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Prairie rose



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Prairie rose

Prairie rose

Easter 2003

April 23, 2003

At some point, as more and more commitments began to drag us hither and yon, Easter became “the” holiday for my family. We may not all get together at one time for Christmas, but we always have a get together for Easter, even if it isn’t till May. The winter holidays are over, with all the corresponding commitments. The weather is better. And we all have cabin fever.

This year we actually got together on Easter, at least for the most part. Nancy, Brenda, and I got to the farm Friday evening, and LeAnn came Saturday afternoon. Being the social butterflies of our clan, either Nancy or Brenda usually ends up bringing extra guests of various species. This time Brenda brought three rabbits and a puppy (none of which supposedly belonged to her) and a family friend. Spouses and boyfriend stayed behind, causing amusement each time the phone rang as we tried to guess which of the “three D’s” (Duane, Dan, or David) was calling to check up on their partner.

The six cousins have always had a glorious time when they get together. This time the thirteen-year-olds ended up going their separate ways, though. Jen was sick with a cold, and spent her time curled up in a chair cuddling one or more of sis Brenda’s rabbits. Shad was his usual workaholic self, and, despite the steady drizzle, he spent his time chopping wood and cleaning up the yard and gleefully diving into any chore the adults could come up with. He would rather work than play. He has always been like that, and I have no clue where he gets it from. The rest of us certainly aren’t like that! The barely twelve-year-old and almost-twelve-year old, Sarah and Amanda, were inseparable as always, off on their own adventures, including working on fixing up an old shed for a club house. The nine-year-old and eight-year-old, Meshach and Michael, ignored all efforts to get them to go out and play in the rain, preferring to tear around the house with the puppy, shrieking happily. Yes, it was deafening, and conversation was nearly impossible at times, but it was happy noise, so nobody minded too much. Except for the puppy, who kept trying to sneak off to take a nap…

We had our big meal Saturday, because Brenda and I had to work Easter night. Then it was time to dye eggs. We expected to be eating boiled eggs for a week, but it didn’t turn out that way. As the little boys got rowdy and a few eggs got cracked, I told them to set them aside and not use them for hiding so they would stay clean and edible. Their idea of “setting them aside” was to shell them and eat them on the spot. I have no idea how many eggs they ate, but, amazingly, nobody ended up with a tummy ache!

Then it was off to hide Easter eggs over and over again till bedtime. How family legends are made… When somebody suggested hiding eggs, the first thing the kids said was, “And no eggs in Grandpa’s shoes!!!” (Referring to one memorable Easter when an egg had been forgotten in the toe of Dad’s slipper—with predictable results.)

Once the kids were occupied with hiding and re-hiding eggs, the adults moved in. As usual, a few eggs had gotten “forgotten” and never made it to the table, so it was our turn to get creative. Funny how one can set up all the egg-decorating paraphernalia and watch kids decorate egg after egg without a bit of interest, but once the kids are gone, the remaining dye and decorations and a few blank canvases (leftover eggs) become absolutely irresistible to the remaining kids of all ages. And, yes, we carefully divided the eggs up evenly between us, too!

Easter Sunday dawned gorgeous. Even though we had had our big meal the day before, we had to do Easter baskets. Easter baskets in name only, in our family. This year it was decorated lunch bags (courtesy of a creative kid). You can forget about chocolate bunnies and eggs. The kids—strange creatures—don’t like candy all that much. They sure didn’t get that from the older generation! When we were kids, Mom would make “birds’ nests” out of syrup, coconut, and cornflakes. She still has to make the stuff, but it never makes it as far as the Easter baskets. The adults dive into it immediately, and one by one the kids are becoming addicted. This year she had to make two large pans, and there wasn’t a scrap left by Sunday night. What goes into the baskets is Rice Krispie bars shaped like eggs and dipped in chocolate, and this year Mom added a new twist and made some Easter shapes with cookie cutters. She also adds things like fruit rollups and hot chocolate packets. This year they got a bonanza, because after Easter last year I cleaned out the clearance aisle, so they got all kinds of toys, which were a big hit. This year they only did two rounds of basket hiding, but they did a few more rounds of hiding eggs before kids of all ages settled into playing with the toys.

There were “moments,” of course. The puppy absconded with a toy or two, tangled her leash repeatedly, and eventually broke her collar. Two jackets and several toys got left behind. And one of the hidden eggs is still missing…

Things wound down after lunch. Nancy and Brenda headed out in the afternoon, taking most of the chaos with them. LeAnn and her crew sat down at the table for a round of rubberstamping. Mom and Dad sat down, period, and stayed sitting. I slipped off for a nap, since I had a long night of work ahead of me. I got up in time to see them off, and then it was time for me to leave for work, and another Easter was over.

I wonder where that egg will turn up? At least we know it won’t be in Grandpa’s shoe!