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On Easter, a basket full of memories

Gentlemen, start your engines!  Bobby Bressmer, 5,

Gentlemen, start your engines!  Bobby Bressmer, 5, left, on his big-wheels bicycle with block buddy Drew O'Connor, 4, riding a battery-operated motorcycle in 2006 in their version of the Indy 500 at the  dead end in front of Bobby's house. Credit: Tammy O'Connor

Recently, my husband and I put our basement on a cleanse diet. It doesn’t involve strange juice concoctions, just garbage bags. As I sifted through the “holiday section,” I came across a pile of colorful plastic Easter eggs. I’m sure you know the type: they split in half, and you can fill them with sweet surprises. My kids are now young adults, and while I still do Easter baskets, I don’t deal with the eggs anymore. I was never a natural with Pinterest-type creations (and am beyond relieved to have missed the Elf on the Shelf craze) and now I just plop stuff in baskets, and we’re all happy.

As I debated whether to keep or toss the eggs, I found myself involuntarily strolling down memory lane. Those plastic shells provided hours of excitement for my kids and their friends. On days when there was “nothing to do,” I’d hide them, just the empty eggs, and the crew would search, with each success a celebration. It was fun — not only the hunt but the memory of it, too.

Then I became reflective, the eggs taking on metaphorical significance. What can I say — I’m an English teacher; I like metaphor. I considered the variety of “eggs” I’ve got in full view every day, right here in my little town.

See, Long Island gets bad raps, and some of them are deserved. The traffic really is terrible (I recommend podcasts for relief); taxes and cost of living are way too high; for those of us in Western Nassau, our properties are pretty tight (yet we have landscapers — go figure). You can add to the list, I’m sure. Yet, here I stay, and I’d rather collect eggs than complain.

I live on a dead-end spanning about 2½ houses. When I walk out my front door, I find an egg. I see the happy days when my kids and their friends transformed that dead end into a big-wheels racetrack, a chalk-art canvas, and tag territory.

Heading to my favorite deli before the coronavirus hit, I drive past the Floral Park Recreation Center. Opening that egg, I see Little League games and the friendships that formed, adult volleyball games (low talent, high laughs), and my husband dressed up as Santa every year for the tree lighting, rendering little ones wide-eyed when he called them by name.

At my deli, one of my favorite eggs, my specialty sweetened iced-tea order, is never greeted with the eye roll it deserves, at least not to my face! In fact, my initial or name is put on the cup. One guy even used to draw me a picture. I once did the math and realized that during the 30 years I’ve been ordering these iced teas I could have paid a year of college tuition. I suppose my iced teas are the “Faberge” of my eggs. Please don’t judge; I always brown-bag my lunch. Then there are the local haunts on Tulip Avenue, one egg after another, where I’m welcomed as I settle in for a night with friends and lively conversations.

The world is certainly bigger than Floral Park or Long Island, and I hope to see as much of it as I can. Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying my basket of eggs and will soon keep hunting for more. I hope you do the same.

Reader Allison Bressmer lives in Floral Park.

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