Minnesota on the Iowa line. Our mother celebrated all the seasons, most likely to make up for the bad times. Easter, of course was special, and included an egg hunt in our big back yard. I looked forward to it, as well as my two brothers, searching for those beautifully colored ones. There were lime, pink, red, orange, and robin-egg blue eggs that were like jewels to me and I treasured them for several weeks afterwards. I was a true believer that the Easter bunny laid those eggs for us.
My brothers, having been informed at an earlier age, tried to dispel my belief about rabbits, so the night before this Easter they woke me up when most of the family was asleep, and took me to the vacant room above the kitchen that had an air vent in the floor above our cast iron kitchen cookstove. As we approached we heard noises down below. I was told to keep quiet and get close so I could see. When they opened the vent I saw several kettles on the stove that had colored water in them. My Mom and two sisters were doing the unthinkable, dipping our leghorn chicken eggs into the water and out on the stove and putting them in a large bowl. I watched until I could stand it no longer, and hurried back to my room, tears rapidly falling, and shut the door. The truth was out and I was still distressed the next morning. The sun started to come up after that long night.
We dressed hurriedly and went downstairs for the Easter egg hunt. My Mom handed me a basket and said we could start. With distrust written all over my face, I grabbed the basket and ran outside with the brothers to get my share of the eggs, which suddenly was not so exciting. Thoughts ran through my mind about getting even with my brothers by busting raw eggs on their dumb heads as I started finding the not-so-precious eggs. I found eight eggs and quit.
My Mom was standing by the open door and I walked up to her with one hand on my hip and thrust the basket toward her, with tears in my eyes and blubbered, “Here, take these! I want one candy egg for each of your leg-horned chickeny rabbit yeggs!” Mom was trying to hold back her laughter as she went to get the candy eggs. I grabbed the basket and ran to the back porch to hide. After a while I started eating the candy and stayed there until it was all gone.
My faith in bunny rabbits dropping off colored eggs in my backyard had been shaken. Maybe those boys weren’t so dumb after all. It was Mom and my sisters who pulled it off all those years. And I bet Santa and his reindeers couldn’t fly in the air either. It was all lies, lies, lies! And to think that my Mom, the one I held dearest to my heart, was in on it. How could she! By noon I had a terrible stomach ache and she gave me some bubbly stuff to drink. My anger disappeared after I felt better. She still was my best friend, so I let her hold me.
Joyce Clemons is a Sheridan resident and a previous contributor to Center Stage. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.