Spring is playing a very good game of hide and seek, too good. Flurries and gray clouds give way to some shiny rays, but being outside--is still--not fun. Puffy winter clothes lay claim to the closet, instead of proper burial in the basement. This month, Sprinter measures our patience. It's good to know that 2 sure signs of spring do exist: the beginning of baseball, and the presence of Peeps.
The beginning of baseball season is filled with hope and promise, from T-ball to major league baseball, which opens Sunday night, March 31, coincidentally on Easter. Twelve opening day games begin on April 1. Baseball appreciation and Cubs fanhood runs deep from my husband to my sons. Both boys have played since they were little. Now, Trevor plays shortstop, like his dad, and just bought a new bat and infield glove. But he also has returned the new mitt, fixed the broken one, and bought yet another glove. Sadly, eight of his varsity high school games have been canceled because of Sprinter. The team has not yet practiced on the field. Oh, to have the warmth of Florida and California...
Also, because of Sprinter, Grandpa and Trevor couldn't enjoy the outdoors yesterday, so they stayed inside and looked at photos "back in the day."
There were pictures of his WWII 8th Air Force bomber B-17 crew and photos of dad pheasant hunting at age 17 with his father. My mom read a magazine filled with beautiful images of Easter flowers. She read poems about Jesus out loud with expression.
After visiting Grandma and Grandpa it was time for batting cage practice for a $10 all-you-can-hit spring break special for 3 hours. Plus, Chicago Red Hots for $2 at the indoor cafe.
While we endure another day of Chicagoland Sprinter, Trevor's brother, Austin, basks in the desert heat wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. He and my husband are cheering on the Cubs at 8 spring training games in Arizona. Pilgrimage to the Cactus League has always been on their bucket list. They are having a blast.
True harbingers of spring--baseball, and its culinary companion, the hot dog, are surely all-American. Another symbol of spring is the beady-eyed Peep. The inaudible chirping of this iconic edible is a shot gun start to a 5K. Let the stuffing of Easter baskets begin! America's cue to indulge begins with the springtime marketing of marshmallows, and, perhaps, preserves America's obsession with sugar.
There's no doubt that rows of the squishy chicks peek out from aisles everywhere, and you love 'em or hate 'em. I find that fighting off this perky assault is not easy. I fell victim to the Peeps sugary cuteness. I plunked down money for it as I have for many years. I enjoy filling Easter baskets with candy and inspirational books for my loved ones. It is a family tradition.
Now that Austin is 18, I was sure he didn't need an Easter basket. He'll have enough fun viewing the Grand Canyon. When I mentioned this, he stared back sheepishly, his blue eyes pleading with a gaze no mother could resist. (He really does want one.) And he will get one, just like he has every Easter for the last 17 years. And this year, Grandpa will get his favorite black jelly beans. (Yes, there is somebody who picks out the licorice ones.)
I look forward to Easter. It represents the fantastic significance of Christ rising from the tomb, my family's deep appreciation of his ultimately sweet gift of grace and incredible love for us.
I look forward to spring, a blissful change from brutal winter. And all the fun with baskets brimming with chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and egg hunts? Joy-filled, sure, but secondary to me. Today's cultural celebration of new beginnings results from fertility goddess worship in very ancient times. And the bunny story? I've read that it comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers of the 1700s, who retold the tale of an egg-toting rabbit from their German ancestors. The two springtime celebrations have been combined into one for centuries.
What are you looking forward to this Sunday?