A year ago I had two grandchildren, Ezra and Liam. Now I have 9! Three more have been born this year and my eldest son married a wonderful woman with 4 children. We had all but one in town for Easter holiday and we spent three glorious days together around good meals, dying Easter eggs, hunting Easter eggs, laughing hard and loudly, and basking in unexpected sunshine. There was possibly a bit more noise and action than I’m used to so there is some frazzle in the aftermath and certainly some sadness in their leaving.
Kathleen made some amazing food: Easter ham and potato and sweet potato au gratin; fresh green beans and cole slaw with Ging’s amazing boiled dressing, and then the Heavenly Pie. Gingie was the name for Kathleen’s grandmother, given to her by her first grandchild an attempt to say Grandma. Saturday we had our traditional family breakfast: corn meal waffles with melted butter, warmed maple syrup and fresh strawberry puree with whipped cream – a breakfast my sons and I discovered on a trip to Glacier Park twenty five years ago. And one we make every time we get together. Each family has a waffle iron and knows the recipe and the routine. Lori insists we make a cherry pie for at least one meal and I insist on vanilla ice cream to get with it. For breakfast on Saturday when we dyed the eggs we had a brunch of egg casserole, hot link sausages on the griddle and fresh fruit compote.
Did I tell you about the Heavenly Pie? Thick meringue baked to sweet melt-in-your-mouth-crunch and then topped with a small mountain of lemon mousse. This pie is tart to make your salivary glands squirt and sweet to bring you back. The kids were playing in the background of the kitchen cooking scene with a soft rocket toy. You squeeze the handle and the rocket shoots up and hits the ceiling–lots of laughter with each launch. I told one 3-year-old that when she tasted the Heavenly Pie she’d need to watch out she might go into orbit, like a rocket, the pie was so glorious and celestial. She wasn’t sure she wanted to taste it until her father showed her it was alright. More than alright in my book.
The Easter egg hunt included hardboiled and pastel dyed eggs – some from our little flock of 5 hens. There was also a treasure trove of plastic eggs filled with treats – candies of all sorts. We had some other friends for the hunt so there were a lot of kids from 2 to 8 out hunting. I note that not a lot of hard boiled eggs got eaten yesterday. Alas.
Sweets and holidays, family vacation and dessert–how does this family celebrate its loving times together? Like many others I think. We take a break from our restraints and limits. We enjoy these treats as a way to declare our joy of being together – our happiness that we can afford to live it up with a bit of excess and letting go. There is a sweetness in our attitude towards each other – a way to say that the more disciplined life of work and routine is not something that owns us but something we choose – just like we choose to be together and to accept our different political tastes in favor of relishing our uniform appreciation for Ging’s passing these recipes down to us. Like we will pass them down to Liam and Ezra, Lucas Michael and Riley. These things tie us together. Now for 5 generations and more. Joy.