First my dear friends, Happy Easter to all of you!
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
I hope all of you had a beautiful day. For my family, we celebrated with what has become a custom here. Now, our family is relatively young. By that I mean the four of us — my wife, kids, and me. No, we’ve started to develop our own “family” traditions over the past almost-seven years of our marriage. These include struggling our way through Holy Week, trying to find confessions for Mommy and Daddy to get to that don’t involve three hour lines; planning to dye eggs; breaking the garbage disposal when Baby Girl “shells” five dozen eggs and shoves the shells down the wrong drain. All kidding aside, we have one tradition that is no different than any other family’s Easter morning tradition. We checked out our baskets! They were filled with all good things. My wife, the most thoughtful human alive (many of my readers who know her will verify this though she would be embarrassed at me writing it) had planned everything out perfectly. It’s taken Daddy several years and my gift-giving skills are somewhat lacking. I always have the best of intentions but never seem to know exactly what to get the person in question. But my wife has rubbed off on me. Even in my state of recovery where I am not at 100% of my full strength I was able to join in and assist in the filling of those baskets. We do things a bit differently. Sure we do the whole candy thing. Mrs. H. knows me so well. No jelly beans for Harvey. Not a huge fan. Chocolate (the darker the better) for me! For her, I have this little tradition of my own. I remember on one of our first dates we stood on line at a checkout in a supermarket and she spotted a Chunky bar. She mentioned how it was her favorite candy bar. Well, anytime since then that there’s a gift involving candy, guess what Harvey’s go-to candy for his wife is?
But we like to fill the baskets with small gifts. I checked with my wife the other day while her mom and I were out shopping. I wanted to know, in all honesty because I HATE gift-giving inequality, what our limit was. Having found out it wasn’t a huge limit I stopped in at a religious articles store downtown and picked out a new biography of Pope John Paul the Great. It looked interesting and I know she lies biographies. Plus, he’s being canonized next week so it might be good spiritual reading. I hope she likes it. For Baby Girl I picked out a small chocolate bunny that came with faux fur rabbit ears. She wore them all day! For Sonny Boy Mommy had purchased one of those styrofoam airplane gliders. He had fun with it all day. Daddy’s basket contained an enormous bag of my favorite coffee (Dunkin’ Donuts) and a few other goodies. I should note that at this point it seemed that we had stuck to the limit and played it evenly. I was very happy with that. Oh I would lavish my wife with the best of everything if I wasn’t a Catholic school teacher and she didn’t love giving more than receiving, thus making it hard to be in a gift exchange with her. Jewelry, flowers, you name it. If I had the money, she’d be one lucky woman. I LOVE to give gifts.
Oddly, when we went to dig in to our candy, my wife pointed out that there was one more present in Daddy’s basket. It was a giant cardboard egg, decorated very fancifully. I rolled my eyes a bit, smiled at my wife, and said “What is this?” I opened it as she was saying: “Don’t worry, Daddy, it’s really for Baby Girl but you’ll see why you’re opening it.” So I opened it and discovered two tickets. There’s a road production of Beauty and the Beast playing in Dallas this week. Looks like Daddy’s got a date with the cutest little girl in town! When I talk about how thoughtful my wife is I need to point out that she knows well my love of musical theater. I was seven when my big sister Nurse M. (trying to avoid real names but she is an RN) took her baby brother to see his first Broadway show. I was captivated. Some people like the movies, others read books for fun. Growing up a stone’s throw from Mid-town Manhattan, I took to the theater as often as I could growing up. There’s just something magical about sitting in a dark theater with live actors on a stage. You feel so intimate with them. You know that each performance is new and fresh. And of course, as a lover of live music and a musician myself, I have great appreciation for the sound. There’s nothing like that sound wafting from the pit. I could go on… No, this Tuesday, thanks to Mommy, Daddy and Baby Girl are going to experience what I hope will become a most memorable moment in her life.
The rest of the day revolved around the tradition I mentioned earlier. This tradition is one for the larger family, at least the larger family down here. My family in New Jersey has a lot of tradition and maybe one day we’ll be able to participate in some of those. But we are blessed to be where we are and being surrounded by such wonderful people as Wilma and Mary (Wilma’s sister-in-law) and Mary’s husband Sam, Lisa, Pat, Kris, and the rest I have always felt at home here as well. So Easter here, we have dinner at my wife’s brother and sister-in-law’s house. We had a riotous laugh. My wife’s sister always organizes a “white elephant” sort of gag-gift game. All of the adults have to go out to the front lawn and find as many plastic eggs as we can. Some of the eggs have a dollar bill in them. Some have coupons. But most have slips of paper with a number. That’s when the real fun begins.
Ed. note: I began writing this on Easter Sunday night. I stepped away for a bit, fell asleep, and am finally getting back to it two days later.
OK, so those eggs? Long story short, Kris called out a number (in sequence) and the person with that number got to choose a new prize or take from someone else. The thing is the prizes were all from the dollar store (or from Kris’ recent trip to New York). Guess who wound up with an NYC subway map (like I don’t know that system like the back of my hand), a wooden back-scratcher, and a package of mouse traps. Lucky, lucky me. But we all had a good time. My wife’s aunts Marybeth and Santa Mae were sitting next to me on the couch and we could not stop laughing at each other and the awful things we kept ending up with. Santa traded me some coupons to Arby’s that she “won”. In the end it was all just good fun. Thanks, Kris!
So what’s up with jealousy and admiration. I’ve mentioned lately my friendship with a man named Dan. Over the past three weeks, through our voracious emails to each other — which, though they could fill a book that would instantly become a bestseller will remain completely private — we have recognized (and some people including my blogging sister Bridget will shake her head and say “That’s gay) that we are not merely friends. We are brothers. We first met in a very strange place called a college seminary. I’ve mentioned that we lost touch for a while but got back together. I wanted to say first that I wholeheartedly admire this man. He’s told me it’s mutual. I won’t go into details but he’s a great husband and father, a magnificent provider, and had he become a priest he would have made an excellent confessor.
And he just got a new phone. And I hate him for it. HAHAHA!
All kidding aside, being the wannabe technophile that I am I am the only loser on the block still using a 4S. Those of you who do not use smart phones or still have a pain old 4 should not comment on this post (again, kidding). No, he’s using a new Galaxy S5. Oooh… What really “hurts” is that I just found out that my septuagenarian mother recently upgraded her iPhone to the 5S! Seriously? What the hell? Loser Harvey, left behind again…
No, in all seriousness, my wife has helped me to see over the years the true value of not wasting money. I don’t need a new phone. This one works just fine, albeit a bit slow since the new operating system came along. In all truth it would be an absolute waste of money to drop (even with my upgrade discount) $200 on a new iPhone; especially when I’m not even sure if I want the new iPhone or what Dan has. And no, it wouldn’t be just because he has it but because I’ve been hearing great things about it. There are people in my life who seem to run out and buy the newest tech-y thing the second it comes out. I would be one of them if I had the cash. Ha. Reality check, though… I don’t think Dan is one of those types. I do however remember visiting him a long time ago. Let’s go all the way back to… 2001! Ancient! I remember him playing with his then-new phone. He was all excited. It was something like a Palm Pilot or a Treo or something now considered beyond obsolete. It wasn’t quite the brick phone of the 1980′s but it was a close rival. I’ll never forget him looking through the instructions and saying to his wife “Oh my God, honey, I can use this as a remote for the TV!” She rolled her eyes and he took thirty minutes trying to find the right code to enter.
Here’s the kicker. When he texted the other night to tell me about the new phone he remarked: “This thing is so cool! I can control the TV with it!”
Some things never change. Love you, buddy.
PS: Please keep praying for me. My
intentions are my continued recovery and a bunch of special intentions. Thanks!