#74, Decorate Easter Eggs
For most of my life, Easter was my favorite holiday. My Grandma Susie must have loved Easter too, because she did so much to make the day magical for me and my cousins. I understand now just how much she did, but then I was blissfully unaware of the work involved. It all seemed like so much fun.
My mom always sent me to my dad with a pretty new outfit. One year I had a lavender cropped blouse that tied in front and had lavender jeans to match. I thought it was BEAUTIFUL.
We received chocolate eggs for Easter, and not just ANY chocolate eggs. We got See’s candy eggs with our names written on them. We also received chocolate rabbits that came in pretty boxes, and we would nibble them in different patterns. For me it was always ears first. We would get big Easter baskets filled with toys, bubbles, Peeps, and plastic eggs filled with candy.
There would be flats and flats of Easter eggs. Dying them was a family affair. We used wax crayons to write everyone’s names on them and we experimented with stripes and color mixing and we decorated the eggs with the little stickers that came in the box.
Beginning sometime after Christmas, whenever my grandma would need scrambled eggs, she would pierce the shells with a pin and blow out the contents. She rinsed them and stored them in cartons. By the time Easter week rolled around, there would be dozens of hollow eggs to dye and fill with confetti. In those days we made confetti by cutting holes out of construction paper with a single-hole punch. It was time consuming, but I don’t remember anyone complaining.
The confetti eggs were rationed out like drink tickets. We would each get five or six. The first few we would quickly smash, and then we would hoard them until the moment was just right.
#276, Make Confetti Eggs
There are few things in life that are as fun as smashing a confetti egg over the head of someone you love. We would slink around the park spying on unsuspecting family members with our hidden eggs cupped in our hands. When we spotted our victim, we would sneak up, cat-like and then there would be a yell and a shower of confetti. The dupe would sit there looking bewildered, messy, and amused. It was spectacular.
When it came to food, my Aunt Stella and my Aunt Gloria were my grandmother’s front line. Together they put out a spread that people still talk about though we haven’t been to a park in almost 20 years. Grandma Susie made ribs, her famous potato salad, macaroni salad, and there were chili beans and hot dogs and watermelon. There were coolers filled with fruit punch and sodas and we walked around with pink stains at the corners of our mouths.
When it was time for the Easter Egg Hunt, the women would gather all the kids into a group. We were made to turn our backs while the men hid the eggs. In addition to hiding the hard boiled eggs there were also dozens of plastic eggs filled with candy, so the hiding took some time. One of my Uncles would pass out a few plastic eggs amongst the men, and they would pull out their wallets and stuff bills and change into them. When the last egg was hidden, we were given the sign and off we would go. We would run past the eggs that were hidden in plain sight so that the babies could find them. Adults would give us hints to find the ones just out of reach or beyond our view. When all the eggs had been found, we would sit down with our baskets and sort through them. When we found eggs that had someone’s name scribbled on them, we would find the person and give them their egg. We shook the plastic eggs to see which ones had money. Sometimes there would be a $20 egg or a $50 egg and everyone would get excited.
The rest of the day we would would run around in the park. The men would play horseshoes and the women would visit. We didn’t always go to the same park. One year I remember fishing for crayfish with string and pieces of chicken. Another year I remember paddleboats and a lake.
We lost my Grandma Susie early and she never met my children, but I know she would have been crazy about them.
When my kids were born, I began having Easter parties at our house. I carried on some of my Grandmother’s traditions, but the parties were much different. There weren’t as many children. Our families are more spread out now.
Now that my kids are teenagers, we have brunch in tony places.
It’s nice, but I can’t help thinking that I would like to be sitting under a tree in an old aluminum folding chair eating a hotdog with a smattering of confetti in my hair. I would like to hear the funny barking sound that was my grandmother’s laugh and I’d like to see my Grandpa Joe sipping a beer and watching the shoes fly.
Happy Easter to all of you.
279 days to go!