Easter Memories

We had a surprise this Easter–snow.  Anyone that paid attention to the local weather forecast wasn’t too surprised by it since it was forecasted, but it is rather unusual for this part of the world this time of the year.  What was really surprising was the fact that the snow stuck around.  Usually any snow we get this time of year melts as soon as it hits the ground.  Not this one.  We got at least two inches of the white stuff.  It really ticked me off when I got up Monday morning and looked out the window to see the ground still covered in whiteness.

This reminded me of another time when it snowed on Easter.  I was five years old.  My mother and I, my aunt, and my cousin flew to California to visit my uncles, cousins, and my grandfather.  When we left the city it was 70 degrees and sunny.

We were pleased to find similar weather in California.  One afternoon my uncle took us out on a houseboat.  My cousin and I must’ve been eating a lot of bananas, because I can remember my uncle trying to convince us that we were eating so many bananas that we were going to turn into monkeys.  Neither one of us were buying it.

The only thing I can remember about visiting my grandfather was playing outside.  He had a lemon tree in his yard.  I love lemons to this day.  I loved picking a lemon from the tree, biting down on it, and going about my business sucking on the lemon.  I can remember my mom opening the door and yelling, “Take that lemon out of your mouth.  It’s going to eat all of the enamel off your teeth.”

I also remember a cactus in the yard.  I think we were more curious about it than anything else.  I can remember looking it over and examining the cactus needles and breaking a few off with a rock.

Everything was bright and sunny and carefree until our plane touched down on our return trip.  We arrived home in the middle of a snow storm!  We got in the car and headed home only to make it to the Blue Light gas station.  Once there, we were forced to park the car and sit inside the gas station because the road ahead was closed due to a ten-car pile up.

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I have no idea how long we were there.  It may have been a matter of minutes, but to a five year old it felt like eternity.  We were doing nothing but sitting around waiting at this tiny, tiny gas station.  We weren’t the only ones there–there were other stranded travelers waiting as well.

As any child would do in these circumstances, I decided to come up with a way to entertain myself.  My mother was pregnant at the time, and she was far enough along that it was noticeable and there was no hiding it.  I decided to strut around the gas station, stick out my stomach, and proclaim, “Look, Mom.  I’m pregnant.”  Keep in mind that there was a time that these things weren’t as openly talked about as they are now.  Nervously, my mother would quietly but sternly say, “Shhhhhhh!  Be quite.”  My response was to stick my stomach out even more and talk a little louder.

I can’t imagine how relieved my mother must’ve been when a highway patrolman finally took us home.  The only thing I remember about the ride home was getting home and all of the bright lights and equipment inside the car.  It was breathtaking to a five year old.

After our trip, I can remember being asked by a lot of people, “How was your trip to California?”  To my mother’s horror, my answer every time with great excitement was, “We got to ride in a police car!” My mother would then quickly explain the circumstances in which we ended up in the “police car.”  For years, I thought my mother’s quick explanation was because she was disappointed that the highlight of my trip was the ride home.  It took time for me to understand that she had a reputation to protect!

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