Easter Eggs and Treasure Hunts

50 Egg-straordinary Places For An Easter Egg Hunt & To See The ...

Every Easter Sunday morning, my mother would trick us by insisting we ate our ‘boiled’ eggs before mass. She loved the fun of our discovery that the eggs were those white-on-the-outside and chocolate-on-the inside ones. You know those ones that leave your face slathered in white candy and chocolate and require serious face-washing afterwards, as well as jaw re-alignment.

I’m not sure whether we were just very dim-witted lasses that every year we fell for the same silly hoax, or whether we learned to play along and continued to battle to cut the extra tough ‘shell’ (fake-exclaiming when we found the choccy middle) or whether I have merely remembered the surprise and laughter of one precious moment.

 You couldn’t do that now – where would you find such white eggs? I don’t think I have seen one that hue in years. My lot would never fall for it anyway, mainly because… well I’m just not that kind of perky mom who makes eggs in the morning, especially not now – we all dash off to church sans breakfast. (We’re generally not fast enough to ‘break the fast.’)

It wasn’t so when the children were little. They’d be up competing with the squawking pigeons (no musical larks in our neighbourhood) at first light. I passed on the tradition of the faux egg, but there was always someone crying because they ‘didn’t like eggs!’

We’d pile into Le Moto (our Toyota Condor back when it was shiny and before Liam etched his name on the door in response to an outraged Michael who was making him move because his ‘name was not on that seat’) and then we’d wait for Sean…. he was busy hiding the marshmallow eggs, for that wonderful promoter of competitive gluttony and accurate accounting – the Easter Egg Hunt – hopefully where the Labradors would not find them before we returned to hunt for them. I would feign impatience that he was taking so long, which the others bought hook, line and sinker because that was our usual morning routine:  us in the car with Caitlin moaning that Michael was touching her, Michael retorting that, ‘Caitlin was breathing!’ Shannon would be kicking the seat in front of her and Liam was no doubt already dozing off; Sean was normally titivating in the bathroom (he had a problematic relationship with his hair in his early teens). On Easter Sunday though, when he finally climbed into the passenger seat and endured my  exasperated scolding, it was with a knowing smirk at the gleam in my eyes. (He wouldn’t have dared do that on any other day of course!)

Turns out Sean still does treasure hunts – with clues now – for the beautiful Jordan. There has been much protesting here that they didn’t get clues when they were little. But that’s what being in love does: you become more creative. They all remember how despite some collecting way more than others, all eggs would be put in one place and shared out equally – otherwise Liam and Shannon would have had none! Shannon does recall finding an egg in ‘her’ tree in the July holiday once though and of course indulging secretly – the things that come out around the kitchen table!

It’s weird not to have gone to mass on Easter Sunday this year – first time ever for me except the Sunday after Michael was born and he was in the neonatal unit with meningitis – grounded by another micro-organism – the irony is not lost on me.  

And It’s not the same to watch mass on video or live streaming. It makes one realise that the Eucharist is really so much about sharing and community worship. I miss my fellow parishioners and my elderly aunts in their Sunday best, who are always in their same pew. I miss my sister arriving with hot cross buns for breakfast – now those are better than sickly sweet eggs, I believe – toasted and liberally smeared with butter – the real thing, not trumped up (interesting word that when one thinks of a certain unstatesmanlike president) Butro or such substitutes.  

But we have done our best: the lamb is done; yummy aromas emanating from the stove. Caitlin decorated the dining-room table beautifully with a white linen cloth, fairy lights and brown paper bunnies (complete with white tails) and cut-out crosses on the table. We had a joint call with Sean and Jordan in Gauteng, and Brigid (who showed off her beachfront view for us poor suburban dwellers). The others all seemed to be sleeping so we couldn’t do a whole-family call. But our table was missing more than just the late Granny Joyce; we were 7 young people and one sister down because of lockdown and distance.

Today is not about the church or dinner table being empty though – it is about The Tomb being empty; and eggs for new life – let us search for that from now on, with the Risen Lord – it is here in our home and we already have the clues.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

The Family Car

I drive a bus. ‘They’ speak of Mom’s Taxi as if to suggest a vehicle taking in paying customers, but sadly, driving my progeny from ballet to football to eisteddfod or to the endless array of social engagements (that ‘everyone’ is attending and failure to arrive would constitute social suicide) is not a paying job.

Le Moto is a 15 year old Toyota Condor which chugs along quite merrily, thank you, despite being shamelessly neglected by pit crew other than the cursory ministering of petrol jockeys from time to time. Beauty queen she certainly ain’t anymore, having had one too many clashes with a tiresome garage door which used to stick in the winter months, not to mention learner-driver dings and too many close encounters with the grey water at my previous school. But except for a year of menopausal overheating due to a faulty radiator and a bumper which fell off twice (now mercifully secured with cable ties by a passing noble knight), she has not let us down very often. In fact she clocks up quite a speed (well, she would if the speedometer worked) and I have a growing collection of fine photographs which the traffic department keeps kindly sending me to prove it.

When I first managed to purchase my splendid silver wagon, with the help of the children’s Uncle Mark, I heaved a sigh of relief at having the five bairns strapped in and unable to impinge on one another’s personal space, or at least to be far enough away to avoid doing each other grievous bodily harm. Yet still we travelled to the mewling sounds of:

‘Mommeee, Michael’s foot is touching me!’

‘Moooom! He’s breathing too loudly,’ and other such profound discourse.

Another perennial battle is the crying of ’Shotgun’ for the seat of honour besides Mother. For a while I solved that squabble by insisting the winner had to be able to spell ‘hierarchy.’ Now it is eldest in the front. The end.

And naturally Liam (aged three) acquired a crayon to proudly scribble his name on the door; the bonnet became a victim of someone’s really horrible Technology project and sported blue paint until the recycled water used to irrigate the flowers at CBC corroded it, along with the paintwork. Shiny hubcaps bear the scars of a couple of off-road excursions over pavements (I am not renowned for careful driving, the upside of which is that no one argues about wearing seatbelts.) This tendency towards Paris-Dakar motoring has achieved a musical medley of spring sounds over speedbumps, which my family accuse me of taking too literally. They may be right, but everyone loves fairground rides, surely?

Before long of course they started turning 17 and asking to be taught to navigate the streets themselves. Now, I believe you should never teach someone this skill if you gave birth to said learner driver. They turn into sanctimonious law abiding citizens who mutter ‘Fail,’ if you so much as inch over a line at traffic lights. Everyone becomes a critic. And yet they look like chickens on Tik doing all the ‘checks’ which the K53 test requires. No, that’s why God made driving instructors. The end, seriously.

Then they want to drive your car solo. Which is okay, if you don’t watch them pull away into the mist, sans lights and if you ensure you recite maniacal religious mantras while they are gone. What I really can’t stand is getting into my car afterwards and finding the seat is either right on top of the steering wheel (Caitlin) or too far for me (Sean). Not to mention the dog hair and sea sand all over the seats after they have (kindly?) walked the Mad Lab on the beach. And what is with the cheek of changing the radio station?! My car: my music. The absolute end!

Of course they quickly find MyCiti buses a suitable alternative mode of transport again when I say the magic phrase: ‘Petrol money.’  Le Moto is a thirsty gal.

I probably should replace her soon, but that would feel like a betrayal. She’s been the soccer team bus, the friend carrier and a moving van. Like a family pet, this loyal family member has been a part of our history, our adventures and an embrace of our tears (lots of those).

But perhaps I’ll wait until Michael buys new football boots.

My next car will be an Alpha Spider.