Easter: Just Shut Up and LoveIt was Easter this weekend, and I spent it up in Norfolk, Virginia with my family. Since I don't have a car, I use a form of digitally enabled hitchhiking made possible by Craigslist. Every ride is some sort of adventure. This time I caught a ride with an incredibly kind, stoic grandmother who listened to contemporary country and a CB radio at EXACTLY THE SAME VOLUME the entire ride down. A chain-smoker, my ride and I whiled the time away talking about real estate, the weather, and the god-awful traffic we were quite literally parked in.
There could not have been more traffic outside of the city if Godzilla has appeared at the White House, wearing a turban and breathing anthrax instead of fire.
A tremendous thunderstorm hovered next to the interstate on the drive home. We stared down the heavy setting sun while thick ropes of lightining lashed across the sky just to the right. My driver got noticeably more nervous, rolling up her window and crushing a smoldering butt out, saying "I need a cigarette."
"Don't mind me," she said with forced cheer. "Ever since I got hit by lightning, I get a little nervous during electrical storms."
Everyone's got a story, man -- you just got to talk to people long enough to find out what it is.
My grandmother and I had another fantastic flying carpet ride of a conversation this trip. She is astonishingly sharp for a woman in her early 90's, but the part of her brain that secreted the "don't say that" hormone is loOong gone. It makes conversation really fun, actually, because she's still sharp as a tack, just a little handier with the non-sequiturs. She's mentally quite agile, and really keeps you on your toes.
We sort of talked simultaneously about Easters past and U.S. immigration policy. She reminded me of a lot of great times we had had in years long past, and how much fun she and the rest of the family had putting together Easter baskets for me and my sister.
For many years, I could count on the Easter Bunny aka My Mom to put a yo-yo and a copy of Mad Magazine in my Easter basket.
Another year, my sister and I were given stuffed animals and animal puppets.
Daro, Jess and I used to make tents out of blankets and play circus with stuffed animals. Daro loved to be the elephant and lumber around the room on all fours, which cracked Jess and I up to no end.
One year, we actually raised ducklings and released them into the wild a month or so after Easter. That was the same year I learned that many mother birds actually regurgitate food into their young's mouths during their formative stages. You can see me getting ready to feed the ducklings here:
All of a sudden, we veered over to immigration policy and stayed there for a good while. Daro is the sort of red-blooded American that survived the Depression, sent her husband off to World War II, fought for integration in the schools during the 60's and now listens to Rush Limbaugh and think he's a newscaster. Me, I'm a knee-jerk artsy-fartsy liberal, in case you hadn't noticed.
Nevertheless, we were able to have an intelligent, reasonable and respectful conversation despite the fact that neither of us actually knew what the hell we were talking about.
That's the beauty of my family. We operate on a series of respectuful, delicate fictions, and are able to love each other so dearly partially because we have entire areas of experience that we never, ever discuss. It always amazes me how we can be so close and know so little about each other -- it's an act of blind faith that gets rewarded every time we greet each other with a great big hug, and I never want to completely understand it. Some things you got to just accept as awesome without ever monkeying around under the hood, and that's even coming from a deep-thinking self-conscious liberal.