After we finished our discussion with Graham, and the movie the boys were watching had ended, we sent them upstairs to get ready for bed. When we went up to tuck them in, Revin had something he wanted to tell us.
“I had fun makin’ the Easter eggs. I’ve never done that before, but I liked doin’ it.”
“I’ll make sure to tell Grandpa Josh then, because it was his idea,” I agreed.
When Brandon and I went downstairs after saying goodnight to each of the boys, we immediately began getting ready for Easter morning. We’d be waking the boys a little earlier than usual so they’d have time to find their Easter baskets and the Easter eggs before we headed to church, and we got busy hiding those things now.
Before we could do that, however, Brandon and I had to put together the Easter baskets for our sons, while Dion and Trey did the same for their two. We utilized the candy and other items Brandon and Trey had purchased the previous day, and then Brandon and Trey hid the Easter baskets while Dion and I hid the eggs. We made sure each basket had one of the boy’s names attached to it so they’d get the correct one, because there were a couple of extra items in each one that we’d added for that particular boy. Once those things had been taken care, the four of us said goodnight to Dad, Pop, and the others and turned in as well.
The next morning we got the boys up at 7:30 so they could claim their Easter baskets and find the eggs. Ryan and Noah weren’t totally with it just yet, so they told the other boys that if they spotted their Easter basket to bring it to them and they’d give them a dollar later. The other boys didn’t mind doing that, since they’d already be scouring the first floor looking for their Easter basket, and they might even pick up an extra buck in the process.
While the boys were racing around the downstairs, Dad and Pop started getting things ready to make breakfast, and before long some of the others began emerging from their rooms and joining us as well. It seems the boys were making enough noise looking for those items that it woke the others up, but they weren’t upset. They merely joined us in watching the enthusiastic antics of our sons as they searched for the hidden surprises.
Once they found the Easter eggs, we had the boys put them back in the cartoons to make sure they found them all. We didn’t want to miss one and then have our noses find it later, after it began to rot. Besides, anyone who wanted to eat one of the hard boiled eggs were welcome to them, so this way they were all in one place when anyone was so inclined.
Once each of the boys had their Easter baskets and all of the eggs had been found, we told the boys they’d have to wait until later before they could eat any of the candy. They didn’t put up too much of a fuss about that, and then we all went in to have breakfast together.
As soon as we finished eating, everyone began to get ready for church. We would all be attending, although we’d have to take several vehicles to get there. We’d also be meeting up with some of the others who lived locally, and then they’d follow us back to the house once the service ended so they could have Easter dinner with us.
Brandon and the boys went with me to pick up Becky. As soon as she got in the SUV, Revin began telling her about what he’d done the previous day and this morning. “I got to color some of the Easter eggs yesterday with Grandpa Josh, and this mornin’ I had to hunt for my Easter basket and some of the eggs.”
Becky raised her eyebrows when she heard this, and then she looked at us. “The Easter bunny must have got confused then, because he left an Easter basket for you at our house too.”
“Oh, goody, I get two Easter baskets this time.”
“Maybe you could share some of the candy you got at their house with the other boys then,” his mom suggested.
“But they got their own Easter baskets,” Revin reasoned. He obviously didn’t want to share his good fortune.
“You don’t have to give it all to them, maybe just give half of it to them, or maybe you could share it with Dr. Currie and Dr. O’Hara.”
“Yeah, they can have some of my candy, and Grandpa Josh and Grandpa Jake too, cuz they’re all really nice to me.”
That seemed to placate Becky’s fears that Revin would eat too much candy, and we were soon at the church and heading inside. On the way to our class we introduce her to Pat and Tori, and then we introduced her to Graham, Sammy, and Andrew next.”
“I hope I can remember all of your names,” she said as she greeted them.
“Don’t worry about it. They’ll let you know if you get it wrong, and you’ll be meeting a lot more people before the day is over, but we’ll wait and introduce you to the others when we get to the house.”
I was sure her head was spinning as we sat down and waited for the class to begin.
After the class ended, I offered an explanation to Becky about the situation with the Easter baskets. “We couldn’t very well have our sons find their Easter baskets and have Revin disappointed about not having one.”
“Yes, I understand, and I should have talked to you about it in advance, since I knew he’d be with you on Easter morning.”
“We’ll know better next time,” I agreed, and then we went to find the others so we could all sit together for the sermon. We ran into Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally along the way, so I thought I’d handle that situation now.
“Becky, let me introduce you to three of our very closest friends. This is Steve and Mary Shay and this is Sally Swarthout. Uncle Steve is a judge and he’s handled many of the adoptions for us, and Aunt Sally is the head of D.S.S. and has helped us find some of the boys. Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally this is Becky Kramer, and you will meet her son, Revin, when we get to the house. He and Tristan have become very good friends.”
The four of them chatted briefly, and then we had to take our seats for the service. Our extended family occupied nearly three full pews as we settled in to listen to today’s homily.
It was another lengthy service, which was to be expected seeing the minister had a great deal to remind us about on this very special day. As soon as the minister led us in the closing prayer and we’d uttered our final amen, we hurried outside so we could get to the house first. We wanted to be there when the others arrived so we could introduce them to Becky, one car full at a time.
Once we arrived home, Dad asked Ryan and Noah to help Dion and Trey set up a banquet table in the living room and another in the foyer, because we’d need them today.
“Should we set up any of the card tables?” Noah asked.
“No, I think there will be enough room at the dining room and the two banquet tables so we won’t need any of the card tables this time.”
While they were doing that, Brandon and I welcomed everyone as they arrived, and we had Becky stay with us. We also asked the boys to lend a hand, and they took everyone’s coat and hung it in the closet in the family room.
Over the course of the next half hour, we introduced Becky to Kevin and Vinnie, Jessie, Cole and Beth, Dustin and Katie, and Richard. Even though it seemed like a large group to her, we explained that there were many more who wouldn’t be attending today.
“I don’t know how you guys do it and are still kind enough to invite Revin and me to join you.”
“It’s because you’re part of our family now too,” I stated, which earned me a hug.
“You’re too much,” she said as she released me.
Everyone milled around in the various rooms chatting and catching up with each other until Dad announced it was time to eat. Everyone then took their place at one of the tables, with the adults in the dining room and living room, while the boys gathered around the table in the foyer. Before we started to eat, however, Pat asked Dad if he could say something.
“I think you’ve all met Tori by now,” he said as he looked around the room. “The reason we came here today is because we wish to make an announcement. I’ve told some of you already that I proposed to Tori on New Year’s Day and she accepted, and we’ve now set a date and made the appropriate reservations for the wedding. We’re going to get married in Pittsburgh on August 18th and you’re all invited to join us. You’ll also be getting an official invitation in the mail, but we wanted to also ask you in person.”
“So you’re getting married on Dad’s birthday?” Dustin followed.
“Yes, I thought of that when we chose a date, and since the entire family will be there I thought we could also celebrate his birthday at the reception. Tori thought it was a good idea as well.”
“Wow, that’s going to be one wild day,” Kevin observed. “I hope you reserved a big hall for the reception.”
“Yes, it will handle up to 250 people, so there should be enough room for both of our families and friends. I just want you to R.S.V.P. as soon as possible, because I’m also going to reserve entire floors of the hotel that’s near the church and reception sites to make it easy on all of you.”
“And I’ll make it even easier,” Dad offered. “I’ll charter a bus for everyone living in the area so we won’t have to drive so many vehicles. Just let me know if you’re interested in doing that.”
“When would it leave and when would it return?” Kevin wanted to know. “That way I can let Jeff know so he can be in charge of the pharmacy while I’m gone.”
“If the bus leaves at 8:00 on Saturday morning, we’ll have plenty of time to get to Pittsburgh before the wedding. We’ll leave Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon so we’ll be back early enough that you’ll have a chance to get ready for work the next day.”
“Ok, that sounds good,” Kevin agreed, and then Dad offered a brief prayer before we began to eat.
Each table had plenty of food for those sitting there, and we all gorged ourselves before we finished and pushed away from the tables. Throughout the meal various individuals got up and walked over to Pat and Tori so they could congratulate them, so it turned out to be a double celebration.
“Thank you for inviting me. That was a wonderful meal,” Becky said as we were leaving the table. “I don’t think I could have ever done that well fixing a meal, even if it was for only a tenth of the people you have here.”
“Dad and his helpers have had plenty of practice over the years and they’ve patented the process,” I replied. “If you liked today, then you will love it when you join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
“It was amazing,” she gushed, “and I can’t believe you’re inviting us to join you when you’ll be having even more people than you have here today.”
“Yes, as I said you’re part of the family now, so we expect you to come.”
“Ok, and if those meals are half as good as today I know I’ll enjoy them.”
“And we’re not done yet. In an hour or so we’ll have dessert.”
“I’m not sure I have room left for dessert,” she stated while looking horrified at the thought of eating more.
“That’s why we wait a while first,” I confessed. “It gives what we’ve just eaten a chance to settle so there will be room for more.”
“I see, so maybe I’ll have enough room for a small portion.”
In the interim, Becky had a chance to chat with some of the others and got to know them better, while the family members also became acquainted with her. She attempted to keep an eye on Revin at the same time, but he was busy racing about with the other boys, so sometimes he was out of her view.
“I hope you don’t have a problem with Revin running around the house with the other boys,” she stated looking concerned.
“Of course not. He knows his way around and he’s not the only one doing it, so he’s fine. Don’t worry about him and just enjoy yourself.”
She seemed to relax a little after that and had some very in depth conversations with the others. She had a chance to learn a little about each of them, and they learned more about her and Revin as well, and that continued until it was time for dessert.
“You have two choices,” Dad announced after calling us back to the tables, “so just let me know which one you’d prefer. I made a pineapple upside down cake and a cherry cake with cream cheese frosting.”
The boys all opted for the cherry cake, along with some of our brothers, but most of the adults preferred the pineapple upside down cake.
“I haven’t had this in ages,” Becky said after she took her first bite. “My mother used to make it on special occasions, and this is just as wonderful as she used to make.”
“I’ll let Dad know you enjoyed it.”
“Yes, tell him he did a great job with everything today. I’ll try to tell him myself, but with so many people here I’m afraid I might not get a chance to do that.”
“I’ll do it for you, just in case you don’t have an opportunity to tell him personally.”
Shortly after we finished our desserts, some of our guests decided it was time for them to leave, since they had a long trip home. Pat and Tori were the first to depart.
“Thanks for joining us and sharing your great news,” Dad told them as they were getting ready to leave.
“Thanks for having us,” Tori replied. “The meal was wonderful and I had a great time.”
“I’m glad you did and I look forward to dancing with you at the reception.”
“I look forward to that too.”
The rest of us took turns congratulating them again, as well as saying goodbye, and each of us promised to let them know if we’d be able to attend their nuptials.
“You’ve given us enough notice that even Frankie should be able to take time off so he can be there as well,” Dad stated.
“Good, because we hope every member of this family can attend.”
“Just don’t forget to warn the Pittsburgh riot squad to be ready for us,” Dion teased.
“I’m sure they’ll be on high alert,” Tori joked in return.
“And that’s just for our sons,” Brandon added, drawing a few punches and harsh looks from the boys.
Graham, Sammy, and Andrew left next, but Graham managed to pull me aside first so we could speak privately. “Let me know how things turn out with Dad’s friend and don’t be afraid to ask if you need me to come back again.”
“I’ll keep in touch and hopefully you won’t have to do that. Thank you for all you’ve done already.”
“Hey, that’s what family is for.”
Shortly after they drove off, Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally took their leave as well, and then Becky turned to me and spoke. “I’m afraid it’s time for me and Revin to return home.”
“Ok, I’ll have Tristan get your coats and I tell Brandon that I’m going to drive you back.”
Of course Tristan and Wyatt wanted to go with me when I took the Kramers home, so I let Dion and Trey know too. I then drove the two of them to their place and said goodbye.
“Thanks for inviting us. We had a wonderful time,” Becky announced as she was getting out of the SUV.
“Yeah, thanks for lettin’ me stay with you again cuz I had a lot of fun,” Revin added.
“You’re both welcome and I’m glad you enjoyed spending the day with us.”
“And I can’t wait to stay with you next Saturday,” Wyatt added, which brought a smile to Revin’s face.
“I’ll try to plan something special to do with you boys then,” Becky offered.
“I’m sure they’ll be happy with whatever you do,” I responded, hoping she didn’t feel obligated to do something huge or expensive the next time these two stayed with them.
“Bye, Revin. I’ll see you at school,” Tristan said before Becky shut the door, and then they all waved at each other.
Once they were safely inside, I took the other two home and we said goodbye to the rest of our guests as they were leaving. Once everyone had gone, we helped Dad clean up the mess and put away the banquet tables. Once that had been taken care of, we all went to the family room and crashed in front of the TV.
“That was fun,” Joshie said once we were all together. “I like it when so many people are here.”
“Grandpa Josh, did you know Uncle Pat was getting married?” Benny asked.
“He told me he’d proposed to Tori when I talked to him on New Year’s Day, but I didn’t know they’d set a date already.”
“Are you mad that they’re going to get married on your birthday?” Ryan followed.
“No. In fact I’m honored, because they’re going to have a birthday party for me at their reception. Most people wouldn’t want to share their special day with someone else.”
“Yeah, I didn’t think of that,” Ryan confessed. “That is pretty nice.”
“Do you think we’ll be able to get everyone on one bus to go there,” Trey wanted to know.
“I’ll make that determination once I know how many want to go with us. If there are more individuals than can fit on one bus, then I’ll just charter two buses instead of one.”
“Won’t that be expensive?” Noah asked.
“Yes, but considering it’s going to be a very special event, it will be worth it.”
After watching a movie the boys had selected on one of the channels, we went out to the dining room for a quick snack. We merely had sandwiches made from the leftover ham we had earlier, along with whatever else they wanted. The boys also had another piece of cake to go with it, and then we told them they had an hour to do whatever they wanted before they had to get ready for bed. Once they took off, the rest of us sat down to chat with Dad.
“So you’re going to call the medium tomorrow?” Dion wanted to know.
“Yes, I’ll call him while you’re at work. I’ll let you know what he has to say when you get home.”
“I hope he knows of a way to end this with Hubbard permanently,” Brandon added.
“And I hope he can get here soon, if he does have a way to end this,” Trey stated.
“I think we all hope for those things,” Dad agreed. “The medium was quick to tell me to call him if I needed anything else, so I have a feeling he has a backup plan.”
“I hope so, because I don’t want Hubbard to get out of hand,” I stated. “He’s already killed cats and I’m worried that he might do something that would injure one of the boys.”
“I know and I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening,” Dad confirmed. “If the medium can’t help us, then I’ll just call around until I find someone who can.”
“Ok, that sounds good,” Trey agreed for all of us.
“Just let us know if we can do anything to help,” I added.
After we sent the boys upstairs to get ready for bed, we went up to say goodnight and tuck the younger boys in. Once that had been taken care of, Brandon and I went to our room, ready to turn in as well. It had been a tiring, but enjoyable, day spending time with the extended family, but tomorrow we’d be returning to the normal grind again. We just hoped Dad and the medium could solve the Hubbard problem for good.