Holiday Tradition: The Golden Egg

Growing up in a divorced family, I had double the holidays.  Two birthdays, two Christmases, two celebrations of just about everything.

However, even though most things could be duplicated, there were a few favorite holidays that the parents staked a claim to. For my mom, it was Thanksgiving and for my dad, it was Easter.

When I think back on my Easters, there are moments that stand out from the others – opening the door of my room on Easter morning to find those beautiful baskets from the Easter bunny…egg hunts…and, most especially, the glowing poems that accompanied THE GOLDEN EGG.

(Note: I’ve had 4 cups of coffee so there are going to be a LOT OF CAPS in this post…just sayin’…)

Let’s back up a little…you won’t understand the hallowed memory of THE GOLDEN EGG if I don’t give you a little history.

Short little 5’6” me is the youngest blond child in a dark-haired family of giants. My older brother was six foot tall in the SIXTH grade. I was never gonna be bigger, faster or taller. But by golly, I was always the quicker child when it came to anything in a book.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s 44 years-old now and he’s plenty smart and, at long last, he loves to read.  But back then my dad had to PAY that boy to read. I believe the going rate was ten cents per page. That manipulative little agent made a couple bucks every week doing what I loved doing for free. Like all writers, I read any time, any place, any book and this bartering for pages irked me.

What does this have to do with Easter, you might wonder?

Well, Easter weekend was always with my father (and with my big brother, who lived with him). I’d arrive on Good Friday and on Saturday morning, directly after breakfast, we’d break out all the egg decorating gear: dye, water, ramekins, decals, wax pens, hard boiled eggs. You name it, when it came to Easter eggs, we had it.

My brother and I would get busy on our own dozen eggs and we’d help my dad with half of his dozen. While we spent long minutes turning our 12-15 eggs into every bit of creative gorgeousness we could think of, my dad would be working his way toward perfection on THE GOLDEN EGG, which had a special place in our Easter tradition. There was only one golden egg per year and it belonged to my father.

The rules on Easter morning were that, once we opened our bedroom doors to our Easter baskets, we would each find the magic piece of paper that named our “territory” – the part of the house or the yard that contained our own dozen eggs.

(This is where greed entered the Easter picture. We didn’t know greed was a sin at that point…Easter morning was all about the hunt for cash.)

As we hunted the eggs in our zone of the yard or house, we would (hopefully) find all 12 eggs, along with the chocolate, jelly beans and TEN DOLLARS that accompanied them. Ten bucks was a lot back in the day – this was the 70’s and early 80’s. With inflation, that would be at least $20 today. This was serious incentive for a 10-12 year old.

We’d bring our stash to the breakfast table and chatter through the meal about the hunt. After breakfast, the Golden Egg Ceremony opened with my dad presenting an original poem to my brother and I.

Year after year, he came up with some creative rhyme about where the vaulted golden egg might be found. (Considering my father was a business, finance and economics professor, it’s pretty impressive, looking back on it.)

Mind you, he didn’t pick any pitiful slouchy places. He hid that egg well out of sight, usually behind at least one door, and covered up. One year it was folded up inside a yellow tablecloth in the linen closet. Another year it was in a gold colored glass Pyrex in the back of the refrigerator. I remember a different year when it was in an amber color highball glass up in the china cabinet.

Perhaps I remember THE GOLDEN EGG with such clarity all these years later because there was another $10 hidden with it. Perhaps I remember it because my dad behaved so out of character with his catchy little poems.

Upon further reflection, I believe the memories are so clear because this was the one competition my older brother NEVER won. He was frustrated, year after year, because his baby sister (future writer that I was) understood the beckoning song of words at an early age and snatched that damn egg out from under his nose every year.

My big brother even started following me around in an effort to elbow me aside and pilfer the prize from the high places that only he could reach. I look back with gratitude that my father thwarted these efforts, understanding that the quest for the Golden Egg should remain pure.

Somehow he understood that the little golden-haired gladiator who heard the song of his words should prevail, at least on that particular day of the year.

What are your favorite holiday memories? Were you that older sibling that would snatch the prize or the younger one that needed a little assistance in the competition? Are there traditions that you feel strongly about passing on to the next generation?

Remember, between now and May 17th, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat for the “Let’s Meet Up” Contest. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice.  Everyone who does not win a spot in the May webinar will be entered in the June webinar. Same thing for July. There are forty-five spots for the taking and I want to see one of them go to everyone who wants one.

See you on Monday for the More Cowbell Mash-up!
Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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10 Responses to Holiday Tradition: The Golden Egg

  1. amyshojai says:

    I LOVE THIS! (caps & caffeine here, too…) Three kids in my family, and each kid got a single Easter basket filled with the eggs we’d decorated and candy from Mom. I think she came up with the notion of the treasure hunt. We wouldn’t see the baskets at all until we had to hunt ’em down, using the “clues” she left that lead to each “next clue.” We got our first one at the breakfast table…and we were off and running! Our folks (career teachers) were all about creativity and using your brain so the clues weren’t always easy to figure out–and each kid got different ones. Looking back, that took a lot of time to do.

    Great post! And Happy Easter!

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  2. Shellie Sakai says:

    We did the clues as well. My brother and I had to search all over the house/yard looking for that elusive basket. My mom loved to read and passed it on to us. So the clues were particularly hard. I LOVED IT! (see 2 cups of joe and I do caps!)

    Thanks for sharing THE GOLDEN EGG. Makes me miss my dad!😀

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  3. Jenny Hansen says:

    Amy and Shellie,

    Your comments make me wonder…did all writers have creative parents? Certainly it seems like they got us to fire up the possibility part of our brains on Easter.

    As I decide how to do Easter for baby girl, it is sooooo much fun to hear all these traditions. Thank you!!

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  4. I didn’t grow up in a divorced family, but I had two, sometimes three, celebrations for every holiday. Anyway, we’d have one celebration at our house with mom, dad, me, and my older brother (13 years my senior). My brother nicknamed me “Brat” by the way. Next, we’d travel to the next town over, and have the holiday with my mom’s family at lunch – then back to my home town for a dinner celebration with my dad’s family. Yes, everyone lives within 20 miles of one another, except now I’m 5 hours away, and the only one that doesn’t live there. Anyway, I LOVED Easter: coloring eggs, the egg hunt, the monetary prizes my grandmother hid, the chocolate bunnies, and the food. I’d probably rank my fav holidays in this order: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter….

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  5. amyshojai says:

    I neeeeeeed some chocolate bunny ears. AGGGGGG!

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  6. Marie Trout says:

    Jen,
    I love how you keep hinting at stuff – drawing the reader’s curiosity onwards all the way through the piece!
    Well done!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Marie! And now you know that big brother of mine was an Easter bully back in the day.

      His post to me on Facebook about this? “Good story…and I STILL wouldn’t find that damn egg today…”

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  7. Laura Drake says:

    What a sweet story – interesting to hear another side to your father, too.

    My house? Nothing so innocent. We had Easter baskets laid out on the couch, like at Christmas. After church, the three of us played poker for the Jelly beans!

    Thanks for the reminiscing!

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