Now for something a little lighter…
This is a story that I wrote a few years ago. It’s about an Easter egg hunt that my mom arranged for me one Easter Sunday when I was a wee lad. I hope you enjoy reading it… or re-reading it, if you’re one of the folks who’s seen it before. Here we go…
The Easter Egg Hunt
Earlier this morning, shortly after I awoke, I realized it was Easter Sunday. Once this thought settled into my groggy, just awakened brain I began to think of Easters past. Actually, I was only thinking of one Easter past. It was many years past, probably near thirty-five of them. I believe I was around four years old for this Easter I’m writing of here.
I remember being awakened by my mother early that morning. I was in bed with my father. I must have crawled into bed with him sometime that night or early in the morning. I seem to remember doing this occasionally. I’m not sure where my brother was at the time, most likely in his own bed in our bedroom. He was about fifteen at the time and would not have been partaking in Easter egg hunts, I’m afraid. More than likely he was dreaming about the homerun he had hit playing Little League Baseball earlier that weekend, or some such adolescent thoughts which were years away yet for myself.
Mom ushered me out of bed quietly so as not to disturb my father who had most likely been out late the night before partaking of his favorite hobby, Greyhound racing. I remember her helping me to get dressed in my little jeans and sweater outfit. It was early April and there was still a bit of a chill in the air in the early mornings here in central Florida, where I grew up and still live.
This Easter event that my mom had planned was totally surprising to me. I had no prior hints that she was planning on doing anything like this. After getting me all dressed up, which she used to refer to as, “dressing a limp noodle”, she motioned me through the house and out toward the backdoor. The hunt was to take place back there, and the game was already afoot.
Upon stepping out onto the back porch, mom informed me that the Easter Bunny had come in the night and placed candy and other goodies all over the backyard. My mission, should I decide to accept it, was to determine the whereabouts of these goodies and take the booty for my very own! Arrrr, matey! And so the hunt begins… in spite of my mixing of metaphors.
For no reason that I can remember thirty-five years later, I began the hunt near mine and my brother’s bedroom window, where at that time stood a rather large Australian pine tree that had a trunk that split into two main branches at a very short distance from the ground, probably four feet or less. In the crook of these two large branches I spied my first prize.
It was a Chess set. I could discern the red and black squares on the board along with the small cardboard box that held the game pieces. Hmmm? Four years old and getting a Chess set for a gift? Well, I didn’t know how to play Chess just then, but I surely learned shortly thereafter. My mother was constantly bragging to people for years after that about how I could checkmate adults in four moves. What she failed to tell others was that the so-called “adults” were more than likely my brother and his friends who were mostly jocks and not exactly Chess masters. You know how proud moms can brag though, I guess.
My next prize was a stuffed bunny rabbit. I still remember the silly thing. It was yellow, and when you wound the little watch-like winding stem on the bottom it played Brahms’ Lullaby. I loved that little bunny! I found it perched in the low branches of a guava tree that grew on the West side of our house, under the kitchen window. On a sad note, I just this past weekend cut the remaining dead portion of that guava tree down to the ground. It had died a couple of years back when my oaks began to steal its sunshine.
As to the rest of the hunt, it was quite the success. I found a complete Easter basket with candy and other goodies. I found numerous chocolate eggs inside the openings on the ornamental blocks in the fence. I found some more toys here and there. I even found one of my all time favorite toys hanging from the limb of a Brazilian pepper tree which my father was forever battling with. I won that battle after dad was gone from this world, but that’s another story altogether. What was the toy? Well, it was a sack of little army soldiers.
Some of you older folks may remember them. They were quite popular in the 50’s and 60’s. These were about 2” tall and were made out of cast metal and hand painted. They would be worth a fortune to collectors nowadays. Shortly thereafter the Japanese invasion became a reality and all these little soldiers became plastic with no painting, just solid green with, oddly enough, little Japanese faces. And the world moved on…
My whole Easter egg hunt probably took about an hour and a half. My mom stood there with her arms folded across her chest and a big smile on her face. My mother was a wonderful mother! Unfortunately, I was not always a wonderful son. I loved her dearly and always will. If I had never said so before, mom, thanks for that Easter egg hunt!
© 2001 V.T. Eric Layton
Easter is a little less than a couple weeks away, folks. If you can, try to make it memorable for your kids. You never know. They might make you famous by writing a story about it in thirty years or so.