An Easter Lesson: Never Take a Hungry Dog to an
Easter Egg Hunt!
Anyone who has visited a store in the last month knows that Easter
is just around the corner. Store shelves are loaded with plastic eggs,
stuffed bunnies, and baskets of assorted sizes.
Seeing all the holiday decorations reminded me of an Easter,
long ago, when my brother was three and I was still in pigtails.
Our plans for a normal Easter day were thrown awry that year
and I learned a valuable lesson that I've never forgotten.
We had company for the weekend, my aunt and uncle and four
cousins from Florida. Momma felt the only way to have a decent
Easter egg hunt was to have at least a dozen eggs for each child.
She boiled them and gave us the glad job of decorating all 72.
Needless to say, we spent most of the evening on our back porch
coloring and dipping egg after egg for the hunt.
I can almost see us sitting there around that old red enamel and
chrome table. We had an assortment of cups and small bowls
filled with red, blue, green and yellow liquid. The air was thick
with the smell of vinegar.
We listened to the Grand Ole Opry, singing along with each
entertainer that came on stage A passerby would have heard
six childish voices harmonizing with Tammy and George as they
sang " We're Not the Jet Set." We sang with relish and our
exaggerated nasally twang would have made the country duo
proud. Occasionally, Momma or my aunt would come out to check on us.
They removed any badly cracked eggs, refilled our glasses with
tea and replenished the potato chip bowl. As far as we were
concerned, our creations were not to rivaled, each a precious piece of artwork.
We scribbled stick figures on the delicate egg shells with crayons,
labeling them with the names of family and friends. It was easy to
identify Momma and my aunt's figures without names. Their brand-new
Toni perms were depicted by tight coils of hair haloing their heads.
I remember drawing a picture of my daddy with his German Shepard,
King, by his side. Little did I know how King would figure into the events on the following day.
By 9:00 pm we had finished our creations. We were promptly herded
to bed with a stern warning to go to right to sleep or there be no egg
hunt the next day. Needless to say, all little eyes were shut by 9:30.
Everyone woke early the next morning. After church we drove home to
where my father and uncle waited for us. While we were away at
Sunday School, they had taken our eggs to the hunting camp and
hidden them. They had the help of a an old family friend, Mr. C.W.
Smith, who had been invited to come out and eat a picnic dinner with us.
We changed out of our good clothes and piled onto the back of
the truck. In our hands were our Easter baskets filled with green
paper grass. The ride to the camp seemed to take forever. The tires
had barely stopped rolling before we leapt out of the truck bed like
a pack of eager deer hounds.
"Stop right there!" My daddy's voice brought us to a screeching halt.
"Everybody is gonna start together, once we tell yall where the
boundaries are." My brother and youngest cousin were given directions
to a special area with eggs hidden for them. Momma and my aunt
would supervise their hunt.
The four of us older kids listened impatiently while my uncle gave
us detailed instructions on the boundary lines for our egg hunt. He
told us, since we were older, the eggs would be a lot harder to find.
Finally, we were told the information we were all waiting for: the
prize egg was wrapped with a dollar bill (which was a LOT of money
back then for a kid) and then covered with tinfoil. We were told that
since it would be so conspicuous, it was particularly well hidden.
Daddy was ready to turn us loose when his dog King emerged
from a thicket of palmetto bushes. King, who had wandered into
the woods while they were hiding the eggs, hadn't come when they
got ready to go pick us up. Daddy left him there till we returned. The
dog looked at us and seemed to slink off toward the truck. We didn't
think anything of it at the time, but later, his guilty expression would
have a wealth of meaning.
"Get ready, get set, GO!" Four pairs of legs raced across the sandy
road and jumped the ditch. In a mad frenzy we pushed back palmetto
fans and dug through piles of fallen bark and straw. Being veterans of
the game, we looked first for those places that seemed the most logical
for hiding eggs.
They were empty, though, and the cries of "I found one" were few and
far between. Only occasionally did someone find an egg slipped among
the branches of a gallberry bush or in the knot of an old oak.
After about twenty minutes, the two younger kids were finished. Between
them they had found twelve eggs.We, however, were still searching without
much luck. Momma called for us to stop and do a count. The four of us had
only found about thirty eggs so far.
It became apparent there were a large number of the eggs still missing.
The grownups gathered, trying to determine what had happened. Mr. C. W.,
who had wandered off in the woods, reappeared then.
It was easy to see he was struggling to keep from laughing. He conferred with the other adults, and
then they all started to laugh and looked over
toward the truck.
"What is it? Where are all the eggs?" we clamored.
Daddy called King to him.The dog came slowly, his tail between his legs. It was a sure sign
he had done something wrong. When he looked up at us the guilt
was plain to see. Tiny shards of colored eggshell were stuck to his
mouth and snout. We finally understood what had happened: King,
while at the camp waiting for us to return, had sniffed out the eggs and
We rushed back to the hiding area and noticed, for the first time, little
bits of pastels shell scattered in the places we had hurriedly ripped
through earlier. Daddy went to an old lighter stump and reached down
in a crevice that was partially covered with grass. The chewed remains
of the prize egg, with bits of a dollar bill and tin foil, glinted in the sunlight.
We all four wailed forlornly, our Easter egg hunt was ruined! All those
beautiful eggs we had painstakingly colored and decorated were gone.
We didn't see the humor the situation at all. Only later did I come to
appreciate the absurd comedy of the whole day.
It was definitely a time when I learned one of those valuable Life lessons:
Never take a hungry dog on an Easter egg hunt!
The guilty culprit~King
Rose S. William
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I am what I am, no more, no less :) I love to write poems, stories, creative nonfiction pieces. I've lived in the Deep South all my life (Georgia & Florida) so much of my inspiration has a Southern slant to it :) I write what comes into my head, often through my heart. Writing is therapeutic and very necessary for me as a means of understanding the world and my place in it.