OK, where were we? I started the Easter Weekend Road Trip and was then caught in one of the never-ending eddies in the space-time continuum. Oh yeah, we were leaving Toms River, NJ, despite not having seen any damn river. Decent doughnuts, though.
There was a quick trip back to the beach, where Number One Son took great delight in throwing anything handed to him into the frigid Atlantic surf.
BUMD: “Hey, son, look at this seashell!”
NOS: “Neat.” (Whoosh, splash.)
BUMD: “Um. Right.”
I was just a little bit late in explaining this to SOBUMD, who walked up to him with a piece of driftwood, “look at this!” (Whoosh, splash.) “Hey…”
Yeah. Be sure you get a receipt before you hand him stuff if you’re near a good place to throw things. Good thing she hadn’t asked him to hold her sunglasses.
Once we were properly beached, it was wheels up for lunch on the way to SOBUMD’s folks’ house in PA. And by lunch, I mean “the entire caloric intake of an extended family of 20 in most of the developing world.” If you’ve never been to Harold’s Deli, and you value your life, stay away. The sandwiches are the size of my ego. My ego, folks.
We’re talking about epic food. Needless to say, it was lunch. And dinner. And breakfast, and some of lunch the following day. Number One Son ordered the “Mini Burger” – so named on the menu. It was only 2 pounds and the size of a dinner plate. He’s still breaking off pieces for lunch, 2 weeks later.
The best part of Harold’s, in addition to a pickle bar the length of the stretch limo you rented for your wedding, was leaving, because we drove past the most tricked out, pimpin’, Solid Gold Rockin’ Quality Inn that you have ever seen. No one in their right mind thinks, “Oh, I know, I’ll design a Quality Inn and make it look like a Vegas casino and whorehouse and convention center all in one!” I don’t know what this was, but I’m sure Quality Inn got a good deal on it when it went under.
I want to stay there some time, just to see if I survive the night.
From there, off to the in-law’s house. When we pulled into Nazareth, I was feeling about half past dead. We got to my in-law’s house, pulled in, and SOBUMD shouted, “She’s here! She’s here!”
I knew we were coming to visit Oma and Opa, as well as SOBUMD’s Aunt Wilma and her favorite cousin (he said, hoping Lynda’s the only one of SOBUMD’s cousins who reads this); we hadn’t known that they were bringing Dandelion Deb with them. I was glad to have more people – we needed help eating Friday’s lunch from Harold’s Deli.
Dandelion Deb is one of those quietly cool people who are *really* funny, but you have to be listening. She’s also serious about her passions, one of which is trying to eat Organic. Now, I’d heard of organic, and some of our food tends to be organic simply because when you’re buying around the Reigning Queen of Pink’s allergies – no corn, no eggs, no dairy, no food dyes, to name a few – you roll an organic label three throws out of five. But it’s not something we’d pursued actively.
Not so Dandelion Deb, who asked about salad: “Have you fertilized your lawn this year?” That answer being Not Yet, I went with her to hand-select and pick the sweetest, juiciest dandelions from the yard, which we proceeded to clean, cook, and pass around the table. In addition to being the best dandelions I’ve ever had, they were really quite good. Needless to say, I was completely atwitter with excitement, contemplating the sheer volume of produce in my yard at home. I’m certain my neighbors share my excitement. Now if I can just find some illegal immigants to pick them for me…
Once again, ales were quaffed, walks were walked – they don’t walk themselves, you know – and plans were laid for a trip to SOBUMD’s brother’s house the following day – where MORE aunts and uncles would appear. It was to be A Gathering. Since it was the day before Easter, it was deemed an Early Easter Gathering. Besides, we needed more help eating Friday’s lunch from Harold’s Deli.
Now, many members of SOBUMDs family are actually reverent and observant and altogether more gentle and gracious than, say, I am. In the face of an Early Easter Gathering, SOBUMD and I determined that the blessed little hellions we’re raising should get a quick primer on behaving themselves.
BUMD: “Guys, if someone says grace, bow your heads and keep your mouths shut if you don’t know the words.”
SOBUMD: “All of you. Just because we’re not very religious doesn’t mean you can be disrespectful.”
HTR: “Why do we worry about this? They already know we don’t say grace before we eat.”
SOBUMD: “Don’t worry about it, we’re going to Hell. Just make sure you do it.”
RQoP: “When are we going??? ‘Cause I need to pack!”
And sure enough, right in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer, just as we got to giving us this day our daily bread, the RQoP pipes up, “BREAD!” at the top of her lungs. Face-psalm!
We retired to SOBUMD’s sister’s house, where cousins bonded over video games and siblings bonded over “No, these are grown up drinks and you can’t have some.” Most of the crew returned the next day following Easter service to continue eating Friday’s lunch from Harold’s Deli. A good time was had by all!
A good time is a good thing, and like all good things this came to an end when we got back on that long lonely highway, following the old yellow line to the Old Dominion and home. And by “lonely highway” I mean cars stacked up for 16 miles waiting to get through the E-Z Pass lanes at the toll plazas.
The Human Tape Recorder was depressed at one point to hear the radio version of Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold.” I had to remind her that we were in fact listening to the radio, and that the rest of society had not yet slipped the bonds of decency and good taste that our family seems to have shrugged out of like Houdini’s friggin’ straightjacket. “Besides,” chimed in Number One Son, “it is Easter Sunday.”
“Bread!” replied the RQoP. Sometimes it’s best not to ask.