Where's the Golden Egg?
Easter Sunday at Grandma and Pop Pop’s with all the cousins and our friends, the Petersons, was a tradition. This meant church in the morning, lots of good food, and the telling of the Easter story with a set of resurrection eggs - a dozen plastic eggs filled with symbols of the Easter story and scripture tucked inside. But just as important as anything else, was the time-honored Easter egg hunt when kids searched for the candy filled plastic eggs which were placed all over the yard carefully and lovingly by the adults. We had many hunts over the years, but there’s one egg hunt, however, that we still talk about many years later. Here’s how it went.
While all the children happily sat around the diner table and ate their ham and mashed potatoes, I unabashedly interrupted a deep intellectual conversation between Steve and Brian and asked them to scatter all the plastic eggs I had filled with candy and prizes around yard. Along with all the pretty blue, pink, yellow, and purple eggs, I gave them one big golden egg which I traditionally filled with lots of candy and dimes and quarters. But on this one particular Easter, I placed a crisp twenty dollar bill inside of the egg and added jelly beans and chocolate eggs.
“Now, please place the golden egg strategically. I want it to be a challenge for the kids.” I urged.
Please allow me to stop here momentarily because there’s something you need to know about Steve and Brian. Steve is a brilliant well-read man whose knowledge and ability to think about some of the most difficult concepts and issues of life is astounding. Then, there’s Brian. He’s a specialized molecular scientist whose knowledge of science and many other subjects is mind-boggling. So, it would make sense that I sent two of the best and brightest minds outside to hide the plastic eggs along with the prized golden egg.
So, when the men were done hiding eggs, it was time for the hunt to commence. The kids were eager with anticipation. Sabra, Brian’s wife, drew a chalk line in the driveway and asked all the children to stand behind it, baskets in hand, to get themselves ready for their egg-finding quest. They were like racehorses waiting to exit the gate as we prepared them for the start of the hunt.
“Ready, set, go!” Pop Pop shouted to the kids — already on sugar highs from jelly beans and chocolate bunnies they were allowed to have from their baskets that morning — and they exploded into the yard like little firecrackers on Independence Day.
They scampered across the green lawn and searched under bushes, reached up on window sills, and checked in tree hollows to find eggs. They stepped up on the two foot high stone wall that lined the long driveway to get up on the patch of lawn with tall pines and oak trees — all perfect hiding places for little plastic eggs, and especially for the golden egg.
Five minutes passed. Kids were squealing with joy over all the eggs they were collecting as adults assisted the little ones who had little to no experience with this event.
Ten minutes passed. More than half the eggs had now been collected by the young gatherers.
“Don’t forget, kids, there’s a golden egg just waiting to be found!” I cheered, hoping to infuse the already heightened state of emotion with even more energy and joy.
Fifteen minutes had gone by. Most of the eggs had been found. But still no golden egg.
I glanced at Steve and Brian who were still conversing about...actually I really don’t know what they were talking about, but I know I made my way over to them.
“Hey guys,” I whispered, “So where did you hide the golden egg?”
The pontifications ceased. They looked at each other. Steve scratched his head.
“Don’t fool with me. Where is it? I want to let the kids know if they’re hot or cold.”
They shrugged their shoulders as if they were two school boys being scolded by the school marm.
“You mean to tell me that I give you one simple task...to hide the golden egg...and you don’t know where you put it?” I responded emphatically.
“It’s got to be here somewhere.” Brian said. The two began a frantic search of their own while the children continued to look feverishly now for the last lustrous egg, the prized golden egg.
Twenty minutes passed.
Thirty minutes passed.
No golden egg.
The hunt ended. Those poor little children never found the beautiful, shiny, golden plastic egg, replete with treats and my twenty dollars.
Twenty years have passed now. The kids are all grown. We never did find that golden egg. But we still get together with family and the Petersons, and we still tell the story every year, after we’ve had our fill of ham, mashed potatoes, and all the fixin’s. And after we’ve opened the twelfth and final resurrection egg, knowing it will be empty because Jesus’ tomb was empty, we always tell the story about the year we sent two brilliant men out to hide the golden egg — the one with the crisp twenty dollar bill inside. The one that we’d never ever find.
Grandma and Pop Pop have since sold their lovely ranch house on Brunner Road, the one in which they hosted many holidays. I seldom pass by that house anymore, but on the rare occasion that I do, I find myself wondering, “Where in God’s creation did they hide that golden egg?”