A ray of sun falling across my face wakes me. I lie in bed and listen to my father get up first. He puts the coffee on, which smells so good, and he tiptoes out of the house to get the newspapers from Wawa. Then my mom gets up and has coffee and the TV goes on quietly. She starts frying bacon, and that is added to the coffee smell.
Then Aunt Marie gets up and they work on the huge jigsaw puzzle and smoke cigarettes and there’s a little more clanking when they decide to undo the dishwasher. Then Uncle Mike wakes up and goes from his bed to the living room floor and reads paperback novels. Sometimes he tells funny jokes, and sometimes he grabs us as we go by and tickles our legs.
My dad comes back from his little trip with newspapers, which have their own lovely smell, and Benny’s Bread with its intoxicating sourdough smell, and maybe some pastries. Then my room starts to come alive with Jase and Trin surfacing from their sleep, and we lie there a little while longer and giggle and plan our day, and then we go out and attack the kitchen and the day has begun.
Then there are the night times, when everybody comes over for dessert or coffee. All us kids are spread out on the living room floor watching the Phillies with the old uncles who are dozing in the chairs, and Richie Ashburn’s voice is summer, and all the aunts are sitting around the table drinking coffee and eating Entenmann’s. We are all sunburned and smell like the beach and soap. Sometimes an aunt invites you onto the couch and scratches your back, and sometimes an uncle calls you over and opens his wallet and gives you money for A La Mode.
We gather ourselves in a noisy bunch and go over barefoot to get our ice cream. Inside it is cold and the floor numbs our feet, and we order our current favorites and talk about our old favorites and the time Trin got sick from eating a whole banana split and the time Francine wouldn’t give me any of her marshmallow topping. We all miss Marny and Pop-Pop so much, but no one says that.