So lemme’ tell you how my Easter went.
I will begin with back story and foreshadowing, as all great tales. And all Phineas and Ferb episodes; you may insert a wavy filter here, and I warn you fairly—I am straight outta’ the south. We invented the painfully long conversation, and we keep pushing the envelope of their breadth. I am no stranger to the concept of the filibuster.
Last week my sister—I shall call her the middle sister, as it’s the least of the unsavory titles floating around my head that isn’t her actual name—called my mom and said, “Hey. I’d like to get together for Easter this year like we used to; all the family, lunch at the park and hang out. Like old times.”
This a dream for my parents...also unusual on many levels. For 90% of our adult lives, my sister has basically excommunicated our family from her life, only acknowledging us when she needs something or when it’s absolutely necessary; think funeral ‘necessary’.
This isn’t for tragic or sad or legitimate reasons on her part. She just firmly believes that we are backwoods gumps that she is better than in every way. *shrugs* She’s just not always amazing enough to hang out with us without the stink rubbing off. It doesn’t actually bother me that much anymore. I love her, so I am willing to tolerate her superiority complex with only a modicum of eye-rolling.
To her face. It’s entirely possible I was on my knees pulling a Vader scream when I found out she called. But I won’t say one way or the other.
By the by, PSA for those reading this who believe they are better than their family: We know, scrub. You’re not hiding it from us, you’re not being stealthy about it, you’re not being compassionate and forbearing by ‘accepting’ us less enlightened individuals. It is, in fact, likely the other way around. We love you, don’t want to hurt you, can’t afford to write you a reality check, so we take your smug glances and mocking comments like a dagger to the heart; only we pull out the blade, and lay it down, and return it with a hug. So mayhaps you could suck it up and get over yourselves a bit?
Hmm...well, it seems as though I’m not as unbothered by the whole debacle as I thought. C’est la vie.
Regardless, we agreed to middle sister’s suggestion with aplomb—OK, so my parents agreed with aplomb, and I snarled and ranted before agreeing with something which nobody in their right mind would call aplomb—agreed to cook all the food, bring the drinks, meet at the park near her home (an hour drive for us), and all the other niggling details of a picnic in the park. I was, in fact, up until three the night before putting the final touches on the meal. Which isn’t unusual for a holiday because I procrastinate. But it stings this time.
Easter morning I got up early—I got food transport duty/sleeping in duty while my parents went to church—completed my ablutions, and caught a ride to the park with my aunt, who lives next door, and has the tendency to plan everything out and still get there early; it’s a nice counterpoint to my laziness.
However, I forgot my hat. Remembered the bread knife and the cutting board, but my hat is still hanging on the hat hook even now. Mistakes were made.
Because, you see, I am whiter than sour cream and sunburn easier than pecans. If you don’t cook, pecans are basically the nut form of gasoline, so…
Point is, we get to the park my sister requested...and holy monkey farkle; it’s so full of people that Disneyland is going to start taking lessons. After driving the length and breadth of the crowd (it wasn’t so much a park anymore as a living mass of people sprawled on the earth. They were actually lifting our automobile hand-to-hand over head in some parts), we find the only open spot: on the eastern side of the lake, in an area so barren of shade it would probably ignite if someone got too angry and kicked at the ground. It’s not really hard to figure out why the only people there are joggers and walkers.
As another PSA to shirtless jogging peoples: we aren’t laughing with you, Captain Muscles.
Clearly, my unprepared self was going to burn. And so were my parents, from whom I inherited my my skin tone, and so was my grandfather, who at 89 doesn’t really need it, and so was my older sister, who got dragged into the whole affair too. Oddly enough, my aunt was fine; she just doesn’t really sunburn. I can’t explain it.
Mom’s remembered a hat though. How, I don’t know. Maybe she intuited using the mom-force that we weren’t going to have a table in the shade. I didn’t inherit that abilitity; I inherited my dad’s scatter-brain though, who also bears the itchy, pink aftermath branded on his skin.
The elders in my family didn’t seem to mind, since they love middle sister. I did, but I wasn’t going to complain. Because I’m an idiot, is mostly why. It was also partly cloudy, and I’m a hopeful individual.
More problematically, the delicious sammiches I made for lunch are going to be sitting in the sun for awhile. This was, before the walls came down, low on my list of problems. We arrived at the park at 1:56, and the time was set for 2:00. Being who we are, my parents and elder sister arrived at 2:15, but still; fifteen minutes isn’t that bad. We were golden on time. The sammiches would simply have time to meld together.
Middle sister? Well, no sign of her. Not wishing to hand her a loaded gun, we followed Anakin Skywalkers example, and chose the path of patience. It’s a holiday, the weather is OK—bright and sunny. We’ll be patient and wait. She set this whole thing up; she won’t let us down.
Apparently, we forgot how Anakin’s story ended.
At 2:30, she called and asked where we were in the park. See? My spider-sense was going off for no reason. No problems here. A little late, but no problems. We are almost perpetually late, so half an hour is practically on time. We give the location, she says she’s parking, everyone is happy. There’s an open parking spot ten feet away from us. Really, this is going remarkably well.
Until 3:00 rolls around; no sign of my sister, and the food is starting to grow...tepid. Mayo doesn’t do well at tepid temperatures. Keep in mind, we weren’t able to find a covered table—I’m not kidding, the stupid park was zombie-apocalypse/boyband concert crowded—or any shade at all, so we have been sitting in the blazing sunshine for almost an hour now, waiting on her to eat the lunch she asked for.
Now personally, I get grumpy when I get hungry. I get grumpier when I am sunburned and hungry. I was not thinking very Resurrection-day approved thoughts at this time. So we call, just to make sure she didn’t get lost, or forget, or decide to leave.
“Oh,” she responds sprightly. “We decided to walk around the lake. Go ahead and eat without us.”
If my tear ducts hadn’t been burnt, I probably would’ve activated them out of sheer confusion.
Well, thanks for telling us that half an hour ago sis. <3 You’re so thoughtful. It probably says something that no one said anything; we just commenced to eating lunch without her. Thankfully, the sammiches were delicious, if a bit warm. And my roasting body added a nice bacon scent to the air, which is a benefit to being fat no one ever brings up.
Eventually, my sister does appear, boyfriend in tow; no one is upset at her—not even me, really, since my wrath had been placated by a delicious muffaletta—and after pleasantries are exchanged, I ask which sandwich she and her manly love want to eat. The rest of the family is still stuffing their face, like you do at a picnic, but we had made two sammiches, and saved plenty for them. And some banana pudding, and some pimiento cheese, because we wanted plenty of food for everyone, and—
“Oh, I’m good. I don’t want anything; we had a big breakfast.” Her boyfriend echoed the sentiment.
See, now...I’m a little miffed. More than a little, actually. Just so I can clear my head sis, let’s run this through in ranty bulletpoint fashion.
Oh, before that, in case you don’t know: Pimiento cheese is a regional southern dish composed of grated cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimientos, and spices. Sounds horrifying...tastes amazing.
On to the bullet points!
1) You asked us to meet as a family; Wonderful! Until you were an hour late. To the park that is ten minutes from your house. The people who had to drive an hour and a half across a different state got there earlier. I’m not saying...I’m just saying.
2) You asked us to bring the lunch; We didn’t mind. We made restaurant-quality sammiches—and I’m not talking Subway. Think New York deli—of which you didn’t want any. Which hurts, but it’s more aggravating than anything; I won’t deny that my fatty heart leaped at the prospect of left-overs.
3) Even though you knew you weren’t going to eat any of said lunch, you didn’t bother to tell the rest of us waiting for you to eat...for almost an hour. My banana pudding turned into banana souffle. The pimiento cheese turned into mayonnaise-flavored cheese dip. The sammiches were sweaty.
(Not really. It was all still delicious. But this is a rant, not a level-headed assessment.)
4) As the cherry on this little Sundae Funday of sun day, you expect me to believe that the reason you aren’t eating is because whatever breakfast you ate earlier in the day is still keeping you full at almost four in the afternoon. What did you eat? Expanding foam? An entire pig? A sausage and egg effigy of a rhinoceros?
I don’t even. I really don’t. I tried. But I don’t even.
Still. Not like we’re going to start a fight in the park; that’s an arbor day tradition. And on the positive side—yes, I am going to label this as a positive, and I hope no one here will think less of me—this display combined with her not-so-subtle snubbing and usual superciliousness had the effect that we only had to endure another half hour of sitting in the park before we headed home, fake smiles and sincere well wishes all around.
I’d like to know why, but that presumes I would be able to understand. Or that middle sister even knows. Or that she even realizes her behavior wasn’t particularly sterling.
Basically, I am left with comedically pink skin—my eyelids are burned. They crinkle when I blink, I could give Rudolph a run for his money, and I shudder when I think about my scalp peeling in a few days—and no idea what just happened.
Like a train wreck, only the train cars were delicious sammiches and middle sister was the conductor, and the train tracks were Easter day. Only we were tied to the tracks, and middle sister was also the maniacal villain twirling her mustache and chortling as the train hurtled down the tracks to our doom.
Only there was no hero—which, by the by, also fits within the sammich analogy—to save the day.
There is, however, a vengeful, if overweight, cowboy out for justice. Which is an analogy also; you see, I now have plenty of ammunition with which to load my handy dandy, ‘this is why we should just pick up pizza and play board games for every holiday’ laser cannon. And I’ve got Thanksgiving in my sights.
Not even kidding. When Thanksgiving rolls around, you will find me championing the cause of Pepperoni, cheese, and Catan like a 90’s dystopian-future action hero, ripped body and useless headband included. I will shape them into a turkey if it will make anyone feel better.
CRY HAVOC, AND LET SLIP THE DICE OF...well, a fun holiday.