Before it escapes my mind, I want to tell you about last weekend. My family and I got together for an Easter feast. Yeah, I know, Easter was last weekend, but my little sister (who’s been hosting our Easter shindigs the past few years) was preoccupied that and the past few weekends, and last weekend was the earliest she could host it. Luckily, it wasn’t the weekend before that, for that particular weekend was pretty snowy here in Wisconsin. Matter of fact, Little Sis’ hometown received, according to her, 3 feet of snow from a well-past-winter winter storm that’s actually not unheard of here in Wisconsin but just the same isn’t pleasant to drive in or deal with.
So, how was dinner? It was pretty good by our family’s standards: Hamburgers, bratwurst, and barbecue ribs. Brats and ribs aren’t my thing, so I had the hamburgers, which were well done (Little Sis sure knows how to cook a tasty burger). What did I bring to the to-do? Little Sis had me bring “any kind of desert,” which to me means cake. I didn’t make my own (in)famous “death by chocolate chocolate cake” that I load up with lots of chocolate chips and top it with chocolate frosting. Instead, I went to HyVee and bought a chocolate torte from a local baker. Oh, man, did everyone at the dinner love it. I’m gonna see if I can buy cake like that more often.
So, yeah, the food was good, and it was indeed great to see the family again, and it felt cathartic to tell them about the fruitful and concerning things I’ve been encountering at work. However, the day didn’t seem as fun as I hoped it would be. Virtually the rest of the family spent the time after dinner doing their usual things — playing dominoes, shooting the breeze, talking on Snapchat with their friends (the nieces do that last one) — while I retired to Little Sis’ living room and watched the basketball playoffs on their big screen TV. Which made my joining my family feel not as much something I wanted to do (which it was, let me be clear) as it was something I had to do, as if I was fulfilling a compulsory duty as a son, brother, and uncle. Perhaps our next family to-do won’t feel that way.
One other thing about the get-together: My stepfather was in attendance. Which was good, of course, as he’s continuing to recover from his stroke last December. It would have been a long drive for him, however, and he’s not supposed to drive any relatively long distances as of yet (i.e. no trip longer than 20 minutes), so he tagged along with Sis and her family. But earlier in the morning, he drove 45 minutes or so to a friend of his, almost completely forgetting that he needed to be with family that day. We weren’t so much concerned about his forgetting about our family’s shindig as we were the fact that he was behind the wheel for such a long drive. (“Dad, do you realize you still have an injured brain?!”) I’m not sure if he was being forgetful, obstinate, or both. At least the rest of his body made it to Little Sis’ in one piece; Sis made sure of that by putting him in the back seat of her family’s SUV.
You’re probably thinking, did Dad and I have the chance to talk? Not really, I’m afraid. I did say hello to him as he arrived (Mom and I had arrived about 25 minutes earlier). I’m not sure he acknowledged or recognized me, however. And he didn’t chat with me while were at the dinner table. Dad seemed to be in sort of a mental daze most of the day. He wasn’t cranky in any sense of the word, rather being amused at the stories his granddaughters and their friends were discussing. Has Dad’s stroke changed him? I’m not sure, but he sure seemed eerily different at our family get together.