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I’m checkin’ my eyelids fer holes.

April 29, 2014

On Easter this year my family and close friends chipped in a couple dishes each so my mother wouldn’t have to do everything. Before lunch everybody gathered in the kitchen — except my father, who sought respite in his recliner. My trophy husband Ryan followed him into the living room and focused on one of two topics my father gets excited about: giving my mother grief for her financial “prowess.”

“And let me tell you,” I overheard Daddy say, “Those Wages women are expensive. You can tell them a lot but you can’t tell them much.”

I grimaced, knowing I’d get shit for that later.

Daddy holds his Easter basket, appropriately covered in camouflage fabric.

Daddy holds his Easter basket, appropriately covered in camouflage fabric.

Ryan claims the feast consisted of “hillbilly fatty foods,” such as pineapple au gratin (pineapple chunks baked with butter, crushed-up Ritz crackers, and shredded cheddar), canned black-eyed peas swimming in various oils, and cheesy collard greens. To be clear, Ryan inhaled a heaping plate-full.

Immediately upon finishing his meal at around 1:30 p.m., Daddy retired to bed. While our guests continued picking at leftovers, I slinked down the hall and spread out next to him as the Military Channel blared.

“Daddy, what are you doing?”

“I’m checkin’ my eyelids fer holes. I’m on the left eye right now.”

“Have you found any?”

“Not yet.”

“Cool, I guess I’ll see you later.”

I could have been patient like Ryan and posed the same questions I always ask about Vietnam or silently lain there, but instead I hustled back to the dining room where the conversation easily flowed. After dessert long had ended and we remained at the table sipping coffee in a stuffed stupor, my father silently traipsed past us. I followed him into the kitchen to find him snacking on slabs of ham.

“Mmm, this is good,” he smacked. “Bye.”

He skulked back down the hall licking his hammy fingers without acknowledging anyone — like I did as a 14-year-old, disinterested in my parents’ dinner chatter with their friends.

Before leaving I wandered around the yard admiring the mini botanical garden Mother has labored over for decades. The Coreopsis bloomed bright orange; deep pink blossoms dangled from the Bleeding Heart; I ogled the thick Solomon Seal, a section of which she dug up for me to plant in my own flowerbed. How ironic that the exterior of my childhood home bursts with color and hearty green stalks and leaves, but it’s always winter indoors.

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