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Meet and Greet

Saturday, October 7, 2017 10 am - 3 pm

Day of Hope 2017

Greenport Town Park

 413 Joslen Blvd

Hudson, NY 12534


Three Little Words


            A cool, crisp fall afternoon I lay in my waterbed with my window open, eyes closed and listening to my stereo. I’m wearing fuzzy sweatpants and a t-shirt, shifting my legs to try and swish some waves and pretend to escape reality. No normal 11- year old listens to Bach and Mozart, but I am not a normal kid. Since it is Columbus Day and we have the day off from school, all I wanted to do is just relax and think about what I wanted to do for my 12th birthday in ten days. On a day like today I would normally be out with fellow Girl Scouts searching for the next badge requirements or hiking the mountains with friends, but not today, today is different.

            Sunday night is the night where my mother and I work together to cook a huge meal for our family. This tradition started when I was old enough to walk. I couldn't help with the actual cooking, but I did play a mean pot-and-pan solo with the wooden spoons. My dad’s favorite Sunday meal is spaghetti and meatballs, and since I need a badge for Girl Scouts my mother agreed to help me make sauce from scratch. We spent the entire day steaming fresh tomatoes we plucked from our vegetable garden, peeling them, straining the seeds out and pureeing them. I accidentally forgot to put the little plastic piece in the top of the blender before hitting start, TOMATOES EVERYWHERE! We laughed so hard that I snorted a few times. My mother, not once, lost her cool. She happily helped me clean up my mess and jokingly told me “see this little piece? This little guy goes in the top of the blender so that THIS doesn’t happen”. We almost fell to the floor we were laughing so hard.  The whole house smells like I imagine Italy to smell like and I loved it.

            Sunday dinner is finished and all the tomato was wiped off the ceiling, we gather at the dining table and eat as any family I imagine would. Passing around the spaghetti, meatballs, and bread that we baked from scratch, I look around and a huge smile grows. My father asked me how many badges I have collected for Girl Scouts this week, my brother is telling us how on his latest four-wheeling adventure through the apple orchard, a tree jumped out and bit him. My mom talks about her garden that we worked on yesterday, how the purple mums are starting to peak out from under the brown bed of deadening summer flowers. I realize that none of my friends have what I do. None of their fathers sit down at the table and eat dinner with their family, none of their brothers tell stories about their four-wheeling adventures, and all their moms look tired and frail from slaving over their fathers that they just shovel the food in their mouths and move on. My mom was happy and laughing right along with us. I am overjoyed with the laughter and dinner talks we share.

            Later that night after the dishes have been cleaned, the leftovers are put away and the smell of Italy starts to fade off, we all sit in the living room to watch our favorite Sunday night television shows: America’s Funniest Home Videos, Married with Children and Herman’s Head. Recalling my disaster earlier that night, my mother told my father to buy a video camera “THAT would have won us the grand prize!!”

            Getting ready for bed Sunday night, my mom gives my brother and I a huge hug a kiss on the forehead and tells us she loves us. My father is not one for public displays of affection, so he just grunts and goes to bed.

            Monday morning, Columbus Day, everyone is home. Schools are closed, my mom got the day off from the hospital where she worked and my dad is in his woodshop at 5am since he doesn’t have to report to IBM on this holiday. I like to sleep in on my days off from school, I wake up at 9am. I start to head downstairs and my mom asks me to grab my brother and meet her in the living room. I didn’t think anything of it. We skipped out on her Sunday morning piano solo since I asked for her help to cook for my badge. I figure she asks me to grab him so we can listen. When my brother and I walk into the living room, my dad was there. He is NEVER in the house on his day off, he is always in his woodshop. So, I thought wow, he is going to finally listen to mom playing the piano!

            The room feels tense, my mom and dad lost their smiles. They’re sitting separate on different couches. My mom asks me to sit by my dad and my brother to sit by her. “kids, we have something very important to tell you and we want you to know that no matter what happens, we will always love you.” Tears start to stream down my face, I have no idea what is about to be said, but I know it’s not going to be good. With a strong, deep breath in “I have cancer” quietly and slowly escaped my mother’s mouth. My world, in three words, changed forever.

~Karen Schroder