Easter Hunt


On the day
we moved
I finally
found my
jelly bean
you hid in
plain view.

April Love Prompt: My Favorite Color

This year I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by combining  NaPoWriMo’s daily poetry challenge with Susannah Conway’s April Love daily photo prompts on Instagram. Each day of April, you will observe the same photo in my Instagram feed on the righthand sidebar that you see in my blog post along with an instapoem. We shall find out at the end of the month whether this was a brilliant career move, sheer laziness or a fool’s errand. 

Until then, care to join me in these creative waters where even fools fear to tread? The water’s fine.

The Egg of It All

It is a well-known fact that my husband loves eggs. He consumes them in all their forms: fried, scrambled, poached and boiled. He likes them runny, with cheese and a bit of onion, on top in huevos or underneath hollandaise sauce. He even favors egg-shaped objects — his first car was a VW Bug (as close to an ovaloid as you could get outside of Ork in those days).

Unbelievably, we once considered buying an egg-laying operation in a futile attempt to make a living in an unaffordable part of the country. I remember a tour of the owner’s farmhouse revealed the largest egg-clectic collection of chicken and egg nicknacks known to man. Even the clocks on the wall bore the shapes of poultry.

It was truly egg-centric. (sorry)

So, stands to reason that any holiday even remotely celebrating the spherical will have his full participation. As empty-nesters, the whole point and motivation to pastel candy, gaudy long-handled baskets and egg dying would be done and gone if it weren’t for my spouse’s ellipsoidal zeal.

Pretty soon, those addictive miniature eggs with the crunchy malt centers suddenly appear in the candy dish despite my best attempts to avoid and prevent this sort of behavior. Then chocolate-covered coconut ovules spill out from behind the cereal boxes in the cupboard. Inevitably, I find telltale strands of fake grass clinging to his clothes.

Although this year, I honestly thought we were going to amble through the holiday weekend without the whole hard-boiled routine, tempting sales on 12-packs notwithstanding.

By Maundy Thursday, however, he had that look in his eye, the dear man. He wanted me to pick up extra on grocery day. Okay, boil some up, I offered, thinking no big deal, we’ll have deviled eggs all next week.

But no. He wanted them à la shell. In color.

Too late, I mused. There’s no way unless we masticate some roots or fight a squirrel for the black walnut shells. Do they even sell those egg-dying kits of our youth in the stores anymore? You know, the ones with the transfers that never worked and the punch-out paper figures my brother and I used to come to blows over?

Not to be dissuaded, my husband fishes out an ancient box of food coloring, the kind with those little suspiciously-familiar-shaped bottles wearing pointy hats.

A half cup of hot water and a whiff of vinegar later, I am 10 again.


Photo Friday: The Last Peep Show

or The Sad Tale of Eggbert

Is it just me, or do marshmallow peeps taste different these days?

Back in the ’60s I went to a classmate’s Easter party and came home with some live peeps as fun favors. Yep, at the end of the festivities each child was given a little bag with two baby chicks inside, fuzzy and yellow as tennis balls.

I lived on a farm, so it wasn’t terribly inconvenient to bring home real poultry, but I often wonder what the suburban kids did when they showed up at their ranch houses with cheeping party prizes.

Anyway, there appeared to be a male and female, so we named them Eggbert and Henrietta, and kept them warm inside a cardboard box in the kitchen with a window screen on top to keep them safe.

One day we came in the kitchen to check on the chicks and found the screen pushed aside. Henrietta was missing.

I swear, our dog, who had been hanging around the kitchen quite a bit, had a smile on his face.

That left Eggbert, who grew into an increasingly leggy and awkward youth. He was obviously a rooster, and spent a good deal of adolescence practicing his frustrated mating call in our barn. All for naught, as we had no hen house, and (with the loss of Henrietta) no flock.

He was also terrorized by my brother and me into being our bird pet. We dressed him up, built elaborate homes (cages) for him, and wandered around the farm with the unfortunate fowl tucked under our arms.

Contrary to my mother’s dire predictions, he never pecked our eyes out (although we deserved it).

He hated my mother with such passion that he often chased her across the barnyard, and hopped on the car where she had taken refuge, pecking viciously at the windshield while she drove off, wipers flapping in defense.

Taking his cock of the walk status seriously, he used the bank barn’s entrance ramp like a runway, silently stampeding down from the gaping barn doorway like some feathered superhero, wings held out, twitching and stomping in an elaborate dance meant to scare his nemesis witless before launching himself onto the leg of an adversary.

His victims were many, including relatives, long-lost friends, handymen and the president of the bank where my parents were applying for a business loan.

Eggbert didn’t like surprise visitors.

This went on for months, until one day my brother and I couldn’t find Eggbert anywhere. The barn loft was silent, the doorway empty, and my mother no longer had to run for her car, after checking to see if the coast was clear.

My parents finally gently suggested that ol’ Eggbert wasn’t coming back. Probably caught by a fox.

Sadly we put away the adornments (rags) we had made for Eggbert, and took apart the homes we designed for his unwilling occupancy.

Years later, my folks admitted that after multiple attacks on friend and foe alike, not to mention the ungodly racket of his crowing attempts, they gave Eggbert to the neighbor for his stew pot.

The old farmer reported it was the toughest bird he’d ever eaten.

Kinda like peeps.

The Easter Hunt (Maybe)

Letting Go #7:

Once upon a time we had a little girl who loved to look for jelly beans that her father hid in all sorts of ingenious places in our house the night before Easter. My husband, who loves eggs and candy in all forms, could give the Easter Bunny a run for his money. Year after year, the hunt for the magic beans would take place all over the house on Easter morning, the level of difficulty rising as the child became more skilled at the task. This was no small feat because we have somehow produced a child with an eagle eye and acute attention to detail. (Case in point: At six years old she came home after carpeting was installed, and within five minutes noticed that all the floor heating vents had been covered up and two doors re-hung in the wrong doorways—details that had been overlooked by her mother when she signed off on the job.)

So, it’s safe to say that very few beans were missed—but there were always a couple every year that were up too high for my daughter to see, or camouflaged so well that a chameleon would have been jealous. These orphans came out of hiding many months or years later during a move, or a paint job, or at the end of a trail of ants. Despite the potential for insect invasions, the little mummified discoveries always brought smiles to our faces because they called up fond memories of dyed eggs, fake grass and candy overload.

All was well in the kingdom of candy-induced cavities, until the day when my daughter decided that she was too old for the Easter hunt. She warned us that she would no longer participate in this event, and if the candy was hidden, the beans would just lie there until they (and her parents) became ancient relics. Her old man, however, thought she was just bluffing, and disappeared into the bowels of the house late Saturday night. The next day, when she noticed that the empty Easter basket was ready to go, our no-longer-little girl stomped back into her room and shut the door.

Oops. . . . Her father quickly and quietly gathered all the offending orbs from their clever and artistic hiding places and tucked them safely away in the cupboard. I don’t believe we even had a basket out that year. Dad and I both learned the hard way that we needed to respect our daughter’s right to grow up. She had given us plenty of hints about this particular development, and it was our fault that we didn’t listen, that we insisted on holding tight to her childhood like it was ours.

That was two years ago. My husband, who can’t give up his first childhood, suggested an Easter candy hunt FOR ME. I scoffed it off (I should know better). Sure enough, on my way through the living room last Sunday morning, I thought I saw a glowing pink orb out of the corner of my eye—the Easter Bunny had struck again! And he failed to hide the little smile on his face as I half-heartedly muttered my protests. For the sake of pest control (I proclaimed), I began to look for the hidden beans. Most were easy, but then the quest got challenging. As I explained earlier, I am not the most observant person in the world. (Did I mention that I’m extremely near-sighted, too?) As I bumbled around searching for strays, lo and behold the grown-up daughter appeared and started giving me hints about locating the ones I missed. “You’re getting warmer,” she’d coax when I became discouraged. As I found them, I placed my prizes in the large communal basket in our dining room centerpiece—a good compromise between easy access candy and a nod to the holiday.

What goes around, comes around. I suspect our daughter’s practicing for the Easter hunt she’ll help us with in assisted living, while we grow into our second childhoods.

Our daughter and the Easter Bunny (in earlier days)
Our daughter and the Easter Bunny (in earlier days)