Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - April 6, 2018

April fool

Our preparation for our family Easter meal began on Saturday. I had just finished hard-boiling a dozen and a half eggs and setting them in cold water when daughters Mariya and Katie arrived. They walked into the house with a big bouquet of flowers, and immediately set about helping me prepare for our Sunday meal.

While I arranged the flowers into two vases, they set up an assembly line to prepare deviled eggs. Katie rolled them on a bread board to loosen the shells so they were easier to peel. Then Mariya carefully scooped the yolks into a bowl and mashed them with a potato masher. After the addition of mayonnaise, mustard, a bit of sugar and a bit of salt to the yolks, it was time to re-fill the whites.

They tried a spoon, but then decided to put the yolk mixture into a small plastic bag and cut a hole in a corner so they could �pipe� it onto the eggs, much like putting decorative frosting on a cake. After adding sprinkles of paprika, we had two platefuls of eggs.

While watching them made me smile, another "mood adjuster" was the chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. When the eggs were done, we enjoyed warm cookies with milk as a reward for our work. What more could a person ask for?

The always-anticipated signs of spring were everywhere. The yellow buds were popping out on our forsythia bushes and a few bright-red tulips were waving gently in the breeze in our back yard. Our neighbor awakened his lawn mower from hibernation and made a couple of passes around his yard.

When spring break came in March, I became antsy and did some work outside. After cleaning the flower beds around our mailbox, I decided it was time to put the salt back into the garage so it would be ready for duty next winter. It had been sitting on the landing by our front door since we had our first icy weather a few months ago.

But my mood took a bit of a nose dive on Sunday.

I should have known spring might not have arrived in full force. This is Kansas after all! As the morning dawned on Easter Sunday, a dusting of snow began. Soon, small ice pellets added to the wintry mix. A layer of ice formed on our front steps, deck and driveway. The two vehicles we had left outside were covered in a thin coating of ice. And the forsythia and tulips? They looked pretty sad. How fitting that the holiday had fallen on April 1, and I was the April fool.

My heart sank a bit.

I also became aware I was missing family members who are no longer with us. Husband Art said my feelings were legitimate, but he reminded me how lucky we are to have our memories of good times with them. "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened!" he said.

Once I started cleaning and putting away clutter in preparation for our family meal, my blues lifted. I checked out our box of Easter decorations - painted eggs, Easter grass and an assortment of bunnies, chicks and ducks - and put a few things around the house. I filled a vase with milk-chocolate eggs and one of Mom�s small Fostoria dishes with jelly beans. I assembled baskets for Mariya and her fiancee Miriam and Katie and her husband Matt.

Art set about getting the ham ready to put into the oven, peeling potatoes and doing other tasks for our evening meal. He zipped into town to buy a few other items for the Easter baskets. While he was gone, I cleaned and cut strawberries.

The three girls arrived at the appointed time of 5 p.m. Matt wasn't with them as he has been working on his master�s thesis and it was due the next day.

As the potatoes boiled and the smell of ham filled the air, we talked with my sister Gaila and her husband Humberto on a WhatsApp video call to their home in Bolivia.

After, stuffed like the proverbial goose, we sat and chatted. Then I had the kids check out their baskets, which the Easter bunny had filled with a variey of items. I surprised Art, which is hard to do, by giving him a basket filled with jelly beans, chocolate eggs and a DVD of �A Man Called Ove,� which friends Dave and Susan had recommended to us.

After we had recovered a bit, Art served his dessert of pound cake, strawberries and ice cream seasoned with a dash of a coconut liqueur.

Later, after the kids had gone home and Art and I were heading off to bed, I thought about the day. It had begun cold and seemed destined to be somewhat disappointing. But somewhere during its course, things changed. I had been fooled again. While it was cool outside, the day had warmed me greatly.

Left: Katie, left, and Mariya in the midst of their deviled-egg production work. Right: Katie, Gloria, Art, Mariya and Miriam ready to eat. Mariya in the left picture and Art are both "mugging" for the camera.

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