Growing up, my brother and sister and I were so lucky. Not only did we have parents who took care of us, supported us, and rooted for us, we also had those "like parents" figures. You know the ones, who ask you how you are when you are a teenager and you answer them honestly, instead of the typical "fine" that you give your "real" parents.
The couple I am speaking of, let's just call them the "T's". Captain and Mrs. T were the most fun people I have ever been around. Mrs. T was full of class, sarcasm, and lots of giggles. Captain T was a bit scary to some, but to me he was the BEST. His eyes and smile radiated the room for me, and I called myself the "daughter he never had". They were the family you wished you could be a part of. And lucky for us, they let us be. We were a part of all dinner parties, birthdays, and holidays.
Easter was a special holiday for all of us. My mom always dressed me in some goofy, fancy dress that I hated, with the big bow in my hair. Ugh. I hate all of the photos from these days, but really love them.
Then there was Nana, Captain T's mother. Now she was a hoot. She always had something to say, good or bad but she always gave us homemade gifts and I yearned for those. I secretly always wondered on the way over the T's house, what Nana would give me this year. She was such a special lady and I admired the love she had for her son, Captain T.
I don't remember how it started, but one year Easter came around and it was a beautiful Spring Day. I was twelve years old and Easter dinner with T's, was at our house that year. All of the kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, aunts, uncles, and cousins (man, there were some crazy cousins) from both families were coming to our house.
I looked out the window into the driveway and here comes Captain T with his hands full with what looked like paper grocery bags. As he got closer, I realized he had a bunch of paper baskets in his hands. I said "Captain T, what is this?". He quickly said, "It's your "Easa Baskets"!".
I said, "My what?".
(Remember, I am the youngest child out of the two families and was very spoiled by ALL.)
I quickly smiled to myself and thought Captain T got me a Easter basket too!
Captain T then quickly said, "Go get everyone and bring them into the living room". I said, "Captain T, we don't go in that room you know that" ( you know the room that exists, but you don't know why because you can't step foot in it). He said, "I don't care what your mother says, I need everyone in here".
Side note: Captain T was the man, who every single time he came over for dinner he would rearrange the pictures on the wall. One time my Mom could not find a picture he had moved and she had to call and ask him where he had put it. My mom hated having to admit that he gotten her and his practical joke worked. I would actually secretly watch him to see if I could catch him moving the pictures. I did catch him ONE time. We could never figure out when he did this maneuvering because we did not let him leave our sight, in fear that the house and the furniture would be on the front lawn if he was left unattended. The point to this, is that even in my Mom's house, Captain T ruled the roost and if he said were going in the living room, I said ok.
After squeezing over 20 of us into the living room, he began to call names out. Every single person had a "Easa Basket". Even the ones, who we didn't know were coming. I thought, how did he know that person was coming, if we didn't. (That's one thing I learned from him, always have extras in case you have unexpected visitors.) Not one person was left out and without a "EASA Basket"
As we began to open our Easa Baskets, you can only imagine what was inside. JUNK JUNK JUNK and a little candy or something edible like peanuts. This was the funniest thing. I remember getting lighters that didn't work, a pair of broken glasses, a "Clark Griswold" fake turtle neck, and the list goes on and on. My brother got Cigars and a really old baseball cap. I have a picture of this. I don't think we have ever laughed this hard, EVER. This memory is so funny. The stuff that people opened was crazy. Hemorrhoid Cream, Condoms, Bengay, Chapstick older than me, old toothpaste so old you couldn't open it, dental floss, the list goes on and on.
I never got the chance to ask Captain T, but I am pretty sure he had saved 10 years of junk before he made the first "Easa Baskets"
Captain T is no longer with us, but I got the chance to speak with Mrs T last week and we were laughing about our "Easa Baskets". As we were talking I began to tear up just thinking of those days with family. Family is such a special thing. We may not have known it then, but Captain and Mrs T gave us memories to last a lifetime.
Yesterday, while in the garage. I saw a workman's bench and I asked Aaron where he got it and he said "it was Mr. T's, your dad passed it down to me".
Without hesitation and without looking Aaron in the eyes, I said "It's Captain T to you, mister". Aaron said "Oh, I'm sorry your mom says we have to say Captain". I said, "No, it's Captain to me and you and nothing else. That's the rule.". He smiled. and I smiled. Aaron knows the significance the T's had in my family's life and he likes hearing the stories as much as I like telling them.
The T's hold a special piece of my heart. If you have someone like the T's in your life, take the time to tell them how much you love them and how much you appreciate them. I know I will be calling Mrs. T on Easter this year to wish her a Happy Easa!
Hold on to the memories old and new. Make silly traditions. You never know who's watching and smiling down on you from above.