The crisp, Spring air lingers in the tree branches. My eyes squint as I step back to my van, searching for sunglasses. This Easter morning promises a second day of sunshine in a row. I glance around the van for my sunglasses, and quickly pluck them from the overhead sun visor. Slipping them on my face, I turn just in time to watch my children dash away from the van in search of their cousins, Easter eggs, and candy (of course). Smiling, I take a deep breath and recognize the familiar lake air. The lake air hints to dozens of memories. Camping. Fishing. Biking. Swimming. Tubing. Rubber rafts and cattail picking. How do smells transport your brain so quickly?
The van door shuts and awakens me from the past. I remember the play clothes in my hand, and quickly head into Grandma's to help the kids change out of their new Easter clothes. My husband and I corral the kids, change their clothes, and release them again to the backyard with the other Great Grandkids. In the kitchen, plates and plates of delicious food cover every counter top -and two tables. My stomach growls as I secretly snatch a deviled egg and pop it into my mouth. The mustardy yolk squishes between my teeth. Mmmm... Behind me, my aunts and cousins finish putting out the food, and we are ready to eat.
Several plates full of food later, the adults relax at the tables while the kids race past us, through the towering evergreens, and down the hill. I grab my plate, and head back to the house for another round. Through the window, I watch my large family laugh and smile through conversations. I just watch, taking in the moment. Behind me, Grandma walks out from the back bedroom with a garbage bag full of hats. She stops briefly to announce that she'd like to give away Grandpa's hats. I swallow hard thinking that Grandpa still needed those hats, just 2 months ago. I stand frozen, staring out the window. I watch her walk to a small round table just outside. She reaches in, grabs a hat, and lays it on the table. I just stare as a group quickly forms around the table. Some reach in, grab a hat, try one on or toss one onto the person beside them.
A camouflage one.
A bright orange one.
One that boasts, "Fish shutter at the sound of my name." Suddenly, I see my grandpa standing beside his motor home at the campground. I can see him through the campfire smoke -fishing pole in one hand, a cricket bucket dangling from the other, and a much needed hat upon his head.
Now, just outside the window, the hats bounce from head to head before finding a new permanent home. Great grandkids run around, each wearing one of Grandpa's hats. Although large, each hat sits comfortably atop their rolled down ears. Everywhere I look, Grandpa's hats pass by. Every uncle, every cousin, every great grandchild. Although my throat has a knot through it, and my face is drowning in tears -I am delighted by those hats. My heart smiles as Grandpa's hats shade each family member, and I'm reminded that the sun will shine on just as Grandpa's hats will continue their faithful jobs.