Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Eggs Gone Bad and the People Who Provoke Them, Part 1

It all started so innocently. Due to plans that will take members of our family away for the Easter weekend, 1SweetMama decided to play “host-ess with the most-est” to the gang and have “Fake Easter” this past Saturday.

It is also important to note that everyone was feeling a little edgy over the weather. Forecasters were predicting the worst snowstorm of the season to begin that evening, culminating in blizzard-like conditions and over a foot of snow overnight. Iowans are pretty hearty folk, but weather events, such as this one, the week before Easter puts us close to the edge.

This year being no different, just a week earlier and in the face of an oncoming weather event, we gathered – my parents, my expectant-sister and her husband, myself and my children, to color Easter eggs and play ping-pong (okay – so the ping pong isn’t as traditional – but it was fun!). In preparation for the event, I boiled two batches of eggs so that they would be ready to go before company arrived.

Our family’s typical pre-Easter activities includes following a 35 – 40 year old tradition of dying Easter eggs on “heirloom rags” (by “heirloom”, I simply mean old bedspreads that Grandma S. had cut up) that have been passed from my grandmother to my mother and, now, to me. As I place the protective cloths over my table, I smile as I see the decades of dye stains on these cloths as they serve as an annual reminder of how this holiday, like many of the others we celebrate, are steeped in participation by my entire family.

Additionally, each year we dye the eggs and conduct the “Ugly Egg Contest” – this is a much coveted honor. Amidst all the beautifully colored and decorated eggs we contribute to the bounty, anyone who so chooses, may offer up one of their eggs for the title of “ugliest”. The winner of the “Ugly Egg Contest” usually has the honor of starting the “Egg-Cracking Contest”, another piece of the traditional Easter festivities that takes place on Easter Sunday. Now, this time-honored tradition is where everyone chooses their “weapon of choice” and goes head-to-head (or egg-to-egg) to see who can inflict the most damage to their opponent’s egg.

My Grandpa S., usually emerged as the Grand Champion Egg-Cracker, every year until he passed a few years ago. It was only a few years before the end of this magnificent man’s life, that he finally confessed his secret….he used his knuckle!! - but made it look like he used his egg! - thereby sparing his egg the impact from the opponent and emerging triumphantly when he inflicted the mortal wound upon the shell of the opposition. He also offered this bit of advice for future Egg-Cracking champions: always let the opponent come at you first. Through a carefully calculated energy/mass equation, he deduced that the aggressor’s egg would always receive the damage from impact. So, when we would shout out the countdown (“Three…Two….One…..go!”), Grandpa (using his secret knuckle strategy) would hold his egg still and emerge every time, triumphantly, as the Egg-Cracking Winner. No one ever figured out this man’s strategy until he chose to offer it up to the family. Now, every year we laugh and regale stories in tribute to Grandpa S. and his legendary egg-cracking proficiencies.

The guests arrived. The coloring commenced. We had a ball. We ate snacks. We played ping pong. Toward the end of the evening, Peanut decided that, since we would not be together for Easter, we should conduct the Egg-Cracking Contest.

Everyone selected their eggs. My brother-in-law, whose egg had been honored with the title, “Ugly Egg Winner” chose to match forces with Peanut.

For the conclusion of “Eggs Gone Bad”, tune in on Friday. Until then, I remain…1SweetMama


Steve W. Schaefer said...

My father (your grandfather) cheated by using his knuckle? I love that story. And it makes me proud too.

1SweetMama said...

Oh, yes...he was proud of it, too. Glad you are reading!!