47 Cakes

Happy Birthday!  Is it?!!!  It’s quite basically an obligation to feel good.

I had to wish someone happy birthday today.  He is about my age, and I hope he didn’t give a crap if I said it or not.  He probably didn’t want me to acknowledge it, but since I work with him on a daily basis, it’s better to be on the safe side of the cake.

My birthday always felt like Thanksgiving. That’s what it really was.  Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday and my birthday transformed it to a relatively easy Thanksgiving for my mother. German chocolate cake, and shake and bake chicken for everyone.  Wish granted.

Growing up as a hillbilly, we didn’t have parties.  We didn’t have ho downs  We had two cows, Ferdinand and Issabella, sniffing at our screen door waiting for their dessert. As the youngest of 13, the only rule was to wait for the candles to ignite and then blow them out to defuse the potential catastrophe.

Don’t get me wrong.  Or, maybe you can. There’s nothing wrong with taking an adventure to Sir Charles of the Cheddar Cheese Factory or dry heaving to the smell of dirty socks on your birthday.  Just don’t invite me.  The last one spent with Chucky was for one of my many nephews, Quinn.  Someone invited to the party was a neighbor who had her nose recently bitten off by a dog.  She was a foul and angry cuss.  The party guest, not the dog.  (That’s not funny.  That’s not funny at all.)  Actually, it was a little funny because she showed up to the party wearing a costume….according to the other guests who thought they missed that memo.  Fully recovered from the injury, it did leave scars.  The doctors replaced her nose with a clown like prosthetic.  It was a chunk of flesh they took from her hind side.  That’s not funny either.  However, this not being the merriest of neighbors, she would lecture the dog daily about staying out of their yard.  She did it in such a fashion which eventually would lead to her nose’s demise and embarrassment.   Ultimately, after the settlement, she was furnished with a new house, a car and a dose of vanity.  One guest at the party walked up to her and, unknowingly, said in the dimmed lights of Chucky Cheese’s palace for hungover adults, “I didn’t know this was a costume party”.  She thought the victim was dressed as a clown.  According to my brother and I, evidently, clowns can make you chuckle.

I was invited to many of these parties only costing me fifty dollars a pop donated to a child I didn’t even know.  Crappy pizza, flat beer, and awkward conversations with the guy dressed up as a mouse wishing me to pour a beer down his dirty costume was just downright uncomfortable.

I feel sorry for the guy who is turning 47 today, because it will be the fourth birthday he must celebrate this year with his two children and wife.  All he wants for his birthday is a nice dinner at a decent restaurant.  He never gets to choose where this restaurant is, because his wife can veto any of his choices, resulting with them going a restaurant of her choice.  Poor bastard.

It’s his birthday penance.  He told me once he personally suffered during his own B-Day party at the age of ten.  He had an uninvited brother, age 8, sneaking into his special party.  After embarrassing his brother with insults and “get the hell out of my party, you twerp.  Scram!!”  in front of his friends, my friend was beckoned by his father to join him upstairs for a private meeting of the buns.  He was wailed on 10 times, and then told he would be the age of 50 if he didn’t welcome his younger brother to participate with kindness and respect.  End of story.  As the youngest of 13 children, I never was surrounded by this environment.  My older siblings were too busy eating and drinking their presents to even acknowledge my presence.

The last birthday I thoroughly didn’t enjoy took part in a classroom.  My middle school students, their parents, and other relatives decided to interrupt our class by surprising me with a party.  No beer, just cookies, soda, cake and students too strung out on glucose crack to participate with further lessons.  It did teach me a lesson.  Never tell a middle school student which day your birthday lands on the calendar.  If you wish to torture a fellow teacher, tell one of his or her students that tomorrow is his or her birthday, even if it isn’t.  They will never forgive you, which was my plan in the first place.  I paid my dues.  Let them pony up as well.  Mayhem results and spite usually conquers all.

Happy Birthday….even it’s belated, or early….even better!

My next complaint will be to the editor.  It is with regards to the Lord of all Sins: Surprises.



The Blessed Virgin Meltdown

Fight-before-christmas-publicity-photoFondue and my sister Mary … a combination both annual and epic.  Mary would invite the neighborhood to her Christmas Eve party, leaving the guests with a sense they should have left left before the damn, or water, was breaking.

Christmas Eve, for me, was the best of holidays, with the exception of Thanksgiving.  My brothers and I would show up to Mary’s catered event, with first class service from Sister Mary,  knowing we would eat and drink well.  We were never disappointed.

We also knew when to properly leave.  My brothers, Tom, Greg and I could smell the fondue turn when it was time to leave.  It must have been limburger cheese.  The event began with Mary welcoming you into her abode with deviled eggs and a beer before you crossed her porch rug reading, “Proceed with caution.”  The devil?  Eggs?  Beer?  What could go wrong?

It only took us, Mary’s  brothers, two hours to consume the appetizers, beer, and atmosphere.  All of which were terrific.  The younger generation would follow without extreme caution.  We knew better when it was time to leave.

FondueMuch like limburger cheese, Greg, Tom and I could smell that fondue melting.  Chairs were tipped over, plates were falling on the floor or being flung across rooms.  I don’t know what it’s like to be cremated, but my brothers and I witnessed Mary’s first layer of skin drooping from her once jovial face.  Now, it was transforming to a grimace.  Sorry, Mary, but we must get going.  “Good! You better leave before I have to kick these other assholes out of my house.  I’m ready to take a flame thrower to this place!”

We’d exit peacefully and look forward to her annual call the next day explaining why the devil wore an ugly sweater that night.  We didn’t care.  We loved it, and we loved her.

Mary Christmas.


The Over Under

The over under for a cat’s life span is 32. For those gambling simpletons, the over under is a bet you place on a team when you think the combined score of a game may be above the total points or below.  Simply stated, it’s also referred to as desperation.  It’s a lose lose situation.

Cats gamblingI took the under, and my wife took the over.  Not being a gambling man, and my wife, a former blackjack dealer, I should have known better than to go against her judgement.  Our cat was purchased the day before Christmas and will most certainly live beyond his black fur and many many many Christmases.

I’ll most likely outlive my wife.  It’s my punishment or burden…the cross I bear.  Our black cat, Otis, will be chuckling when I place my wife in a pine box filled with coffee, cat nip and the latest version of cat food advertising a rash free diet.  As a healthy reminder for your wallet, none of that expensive crap cures a damn thing.

Yours Truly,

Benjamin B. Davenport

Phone calls and Chocolate

Will you go with me?   Those were the five most romantic words many would hear, write or say when growing up in Smokane, Washington.  What did it mean?  Well, when in the 5th grade, I guess it meant you had exclusive rights to senseless and meaningless conversations with this person when school was over for the day.  Ninety nine percent of the couples acted like they didn’t even like each other.  I guess that was solid foreshadowing for marriage.

Stuck in traffic, on her way back from her new job as a weight calibrator for Big 5 Sporting Goods, my wife and I were talking on the phone.  Yes, she was hands free.  Since it was her first day on the job, we were going to celebrate that night.  So, I did something I never did when we were friends in junior high.  I asked her to go with me.  Of course, she asked where I wanted to go, so I had to remind her of our childhood days when people would ask others to go with one another, meaning go steady with one another.  Initially, she said she’d have to think about it, but when I told her I was cooking one of her favorite dishes, creamy parmesan chicken, she said yes.  It then came to her attention that I never asked her to go with me when we were in the 8th grade.  One, I just thought it was stupid, and two, our phone at home was only used for my guy friends and my father when he’d come home from work.  That line would remain free because he was the first called when the business he worked for had a break in.  Their security system, Sonitrol, would call dad before they would call the police.  Anyone on our phone phone would soon hang up before he entered the door.  We even used teamwork to keep the old man happy.  I would be close to the door where I could still see the ballgame and picture window at the same time when he’d arrive.  Tom would be in the upstairs kitchen guzzling milk from the carton, and Greg would be on the phone in the kitchen talking to either a girlfriend or guy pal.  Upon arrival, I’d shout to Tom, “The old man’s home!”, and Tom would give the hand signal to Greg who would quickly hang up so we could give the old man a proper greeting.  So, any chance I’d have to talk to Britt, who had her own phone in her room, would have to be at school.  It presented a minor, yet significant challenge to our relationship.

Even though in the eighth grade we weren’t, legally,  a couple, everyone knew we were steady.  It wasn’t until she broke up with me that same year that I finally found out we were actually a couple.  That took a whole new wheel off our wagon, and it would become a different story altogether…a story I will bore you with on a different day.

On the long commute home, Britt asked me if I ever went with someone before her.  Sadly, my answer was yes.  In the 5th grade, I befriended a girl during recess.  Although it was innocent, we still had to hide our innocence from the recess Nazis.  You know, the old stay at home motherly bags abusing their power because they wore paper mach’e badges.  No swearing.  (now referring to Cool Hand Luke) That’s a night in the box.  No fighting.  That’s a night in the box.  No spitting.  That’s a night in the box.  No kissing.  That’s a night in the box.  No winking.  That’s a night in the box.  Oh boy, did they love having that power.  I was once sent to the principal’s office for spitting while playing baseball during recess.  Thank the Lord we had a reasonably smart principal or warden.  When I admitted guilt regarding the crime I committed, he quickly rolled his eyes and told me to get back to the ball field and only spit when they aren’t watching you hit home runs.  We both laughed and I knew he had larger issues to deal with as did I with this girl.

This friend of mine, Shelby, was very nice, smart and also funny.  Three terrific qualities.  I think she felt the same about me.  However, she was a bit more mature than me.  I thought we could have fun hanging out on recess, but only as friends.  Not so fast.  During reading class, while I had finished my school work early, I was busy reading one of the classics……..Mad Magazine, when I was handed a note looking like it had come from the office containing a chocolate bar.  The note also contained a message reading, “Will you go with me?  Signed by Shelby.  I wanted to answer no to the question, but I also wanted to eat that bar of chocolate more than one of my mother’s delightful rice crispy treats.  Therefore, how could I feel good about myself by answering no? So, ignorantly, I answered yes and gobbled up that delicious treat like a crow on a peanut.  I guess I had a girlfriend. (Looking back in intelligent retrospect, I should have answered no, ate the chocolate and went to confession admitting my guilt and saying ten Hail Marys.  Sin forgiven.  Isn’t Catholicism sensational?)

Shelby had her own phone and now wished to call my home.  When a girl calls a boy at our house, sirens blare and brotherly and sisterly vultures swarm your presence.  Nothing but awkwardness.  She did call twice. The first was during dinner, so I had a legitimate excuse to end the call quickly.  The second one was a little more interesting.  I answered the phone, wishing it wasn’t her, with a not so suave, “Hello”.   It was Shelby,  and the first sentence she uttered was, “I heard you broke up with me.”  Now, that day, being very uncomfortable “going with” someone,  I had mentioned to a guy friend I was probably going to break up with Shelby.  Evidently, this person I confided in gave her the grave news before I could.  So, when confronted on the phone by Shelby, meekly, I said, “Yeah.  Is that ok?.  Thankfully, she was cool about it.  No tears, no screaming, just a simple, “Ok.  See you tomorrow.”  It was that easy.  (Why can’t divorces be this easy?)

We remained only friends even through high school and I was even invited to her wedding years later.  Just like in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, when the townspeople were leery of the relationship the Hunchback had with the gypsy girl, Quasimodo, said with an uneasy and defensive tone, “Twas the gypsy girl, she gave me water.”,  I could, properly, during that 5th grade relationship with Shelby,  say, “Twas the gypsy girl, she gave me chocolate.”

Over and out.

Thank This

Everyone hold each others’ sweaty hands.  We must give thanks and pray.  blachch…

All of you will have your turn at the table to release your souls and “out loud” tell us all what you are most thankful for this evening.

Gravy!  No.  Good gravy.  That’s all I’ve got.

Start thinking about it.  You only have a couple weeks to go before Thanksgiving judgment day.  I’m ready.

I’m thankful for paper towels.  I keep them with me, especially on Thanksgiving, like a man carrying his gun in his holster.  Spills will fly and herbs and spices will be splattered.  Since I am cooking here, that’s what I’m thankful for this evening.   I don’t care about the drunk uncle telling terrible stories at the child’s table.  I’m not thankful for him.  That may have been me a time or two.  I’m also thankful for my wife who is a septic inspector.  Not a fun job, but she has to earn the meals I provide her.

Fully loaded for Thanksgiving.  That turkey will pay for his sins.

Profanity Diner

My brother, Greg, can make anyone blush.  It’s usually in a diner when others are eating biscuits and gravy or a six pack of pancakes loaded with every diabetic’s dream.

He also deals with reality, and at this point in my life, I’m grateful he does.

Years ago, he met a girlfriend of mine in a diner.  I was also there with my brother, Tom.  He was primarily there for the coffee and steak and eggs.  Greg was there to evaluate.  I was merely in the diner to introduce them to this odd girl they’d never met.  My date at the time had a name.  I can’t quite recall it.  I do remember her profession.  She helped impound repossessed cars.  What’s wrong with that?  I was merely a teacher repossessing and impounding students, so I thought we had a great deal in common.  My brother, Greg, frowned upon her as though she was just another one of those dirt diggers, hoping to get whatever money I didn’t have and place it in her filthy back drawers.  According to Greg, she wasn’t up to snuff.  It was then when I asked Greg to give her a chance.  Tom had a mouthful of food.  Greg had a mouthful of advice.  After speaking to this girl for almost five minutes, he turned to me and said, in his loudest of diner voices, “If you f–k, this up,  I will kick the living s–t out of you!”  People turned their heads at how vocal he was,  appalled by his profanity.  Greg was just recognizing her intelligence, beauty, wit, charm and sense of humor all in those five minutes.  I wouldn’t say it was his most charming of moments, but it did stick to me like Greg’s gorilla glue always did.

I took his threat into consideration and asked her out for another date, this time without my brothers.  She decided, upon my brother’s advice, she would accept, only because she didn’t wish me to get the s–t beat out of me.

I finally figured out the girl’s name and she later became Vice President of a local repossession dealership in Seattle. Britt and I have been happily married for the last 12 years and I haven’t had any s–t kicked out of me.

These days,Greg frequents diners working for tips or free bacon while giving other couples solid advice.  Most of those customers end up properly divorced.  We were two of the lucky ones.

Tom gave up coffee for smoked trout and hikes.

All is well.

Diner Jokes

Jokes piss me off.  I don’t care if they are profanity laced or offensive, I just find them to be a nuisance.  I don’t enjoy someone embarrassing themselves when laughter doesn’t follow, and I have the second worst fake laugh in the world.  My wife owns the number one spot in this category.

While visiting a local diner for brunch with my extended family,  we were accosted (that’s a little strong) how about assaulted not once, twice, but thrice by a bartender honing his lack of skills for the comedy club.

We were celebrating my wife’s grandmother’s 91st birthday and enjoying listening to her nostalgia filled with wonderful stories of her past.  Enjoying ourselves while preparing to order, a bartender (the only table available was located next to the bar) interrupted our collective conversation with attempting to provide our table with the gift of laughter.  A tad rude, but no big deal.  Once he began speaking, I diverted my eyes, because I could smell a joke coming which would probably be just as cheap as the dirty napkins at our table.  Sit directly in front of him, he gave most of the attention to my wife.  Now, that made me chuckle.   She has a exceptional sense of humor but also doesn’t care for jokes.  This was terrific for me,  because I knew she would be forced into busting out her outrageously ridiculous phony laugh.  That would and did make me chuckle.  Looking at me with distain, she turned her attention back to the mindless King of Comedy.  He delivered properly.  It was a wildly lame joke.  Insert wife’s fake laugh.  Her grandmothers stared at him and didn’t laugh, smile, or frown, even though she did think it was a bit odd.  She couldn’t hear a word of the joke anyway.  My mother in law laughed, because she is a very kind soul, and I think she enjoys corny and unoriginal jokes with no clever swagger at all.  I think that’s great.  We’re just different.

There was no harm done and when he completed embarrassing himself, we returned to our peaceful conversations.  Two minutes later, hop along joke dealer two graced himself  again for a second dose of pain.  Strike two.  That’s where I was a little annoyed.   Same scenario, similar crappy joke, and priceless fake laughter.  My father in law,  one the finest and nicest people I know, looked like he wanted to physically 86 the bartender from his own place.  Again, it ended without bloodshed, so all remained well.

I won’t bore you with next joke encounter of the third kind except for the fact my wife flashed me a look of “don’t” when she knew I was going say something like, “why don’t you take your colossally stupid jokes outside and make someone else miserable out on the deck instead of torturing us?”  Instead, I resorted to an eye and head roll.  My eye and head rolls are those of legend.  You can see me performing these rolls from different zip codes.  I think the jokester caught mine and did not return to our table.  End of Chapter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor.  Some people think it’s little too dry.  That’s fine.  It is all subjective. And, I don’t expect others to have the same.  My wife and I are Seinfeld people, while others may have love the well deserved beloved Mash.  Both considered comedically magnificent in their own individual rights.  Mash just isn’t our style.

Let’s make this a little more colorful.  I believe it’s important in relationships to share certain things, one of which being a similar sense of humor.  I’m not saying it’s critical, but to me and my wife, important. I melt when I hear her genuine laughter whether I am providing the laughter or not.  Hell, I don’t even mind when she laughs at me.  I’m  extremely adept at doing stupid things or perhaps dancing when I shouldn’t.  My wife and I have known each other since we were 13 years old.  We made each other laugh then, and after a bit of a glitch, are still together today, laughing each day when we wake up and before we fall asleep.  But, let’s imagine a hypothetical situation.  It’s the year 2008.  I don’t know her and we are both at a bar, and I notice an empty chair next to her.  Although she looks dirty from working on an oil rig, I see beyond the dirt and the filth and approach her while she is paying attention to two television broadcasts.  One, is a Seattle Mariner baseball game and the other is CNN.  CNN is in the middle of its entertainment segment.  Upon reaching the bar to order a beer, I turn her and say, “Did you know the Seattle Mariners are a Major League Baseball team?”  My eyes would read that I was ridiculing their deplorable organization.  That would guarantee me a chuckle earning me that seat next to her.  I would then have her turn her attention to CNN, and I would say, “Do you see that guy Donald Trump right there?  He’s going to end up being President of the United States one dark day.”  That would earn me belly laughter and a date for Friday night.

I guess the joke’s on her.


Hitching Post 77

Picking up hitch hikers is something my wife and I don’t ordinarily do.  In fact, after almost ten years of marriage, this was our first time.  I’d never personally picked one up myself and neither had she.  The only hitch hiker I shared a ride with was in in the 1970’s when my father picked one up while a man was thumbing a ride across the State Line of Idaho, a place where no one was thought to be crazy.  I was six, and my two older brothers in the backseat were ten and twelve.  My father was in his fifties driving with an open beer in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.   We were all in prime condition for hands on combat with a wandering weirdo.  Hand to knife?  No.  Hand to gun?  Negative.  I guess it turned out ok, because my father was a pretty good judge of character and maintained faith in the Lord.  Those were the odds my father held in his favor when potentially picking up a stranger with lethal weapons.  Are there any other kind these days?  Well,  I’m still here to write about this bold memory, and my wife are I are here cozily tossing and turning with the puppy who was there with us for our first hitcher.

Trying to locate a Veterinary clinic on a secluded island, our global positioning system went on the fritz, so we resulted to the ancient art of prayer to help us find our way.  Perhaps God’s GPS wasn’t working that day either, or He was teaching us a lesson for not attending church the week prior……or the week before that, or the week before that,  or on Easter and Christmas.  We were lost on a land with twisted roads surrounded by a sea of angry waves and AARP drowning victims.  We knew the majority of the island’s inhabitants were between the ages of sixty five and one hundred.

Our dog in the back was scratching her head trying to help us find our way.  She also had a terrible earache.  Seconds felt like hours before we saw a man gimping down the road in front of us with his arm straighten to the left and a thumb in the air.  We drove past him before my wife, the driver, felt a wave of island guilt pass within her after glancing in the rear view mirror.  Looking at me, she asked, “Should we pick him up?”

I responded, with befuddled fashion, “Seriously?”

She then began to tell me how she knew I had good judgement regarding these situations as though I drove around the streets of any city U.S.A. looking for hitch hikers with the sixth sense of knowing if I’d be hijacked or successfully helping a fellow man requiring assistance.  She also thought I’d get that warm feeling wondering if I’d be brutally murdered by a fellow citizen of the street.

I looked back and noticed he was an older man somewhere between 65 and 90.  He was also wearing a University of Virginia Tech (Home of the Fighting Hokies) sweatshirt screaming out, “Would a man wearing  a Va. Tech pull over ever be capable of killing a wife, her husband along with their stupid dog?  People, I implore you!”

Loving the fact my wife held such confidence in me, while shrewdly passing the guilt to me, I told her to turn around and we’ll pick him up.  She also stated it was my ass who would be held responsible for making the wrong decision.

Before allowing him into the car, my wife asked him where he was headed and then asked if he trusted us.  Trusted us?!!  What the hell was she talking about? Do we trust him seemed more appropriate.  I simply said, “Go Hokies” thinking this may break the wind, and ease any ideas he may have regarding causing harm to us.  Ultimately, he did trust us, and we trusted him.

Not only did this 77 year old gentleman, who had missed his bus ride back to town just three miles away, guide us to the Vet clinic, he then provided specific instructions to a little known breakfast spot only the native islanders knew.  We were both grateful and starving.

After bidding one another adieu, he vanished after crossing the street and my wife looked at me and said, “I guess I was right.”  It’s still a mystery to me if she was talking about herself or her right hand man potentially making the correct or colossally stupid decision. Letting that go, our dog’s ear was well taken care of and our bellies were eventually full.


Cinnamon Rolls and Chili

Brown bagging was my roll.  However, suffering from PB and J after four straight days, I could then use those sandwiches as currency when someone in the cafeteria placed a corndog in front of me.  Working it properly, I said if they tossed in a homemade cookie, it would seal the deal.

My older sisters and brothers grew up without brown bags.  They developed a hankering for cinnamon, chili, mashed potatoes with gravy and pizza from the lunch ladies pre-dating the ones dropping cigarette ashes in the plum pudding.

After lunch, my siblings would drop their cell phones, I phones, I pods, and I can’t read or  write without my own pods, (none of which existed at that time) and burn those cafeteria calories on the playground.




Easter (The Holiday Trinity)

In the spirit of resurrection, I thought I’d resurrect this piece from Easter 2014.  It only took me five years.  – Ben Gannon


I’m going Holy on my readers’ butts today.  Don’t change that website.  Not to worry, there will be no preaching.  That’s not my style.
As many of you know, this week is considered Holy Week for those believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Looking back upon my Catholic upbringing, believe it or not, I enjoyed this week, concluding with Easter Sunday, more than Christmas. Palm Sunday is where it all begins.  Unlike Christmas when it is traditional for some to unwrap one gift on Christmas Eve, you receive a gift on Sunday, a full week before Easter proper.  The congregation meets outside for a prayer and all parishioners are given a palm representing the greeting Jews provided Jesus when he arrived in Jerusalem.  According to the bible, they waved them like banners at a ballgame, then respectfully laid them on the ground before him like a green carpet while he began his journey to crucification.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to provide anymore misinformation regarding the bible and I’m certainly not becoming a Catholic Missionary.  These are just fond memories when I actually learned and appreciated the finer points of attending mass.

Faithfully, I showed up and participated for over thirty years without missing a Sunday, even while we were on vacation, and even more miraculous, when I attended college at Washington State University.  This was especially miraculous because my father and mother weren’t there to force me to go.  Prayer and tithing, even if tithing consisted of a two for one Burger King Whopper discount coupon, were the only two reasons I graduated from a University annually placed in the top ten list of the nation’s leading party schools. (Quite a dubious honor.)  One of my roommates was Catholic, so we would attend Saturday evening mass and then proceed to defile ourselves until two or three in the morning.  I digress.  Let’s get back to this Holy Week.

Once you receive your palm, you enter the church and proceed to follow along with the same readings you have heard the last ten years of your life.  However, it was simple to avoid the Sunday Snooze because you held this palm in your hand.  Traditionally, you and your brothers and sisters would spend the next hour in the pew fashioning a cross from the palm’s strips.  It was a fun competition to see who could create the finest cross someone could die upon.  Mine would commonly turn out looking like the letter X draped with seaweed.  Even Jesus would have taken exception to carrying this thing around.  “Uhh, yeah, I don’t mean to complain, that’s really not in my nature to do so, but is it possible I die on something a little more…..well, cross like instead of cross eyed?  Great.  Thanks.”  Those crosses, mangled or not would adorn our mantle for the year.  They would then be burned and used as ashes for Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the same day one is asked to give up something significant, like beer, for forty days.  This made Easter Sunday, the day Lent ends, especially sacred for the adults who tackled this forty day sacrifice. After Palm Sunday Mass, you then began thinking about Easter Sunday and the hunt.

Before Easter Sunday, there is slight speed bump referred to as Good Friday.  This is the day Christians commemorate the passion, or suffering, of His death on the cross.  Didn’t seem so good to me.  As a youngster, I didn’t understand the Holy Day’s name, and I am still a bit confused.  After Good Friday has passed, you picture Easter Eggs so big they’d make ostrich eggs look like gall stones.  One more day of planning your strategic backyard hunting scheme.  This was basically how I could outwit my two older brothers.  Stay as far away from them as possible. That was my only hope.  They were bonafide egg thieves.

I loved the hunt almost as much as the deviled eggs mom would fabricate shortly after.  As for the Easter Bunny, I never believed in that crap.  I didn’t want to.  Since we were coloring the eggs, I figured it out pretty quickly.  Mom and Dad would never let some creepy rabbit in our house to gather our eggs and hide them in our backyard.  If a large bipedal rabbit did enter our house, one of my brothers, having a midnight snack, would grab a shotgun and go Elmer Fudd on that rabbit’s ass.  The only rabbits in our house were made out of chocolate.  For my brother, Tom, those chocolate rabbits had to be solid.  As our resident chocoholic, Tom refused to eat the ones which were hollowed out of bounds.  That was too chocolate ghetto for him. This is also followed by a feast which would include ham, turkey and all the necessary fixings.  We had mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, fruit salad, stuffing, and I need to stop, because I am now feeling Catholic guilt and shame remembering so many other families in our humble neighborhood who didn’t have the means for this.  Crap.  Thanks Catholicism.

Now, if you think about it, to solidify my point, I felt like this was the trinity of holidays.  It wasn’t just the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit, Amen.  It was Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one.  There were gifts, there was a phony character called the Easter Bunny, there was an enormous feast, there was family, and there was Sunday Mass where Deviled Eggs were dancing in your skull.  Can you want or wish for anything more?  Yes, you can. Once you grow old enough to be the one hiding the eggs, rather than hunting for them (always a proud moment for the youngest in the family), you realize how fun and satisfying it is to hold the hand of the youngest niece or nephew helping them find enough eggs to rival their elders.  We always tried to keep the competition fairly equal to avoid any tears.  There will be NO crying on Easter!  You know why?  BECAUSE THERE’S NO CRYING ON EASTER!  (Thanks, Tom Hanks.) All these children were so wildly happy…..and all just to find a few eggs.

Ultimately, when you grow to investigate the true meaning, or story if you wish, it is as inspirational of a story one can read and disbelieve, read and question, or read and believe.  I choose to believe.  It gives you hope when you are down.  It gives you faith when you have fallen.  It gives you the genuine will necessary when your life seems to have spiraled out of control and you feel lost and thus beaten.  But, then, you ponder this story and think, “For crying out loud, this dude rose from the dead!  I think I can get off this dirty floor before the count of ten and keep fighting for a better life for myself and others.”  Or, you may just find that your head is up your ass for an unusually large amount of time.  If that occurs, think about the Resurrection of Jesus, grab a great big wad of your hair, if you still have some, and pull your head out.  Maybe, just maybe, that’s what Easter is all about.

Happy Easter

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