It’s the day before Easter and I remember how exciting that was around my house as a kid.
It meant bugging Mom from the moment we opened our eyes about dyeing eggs and putting baskets together.
My mother wisely used those two events as bribes, hanging them over our heads all day in order to keep us quiet and occupied while she cleaned, baked and put together Easter dinner for the next day.
We would use the waiting time to argue about the best candy, the correct way to eat a hollow chocolate bunny, ( nibble on the feet first, never bite off the ears!) and what colors we wanted to dye our eggs.
Six kids meant a couple dozen eggs got boiled and eventually dyed. We were each allotted three, and that’s why the color choices were so crucial. No one wanted to regret their choice after dropping it in the dye.
The competition was fierce not to have any “copy-cat” eggs. Strategy was important. I would announce I was going for the lavender and one of my sisters would promptly pipe up that she too, wanted a purple egg.
“Fine,” I would reply. “You can have it first.” And then when their egg was safely in the cup of purple dye, I would gleefully place my egg in the robin’s egg blue.
My youngest sister often ended up with one egg that looked gray. She would change her mind so often that the poor egg ended up in every color for a time. That produced an ugly gray and often cracked egg from being dropped into the cup once too often.
As we grew older a sibling would try something fancy, like holding one end in yellow and then the other end in blue. We used the old-fashioned vinegar and food dye. Years later mixing the dyes for my own children, the smell of vinegar combined with the sulphur of the eggs brought the memories of sitting at the picnic table with my brothers and sisters flooding back.
My mother did not support the Easter bunny fantasy, so we were able to watch her walk around the dining room table and shake out bags of candy into each basket. We wanted to make sure everyone received the same amount of loot. Then she left the room and the negotiating began.
I’ll trade you a peanut butter egg for a row of Peeps, and so on. We weren’t allowed to actually eat anything out of the baskets until after church on Easter, but that didn’t stop us from nibbling on our chocolate bunny’s feet.
Happy Easter to all.