We celebrated Easter at my parent’s home. We began the festivities with a wonderful meal prepared by my mother. As is typical with meals my mother prepares, during it we were subjected to comments from her about how everything tasted merely ok or fell short somehow. And we all finished the bites we were chewing with pleasure and said, “What are you talking about? This is fantastic.” Or, “I love these collards! What’s the recipe?” Or, “The meat is so tender and flavorful. How long did you cook it?” Eventually, we just mumbled something affirmative or remained silent so as to continue shoveling the delicious food into our mouths. If we are pressed, we might be able to find only one fault with my mother’s cooking. Sometimes the food is not steaming hot by the time we eat it, though it is when it’s served. We must be entertaining for Matthew (who doesn’t share this aberration) to observe as we mill about uselessly when the food is laid out buffet-style ready to be served. We stand around expectantly but nobody fills their plates. Eventually my mother looks around at us as she is putting the finishing touches on gravy or some other condiment and says exasperatedly, “Fix your plates,” and we finally jump to action. So, yeah, the food might lose a bit of heat during that interminable time when we stand around like a bunch of fools chattering to each other.

We have an Easter tradition that involves racing items that typically rely less on skill for the win than they do on sheer happenstance. Prizes are awarded to race winners and a good time is had by all. Past racing items have included wind-up toys that make you want to cry as you determine after you have picked them in the blind selection system that they are reverse movers or move forward and then crush your soul with a last minute shift to the left/right. This year my parents decided to make the race a little more skill-based, so we raced remote-controlled cars with a trophy waiting at the finish line for the winner of the race. I had a bum car and, I can only assume, a devilish, teeny tiny little driver in there who overrode all my remote commands, so I didn’t place in the race. You may call me a lying liar, but those are the facts. My daughter had some luck with the car, but she was bested by her uncle because he is a cold-hearted man who couldn’t let his niece winMy dad had a slow and steady approach that was no match for my son’s blistering speeds. My mother did not get to participate in the practice heats, and I suspect that my devil driver snuck into her car to run her heat. As such, she was similarly unsuccessful. The race for the championship was between Greg and JT, and it was a hotly contested battle. Ultimately, my son won the race. He was a humble winner (HAH!) and enjoyed the trophy ceremony at which he thankfully did NOT make a speech.

We rounded out the day with a “friendly” ping pong tournament. The weather was fair (inside), the concessions were reasonably-priced (read: free) and delicious, and the fans were tolerable. I won’t mention that Matthew had left to go home and let out the pooch who was probably crossing her legs in the crate hoping desperately that someone would be home RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW I HAVE TO PEE. And I won’t mention that Matthew is possibly as good as my mother. I don’t know if we have established a clear winner between the two of them. I will say that we had a bunch of good ping pong players represented that day, and I managed to best two of ’em and was handily beaten by my mother in the final round. She’s got skilz.

All photos taken by my brother Greg. You can find his work at Bluegoo Studios.

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