Retirement week 18 slowin’ down victoriaadvocate.com gas efficient suv 2013

The night before Easter morning, Daddy always helped us prepare our “nests” for the Easter bunny. The nest was a round circle of different grasses and we topped the nest off with pretty wildflowers and wrote a note to the bunny. We would then come inside and dye eggs for fun (we didn’t know those eggs would be left by the “bunny” the next morning).

On Easter morning we had beautiful baskets filled with candy and a few small little gifts that the bunny left. We would take all the goodies out and then hunt all the eggs left by bunny. What a wonderful time we had. Except one year, when a neighbor’s dog ate all the eggs and we couldn’t find any. Daddy talked about that dog eating the eggs every Easter and how mad he was about it.

As we got older and was married with children, we always celebrated Easter lunch with Mom and Dad. Dad always barbecued and we had all the trimmings. As a special surprise, Mom would often have a big pot of stuffed grape leaves to go with it. Then, after lunch, we had the big easter egg hunt for all ten grandchildren. Many times, we had additional children and families too. All the eggs were filled with money and candy and we had one golden egg with a ten or twenty dollar bill. WOW, every one of them wanted to find the “golden egg.”

We alternate Easters now when we can. My house is a good fit because I have such a large yard and there’s plenty of room to hunt the eggs. Plus, I have fun stuff in my back yard like swings, a hammock and my see saw set Daddy welded for my fifth birthday. Sometimes my brother, George, hosts Easter and it’s fun at his house too. We haven’t celebrated Easter as a big family the last two years though and I really missed it this year. Last year we celebrated Easter in Dallas because my son-in-law was baptized, confirmed and made his first communion in the Catholic Church in Frisco, Texas. This year, Julie wasn’t able to come and with Danny’s issues, I just wasn’t up to all the work and cooking again with half of my children and grandchildren not in attendance.

We were invited to celebrate Passover with our son, Todd and his lovely wife, Dany and our three beautiful grandchildren Tal, Gabi and Ori. They all stay so busy between work and Tal’s softball and the boys baseball, it’s a treat to share a meal and afternoon with them. So, next Easter we’ll celebrate at my house again once I get past the Thanksgiving celebration.

Although we fought as kids with each other, we knew we’d get in trouble with Daddy for fighting. In our day, spanking was always allowed if you did something you weren’t supposed to. My Daddy was huge on family, coming from such a large family himself. There were nine surviving children, with one dying during World War II. My Dad was a true war hero, having survived a German prison camp for two years.

He received many medals, including the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service. He told me many times the story of his liberation and ultimately coming home. He said my grandmother aka “Sitie” made him sleep in bed with her the first few months he came home because he only weighed 90 pounds and she was afraid of him dying during the night.

As a mother to a wonderful and amazing son, I totally get that. If my son survived prison camp for two years and he came home in that condition, my protective instincts would kick in too. All his brothers and sisters stayed very closely connected their entire lives by visiting each other on holidays by “making the rounds” to everyone’s house.

The last of my Dad’s family, Edward Ganem, turned 90 on April 8th! He shares the same birthday as Danny’s mother, so I always know when their birthday is. I was in Dallas and couldn’t make the party but it was such a milestone and was sad I couldn’t make it. I do plan on being at his party for his 91st though!

He’s the baby of Dad’s brothers and sisters and he’s still doing so great. What a blessing for his children to have him these many years. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my Dad and my Mom. Uncle Eddie is a pistol though. He’s still very active, looks great, has a tremendous humor and each time I look at him, I see my Dad. The older Uncle Eddie gets the more he reminds me of Daddy.

School through the VOE program, then during college and then full time when I decided a degree was not for me. I worked for him for many years and I’m quite sure I gave him a lot of grief, but I was family and the Ganems are all about family. Just ask any one of them. I had job security without a doubt.