Happy Easter from the Evergreen State which is Washington State (NOT to be confused with Washington D.C. which is the acronym for District of Columbia)!
While watching the final minutes of the movie, Logan, as the main character, Wolverine using his adamantium claws, brute strength and healing power to berserk his way through enemy soldiers to get to his daughter who was being hunted like a dog in a thin forested area, I was reminded of an #Easter memory.
It’s a day in Bayne history as the one “that Los went ALL Wolverine” (or Hulked out, or full-potato or well, you get the picture …) Lemme explain further, and in more detail.
Growing up in the modest city of Mountlake Terrace, my family was lower to middle, middle-class. So while we had money for a roof, food, and clothes, beyond that there really wasn’t much to spend needlessly.
Which meant no extra expenditures on toys! As a child, I had to be resourceful in securing new toys. Well, the City of Mountlake Terrace hosted Easter Day at the Evergreen Playfield Complex. The advertisement I read promised toys, and prizes! Awesome, I thought. I’ll start planning. It ended up more like plotting …
Easter Sunday 1985
Finally, it was the day of reckoning! Er, actually Easter Sunday morning. The highlight of the festivities was the All Ages Easter Egg Race. The baseball field had been divided into spray painted paddocks with plastic wrapped, candied Easter eggs littered on the field.
The age divisions were 0-2, 3-5, 6-8, and so forth. I muscled my way to the front line of my group which was the 1st baseline. I spied my parents were in the bleachers to cheer on their children, as Charrina was in a different paddock than me. I saw on the far-right an official with a starter gun that I’ve seen on Field Day at school.
The rules were simple: Collect as many plastic wrapped candied eggs as you could within your designated area. Any eggs with the red dot sticker on the outside wrapping could be redeemed at the concession stand for a prize / toy. You can add up your red dotted eggs to redeem for bigger and better prizes. There was plenty for all.
So my goal is simplistic: Only eggs with dots. I’ll get candy by other means. Nothing else mattered to me!
I looked down the field. Based on my football experience up to this point in my life, I judged it to be about 40 yards total. The dew on the grass would make it slippery for quick stops and can easily fall. Time is of the essence so I couldn’t afford to fall down. THIS WAS A RACE!
I anticipated most of the kids would fight for the eggs within the first half or at least in sight. I closed my eyes and envisioned what I would do next, just I was taught. I slowed my heavy breathing down to focus. I opened my eyes, prone myself in a runner’s stance, and waited.
BANG! The starter gun is fired.
I sprint down the pathway of grass, completely ignoring the eggs at my little feet. I’m confident the other parents were wondering what the hell I was up to, but my parents knew the first born better than that.
I stopped about halfway, with my standard issued basket I stooped down and rake it across the grass to the nearest cluster of eggs. Then it a half-run, half-scooping motion I made my way to the end. Next, I turned around to survey my work. All eggs captured! I finally started sprinting towards the oncoming kids.
I had a better view of the red dot stickers on the eggs lying on the field. WOLVERINE MODE ACTIVATED.
I rushed into oncoming traffic with no regard to personal safety. If another kid bent down over to snatch it up, I pushed them down. If another child attempted to wander over the spray painted line, I stiff-armed them to the ground, and snatched up the egg. One little girl dressed in her pretty Easter dress was bending over near a red dotted egg, but only picking up the non-stickered egg. Sadly, I pushed her over, to retrieve the red dotted egg.
I re-crossed the 1st baseline to make a bee-line towards the concession stand. I immediately started sorting out the eggs I didn’t want by tossing them over my shoulder back on the field, muttering profanities that would make a sailor blush.
Suddenly, I crashed into a stone-washed jean wall of legs, because I was nose down into my basket. It was my furious father.
“Oh, hey, Dad. Did you see me? I did great!”
My Dad had a very disapproving look on his face. “Yes, Sonny Boy, I watched you from the bleachers. But you didn’t do great.”
I exploded, “WHAT! I don’t care what you say, I did rad job. I’m going to redeem my eggs.” I attempted to step around him.
My Dad blocked my path. “No. No, you’re not. You’re gonna give one red dotted egg to each of the kids you mowed over, and one to your sister.”
“The hell I am,” I retorted while drawing the basket of my coveted eggs towards my chest.
“Give me that basket, son. Right NOW!” he barked.
I stared at him in defiance. “These are my eggs! I got them fair and square!”
“No, you didn’t. And if you don’t surrender them, I will spank you right and now in front of everyone.”
HM, I thought. I’ve called his buff every time which always ended badly for me. I felt the tears welling up, as I begrudgingly handed over my treasure.
Father Knows Best
My Dad counted up the special eggs. He grabbed two, and placed them in my hand. Next, he marched me down to the front of the concession stand and redemption line. He gathered up as many kids that were dirty, and muddy in my age group. He lined them up and placed one egg in each of their hands.
As they passed by me, I apologized for my behavior, by saying a genuine sorry. Finally, I was able to redeem my toy, and Charrina’s as well.
Obviously, Dad was pissed! He drove the family home, and ordered us to our room.
After awhile, Dad slowly opened the door. “Carlos, come on out.” HM, I thought. Dad only says Carlos when I’m in trouble.
I stood up, put down my new Easter toy, and left the room. He put his arm around my shoulder and patted it. “Let’s go for a drive, Sonny Boy.”
We climbed into the family Green Duster. As he drove down the road to an unknown destination, he asked, “What was that earlier this morning?”
I was confused. “What do you mean?”
“Knocking over kids, pushing little girls down. That’s what I mean,” he gripped the steering wheel tighter in attempt to not lose it again on account of my actions.
“I did what was needed. You SAID, a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do. And damnit, I did it!”
“Yes. I saw that. What I wanna know is why did you feel it was needed to do that?”
“I know there’s no extra money in the family checkbook for toys, so I found a chance to get free toys. And I made the most of it.”
He sighed with exasperation. “Thank you for listening to me. However, in civilized society there are certain ways to do things. And what you did wasn’t acceptable.”
“Why,” I exclaimed. “I followed their rules. I did nothing wrong.”
“Sonny Boy, yes you followed the rules but sometimes it goes beyond the letter of law and the spirit of the agreement.”
“What the hell is that?” I inquired.
“I’ll tell ya later, but the point is that greed doesn’t override common courtesy, and respect in our society. Just because you’re bigger, and older, doesn’t entitle you to bully the others. There’ll be others that are bigger and stronger than you who will defend those you’re hurting.”
“Alright, Dad. NO shoving little girls down to the ground to get the prize. Got it,” I paused. “Wait. Where are we going, anyways?”
With a besmirched smile he said, “You’ll see.”
You’ll Find It At Freddie’s
Shortly we arrived at Fred Meyer. He parked the car, and turned the engine off. He put his arm over the front bench seats. “Alright, Son. You’ve learn quite a bit about life today, even for you and your age,” he paused. “You learned to be ambitious but not greedy, about sacrifice without reward, and how to act right.”
I only nodded in acknowledgement.
“And you’re correct, there’s isn’t a ton of extra money in the family coffer, I’m pretty sure there’s enough for a toy. I’m NOT rewarding BAD BEHAVIOR, Sonny Boy. I’m rewarding your life lessons. We’re gonna go into Fred Meyer, and you can pick out one toy of your choice. Sound good?”
I smiled, “Sounds great.” I practically hopped out the car like the Easter Bunny. I picked out a G.I. Joe Action Figure (Snake Eyes to be exact), and Dad gave the cash to purchase it from the clerk rather than him doing the transaction himself.
Reminiscing about it now, I can only imagine the Monday morning water cooler talk at my father’s work …
Co-worker asks, “Hey Charlie, how was your Easter? Get your kids all sugared up on chocolate? How is Charrina and Carlos?”
“Well … my son turned into a honey badger at the city-wide Easter Egg Race for starters.”
In closing, I hope you and your family has a fun, happy yet SAFE Easter.