Mom lines us by up by height and hands out the baskets.
Ready, set, GO!
Down we go, there are no grown ups here. Down we go, down the rabbit hole, down to the Rec Room. As others in the house, this space will expand if needed: when I turned sixteen, it became an Arabian Nights theme palace.
Big enough then for us five and our friends to play after school but only on rainy days; big enough for spillover crowds for whatever event we happened to be celebrating—sleepovers, teen bashes (the room has convenient dark corners), TV hockey games, royal weddings, Twister, Charades—
…and big enough for an old piano, kept in tune for any sort of musical spontaneity. The piano bench is stuffed with music, some of which we wished we could have practiced back then, rather than hundreds of scales for looming Conservatory exams—a singsong here was just as likely as one around the baby grand upstairs. A stranger wandering into this space might leave an hour later and still not be done exploring the wood-panelled walls of neatly stacked paperbacks and tins of old toys.
On another wall, storied collages of all our wonky haircuts and ugly tween phases; there for all of our dates that made it down to this space to ponder. Perhaps they’d concentrate instead on the old black and whites of generations with the same smile.
Over the beam is an oar my great Uncle Bill brought home, after winning a silver medal from the 1924 Paris Olympics. Paintings, bird sculptures, macramé hangings, maps, plants and chairs for Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear and several Goldilocks, should they all descend at once—all share the space happily, long before anyone around here ever heard of feng shui. Baby toys in a old playpen and play castles on a little wooden table are just the right height for one grandchild after another, each contributing a personal brand of spectacular mess.
Eggs, hundreds of foiled chocolate, have found their way into all these historic nooks. Find one, open it quick and pop it in your mouth at once. But then your Uncle says,
Are you sure that wasn’t one we missed from last year? Or the year before?
And he winks and you think, it’s ok, it tasted pretty good, surely the Easter bunny only hides fresh eggs?
As for the Easter bunny, he’s wearing his Easter tie, daffodil yellow, to match his partner.
Together, they watch the chaos unfold with little grins.
I’d smile too if I knew my magic never gets old.