When my mother dyed hard-boiled eggs for Easter, she would never just drop them recklessly into vinegar-infused PAAS like I do. I tend to get a bit too aggressive with the colors, sometimes ending up with brownish shells and squiggly, overlapping designs.
My mother, on the other hand, would color her eggs with careful crayon lines and patterns. She would then gently spoon dye over the eggs so each one came come out a solid, even color. And then she would glue on construction paper eyelashes, ears, and tails to make crazy monster eggs. I think she saw this idea in Family Circle.
Some years, she would even grow small baskets of grass, and as long as the cat didn’t eat the grass first, she would then rest the eggs in the basket as a centerpiece. Or she would just put the eggs on the table, next to flower arrangements and bowls of Jordan almonds. And she’d take photographs of these monster eggs so years later, when she was long gone, the whole thing would be memorialized in Kodak prints.
Of all the times my son D. dyed eggs, I think he and I did it only once at my house with just the two of us. It was always at my mother’s.
Now, she was not perfect. Some years, she grew the grass but never got around to the eggs. Or sometimes she would dye the eggs but never get to glue on the construction paper. If there was too much snow outside, she would only hide the bare, dyed eggs, before they got donned with construction paper, and sometimes we would eat them first so they would never end up with their accessories at all. But we knew from the colors which ones might become a one-eyed monster, or a bunny with floppy ears. And when they came together, it was a masterpiece.
My mother didn’t just stop at eggs. Every year, we’d go to my parents’ house for breakfast, and after the egg hunt, my son D. would find two baskets hidden deeper in the woods: one from the Easter bunny, and another from her. And when we went to my sister’s for dinner later in the day, D. would get another one there because she didn’t want him to miss out when the other grandchildren were opening theirs. It was a little over the top, but when it comes to grandchildren, who cares?
I don’t yet have grandchildren. Which is good, because my version of Easter still needs some work. Yesterday, I had an egg hunt at my house for the youngest nieces and nephews. D. and I had filled a ridiculous number of eggs the night before while watching an episode of House of Cards, which seemed an appropriate backdrop for this work. We used purple Peeps and fruit snacks, which my mother had always put in D.’s eggs. And then, Reese’s mini peanut butter eggs, jellybeans, and Hershey’s chocolates. Yesterday morning, D. and I hid them in the front yard because there is still a bit too much snow in the back.
There weren’t a lot of places to hide them as the area is mostly grass and trees. So we got a bit lazy toward the end, as our bag of eggs was still heavy but there weren’t many places not already dotted with bright fluorescent spots. I started doubling up in some places. And D. began gently whipping eggs across our giant front lawn.
That helped the cause, until one broke open and spread candy across the grass.
We had the eggs hidden in about 13 minutes. And it took the kids less than that to find them.
In the end, it’s obvious that D. and I are nowhere near as graceful or as creative as my mother was. But we have some time. We have a few seasons of House of Cards left to watch. And at least we have her bunny spirit.