly came together. Curt, Sylvia with their three offspring: Beryle, Tony, and Angie. Tink and Martha arrived with Mark. Rex and Donna came with their four girls: Julie, Jackie, Jeri, and Janel. The house was filled with kids all bursting to hunt for eggs, dressed in winter coats and knit caps and a few still wearing mittens.
Eggs and candy and all sorts of loot were found with plenty of noise and hoo-rah. Ma never stirred from her dinner making and we “girls” pitched in. Getting everyone around the table would not be too much of a problem if we sat the kids at another table. No problem, Ma declared. She spoke and it was done. The table, so full of food, threatened to buckle. We glanced to the cupboard counter and she had lined up three pies in a row. We ate; we laughed. My two oldest sons, Brian and Gary exchanged looks when they were eating their mashed potato but with a look of my own in their direction, did not mention the lumps. That was their secret joke…Gram’s mashed potatoes tasted great but they referred to it as Gram’s lumpy mashed potatoes. Debbie and Alan behaved. Ma beamed her way through the whole meal and couldn’t understand why we could not eat any pie…at least at the moment.
I will never forget how that meal ended. We all sat gorged, unable to move. Ma got up from the table and said, “Well, I am tired and I am taking a nap. Eat all you want that’s left.”….and she disappeared into her bedroom. We all picked up the food, cleaned up and by the time she got up from her nap, her kitchen was back to “normal”…but there was an awful lot of pie missing.
A side note: After Dad died in 1966, I think the house was very empty for my mother. We started getting together for a “reunion” of sorts each year. We had picnics on the porch, played horse shoes and just plain visited and ate. I am going to post pictures that were taken at one of those “reunions” so you can see the whole gang that Ma loved to have in one place at one time…even though we all lived closeby. The year was 1974. There is a picture of Ma, her kids and spouses; one of her grandsons and one of her granddaughters. She treasured these moments and these pictures. Top Left: Ma(Ethel Martin) First Row l-r: Me (hidden), Curt, Tink, Rex, Joe Cole, his wife Jeannie, Back Row: Sylvia, Martha and Donna
Granddaughters:Front Row l-r: Angela Marie Martin, Janel Martin,Jeri Martin 2nd Row: Jackie Martin, Beryle Martin: Back Row: Debra Jo Dunham, Julie Martin
Grandsons: Front Row l-r: Tony Martin, Mark Martin, Alan Dunham Back Row: Brian Dunham, Gary Dunham
That Easter dinner will always live in my memory, but then, all the times the whole gang got together made for some pretty fantastic memories. The “kids” are all grown now, some with kids of their own. Where have the years gone?
That is why memories were made.