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Joey likes the holidays. To him, they serve as a type of marker that the year is progressing. When your life revolves around Coca-Cola, hot dogs and trips to White Castle or Culver’s, you want time to progress. You need things to look forward to, be it that next pop, the next time your sister is in town for the weekend or the next time the family will gather.

Holidays have always meant family gatherings, and Joey especially likes this because he knows he gets even more pop. (Joey is a soda machine. If you put a two-liter of pop in front of him, it will be gone in 10 minutes. When he wakes up, his belly is flat. By noon, he looks to be three months preggo. He drinks so much, it sometimes makes him sick. There is no off button. Also, Joey asks for nothing, so family members get very excited to give Joey something he loves. Aunts will come to the house with a two-liter for him. He will get a shit-eating grin, and Mom will laughingly scold them. But it’s too late, ’cause Joey’s already got his glass poured.)

Oh man, Joey would lose his mind to have one of these.

Joey has recently gotten something new to look forward to. After years of trying, Mom finally got him into an Easter Seals program for three hours a day. (Yesterday was the first time Joey has been at a program like this for so long after being home day … after day … after day … since graduating high school at 21. After she dropped him off, Mom wondered what to do with herself. “Run in circles around the car” was a possibility.)

After the day spent at Easter Seals, Mom picked Joey up. When they got home, Joey went into the basement and he brought up … Easter decorations. Mom told me yesterday that his room is full of stuffed bunnies. There are Easter baskets throughout the house. There is a “Think spring” rug in front of the refrigerator.

Eventually, Joey is going to hear “Easter Seals” without thinking “Easter holiday.” Eventually. Hopefully.

Right???

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For first-time readers, Joey is my younger brother. He has PDD-NOS, a form of autism. He is 23, non-verbal and very loving. He will hug and kiss just about anyone. Especially if you give him pop.

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