Kokomo — Easter may be a time of sugary sweet Peeps and darting for hard-boiled eggs dressed in their Easter Sunday best. For me, it’s been about that and getting back to my roots. Growing up, my family and I nestled into my Pap’s motor home and headed for the mountains of West Virginia – our annual Easter Sunday home for my entire childhood.
The road trip that included my parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins was all about coasting through our family’s memories as we traveled south on the highway. Although it was often the same tales, they were illustrated with the landmarks that set the scene for the stories: The high school where my Pap played football, the hill that was home to the sound of my grandparents’ “I do’s,” the farm where my great grandpa cared for animals as a veterinarian – all wrapped within the warmth of West Virginia mountains.
The years of our trips were documented the same each year: The generations standing along a brick wall of the church we attended each Easter, little ones dressed in bonnets or suits with a chocolate bunny or package of Peeps gripped in hand.
The yard of the church transformed to a dotted sea of pink, green, blue and yellow eggs after the service and children came back with their findings; either satisfied with pride or in a dismay of disappointment. But, regardless of our outcome at the church, the egg hunt at my great aunt’s was sure to be a time to shine.
As warm as the sun felt beaming through the stained-glass windows of the church, the sun felt as if it revolved around the picnic and Easter events at my great aunt’s and uncle’s home. The annual traditions may have been designed for the young, but the young-at-heart didn’t hesitate to put their own spin on the spring occasion. There were pranks, there were egg fights and there was laughter for all generations.
The first prank was the egg hunt that was less than extraordinary for my colorful collection. While the adults set out to prank each other with regular eggs, I accidentally fell victim to the joke and I was not laughing when it came time to count eggs and mine were covered with egg yolks. “I killed a baby egg,” I wailed -- as I somehow thought a colored egg was both different than the ones my mom used for scrambled eggs and the other colored hard boiled eggs in my basket.
My uncle’s solution to the sobs of a 4-year-old was simply to go into the kitchen, bring out a dozen of eggs (still in the container) and start pelting every adult within sight. The result? An egg war amongst the adults while the children sat with baskets of eggs and dropped jaws. We always had massive breakfasts during our visits with 30 or more loved ones, so the abundance of eggs for the weekend only enhanced the Battle of the Eggs 1990.
The kids abandoned their baskets for front row seats on the country home’s front porch, while our parents pelted each other with shattering shells and covered their opponents’ faces with yolks.
Not only was the event entertaining it was one of my fondest and first memories. I can still picture the yard, I can still picture my uncle’s face of mischief and I can still feel the emotion of pure excitement. The memory of kids screaming, jumping up and down and cheering for their parent to get hit with an egg was the portrait of family in action.
No matter how you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a happy one with a memory you won’t forget.
[friday] editor/ Withdrawing from my memory bank