The next morning, it was not only Easter Sunday, but it was the last full day of our vacation. We would be flying home bright and early Monday morning.
John and Mary and I awoke early to find three Easter baskets, hidden around the lake house, but no plastic Easter eggs. "I wonder if the Easter Bunny hid the eggs at home," Mary said excitedly. "Maybe there will be eggs for us when we get home!"
I told Mary not to be disappointed if we didn't have eggs waiting for us when we got home and explained to her that the Bunny might not want to hide eggs with Bootsie there. "You're right," Mary said with a laugh. "Bootsie might try to eat the Easter Bunny!"
"Yeah, let's go with that," I nodded.
Not only did we wake up to Easter baskets, but we also woke up to the pollen - a thick layer of fine, yellow pollen that covered everything in sight. Even the screened porch now had a yellow floor, as the pollen had blown through the mesh. It wasn't long before our black dress shoes were yellow as well.
The three of us dressed up in our Easter finery - Mary even wore an Easter bonnet - and went to Lotte and Richard's house for the Easter celebration, at 11:00 a.m.
We arrived about a half an hour ahead of Omi and Opa, which was fine because that gave John and me the opportunity to check in for our flights, pay for our bags, and print our boarding passes on Lotte and Richard's computer. Okay, only Mary and I had to pay for bags; John now has Platinum status on US Airways and no longer has to pay luggage fees. Lucky. It would have been nice if he was traveling home with us, but alas, he still had one more leg left of his whirlwind three-week trip. While we were going home on Monday, John would be traveling to Atlanta.
Omi and Opa arrived around 11:30 and brought with them all of the sides for our Easter lunch. Omi also had a game for all of us to play. As soon as she and Opa were settled, Omi announced that a little bird had left a nest in her car, with plastic eggs inside. Each of us got to reach inside and pull one out; and in each egg, there was money: pocket change, dollar bills, and so on. That was one generous little bird! That same "little bird" also gave Mary an Easter card, with $10 inside of it! Nice!
We had a lovely Easter lunch that afternoon; while we ate, Erika and Bill called, and we passed the phone around the table so that everyone could talk to them. They were getting ready to go to the Guckenburgs' for Easter dinner, later that afternoon, after Erika went to check on Bootsie, to make sure that he didn't eat the Easter Bunny...
Unlike our Easter gathering from two years ago, where we all played tag in the backyard, this year's celebration was much quieter - mainly, because Opa was very tired. He was feeling a little rambunctious at first and even stole Mary's Easter bonnet; but it wasn't long before he needed to go home for a nap.
After Omi and Opa left, John and Mary and I stayed behind at Lotte and Richard's house to visit, and that was when the celebration became much less quiet. Mary had begun to express an interest in playing the clarinet, after hearing that she could join beginning band in the fifth grade - and after learning that I once played the clarinet and that I still had my old marching-band clarinet. Lotte, too, played the clarinet, and was more than happy to pull out her instrument to teach Mary a couple of things. She showed her how to blow into the mouthpiece; she also showed her how to hold the instrument. After some practice, Mary was soon able to blow into the instrument without squeaking; she was producing some very nice tones.
Naturally, they passed the instrument over to me as well. It had been twenty years since I had last picked up my old clarinet, but I still managed to crank out "Hot Cross Buns" from memory, which impressed all. Lotte was already impressed that I had started the clarinet in the sixth grade and played all the way through high school; she had only recently learned how to play.
By the end of the afternoon, it was decided that Mary should definitely enroll in beginning band in the fifth grade, using my old marching clarinet, which would only need a few minor repairs before she could use it. Lotte even gave Mary her beginner's mouthpiece to use, as it would be easier for Mary to use, compared to mine (which, of course, was for more advanced players). Hopefully, we will discover that Mary has innate musical talent!
About two hours later, after Opa's nap, the five of us drove to Omi and Opa's house for dessert. Omi had made a lovely peaches and cream pie that was very light: a perfect complement to our Easter lunch. We stayed and socialized for about an hour and a half; then, it was time for us to say our good-byes. It had been a wonderful vacation, and we had fun visiting with the family; but, of course, it was over too fast.
As we left Omi and Opa's house, Mary gave Opa a very large hug, and he beamed. I could tell that he enjoyed having her there; hopefully, we'll be able to return for another visit before he leaves this world...
Once back at the lake house, we finished packing up our luggage and cleaning up after ourselves, in preparation for our early morning departure. Then, the three of us turned in early, because 3:30 a.m. was going to come up on us fast...
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