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Easter Weekend

2011 April 25
by rob

Today is Easter Monday. The common question is: do you have Easter Monday off of work? The answer: of course not! I did get to enjoy a great long weekend, though, since Friday is a statutory holiday.

I met Janet early on Friday. We mounted her brother’s bike rack to her car, put our bikes on it, picked up my sister (but permitted her to sit inside the car rather than on the bike ride — though that might be pretty fun), and drove to Woodstock.

The weather forecast didn’t look too favourable. Saturday was supposed to be rainy in the morning, so Janet and I went out biking Friday afternoon. The weather was sunny and somewhat warm when we departed. It was our first long bike ride of the season and we were excited!

Getting to Stratford was easy. The 45 km ride took us about two hours to complete. The roads were quiet. The rolling countryside was green and lovely. We were occasionally serenaded by the odour of fresh manure ploughed in the fields.

We took our lunch break on a bench overlooking the lake in the centre of Stratford. I brought a peanut butter and banana sandwich to eat once we got there. Janet polished off some yam soup. I commented that we were halfway done our bike ride. However, since the wind was at our backs on the way to Stratford, we knew it would be harder to get home. Janet remarked that even though we had done half the distance, we had probably only done one-third of the work.

That was an understatement! It was so windy on the way back that it felt like we were constantly struggling to go uphill. The sun hid behind masses of clouds and the going was definitely colder. It took us more than three hours to make the return trip! When we got home, it was all we could do to lie in bed and shiver.

When we awoke on Saturday morning it was raining, as predicted. We made some food and chilled out a bit. The weather in the afternoon was warm and sunny so we went for another bike ride. We were sore from yesterday so we limited our ambitions and just did a circuit around Woodstock. My parents had recently got a bike so my dad came along. It was his first bike ride in many many years! I expected caution from him, but he took off like a rocket and we could barely keep up! We discovered some newly-paved bike trails near Pittock Lake and took a rest stop at the dam, where I got to snap some photos.

At Pittock Dam with Janet and my Dad

At Pittock Dam with Janet and my Dad

Sunday was Easter! Janet and I helped my mom do the last minute preparations for the big Easter brunch. We sliced up and set up platters of meats — many of them with surprises inside: hard boiled eggs, garlic cloves, or stuffing. The table was laden with meats, eggs prepared several ways, different kinds of fresh breads, vegetables (both fresh and pickled), and various dips, mustards, and sauces. Janet wasn’t able to eat most of the things on the table, so we prepared a dish for her, too. The table was decorated with flowers, easter baskets, and eggs decorated by my mom and sister.

Easter Decorations

Easter Decorations

Many people came by for some traditional Polish Easter food: my cousins, my aunts, uncle, and their partners. It was a party! It was only ten in the morning, but vodka and brandy were broken out. We ate for a long time. We drank coffee. We drank more liquor. We laughed and joked. We served desserts (tons of pastries and cakes!). We had more coffee and more liquor. We kept it going for many hours. Fun was had by all.

Do you wonder why Easter is one of my favourite holidays?

Rob Szumlakowski
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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