I arrived at my parents' house Saturday afternoon to help prepare for Easter Sunday dinner. I brought the children with me, because they love visiting (and harassing) Grandmama and Grampy Grumpy.
Grampy was on the back deck and he started waving his hands around like he was warding off the devil when he saw us. "The kids can't come through here!" he said. "I've already hidden Easter eggs for tomorrow. Go around to the front door."
So we did.
"Grampy is taking this very seriously," I told Grandmama.
"I made a map, so we can be sure the kids have found all the eggs," she said.
"Grampy doesn't hide eggs that well," my Sassy Saint opined.
"Don't hide eggs that well?" Grampy scoffed. "When I was hiding them, I found one from last year that you kids didn't find."
Meanwhile, Grandmama and I were busy boiling eggs and potatoes and hacking up chicken and ribs. With Easter coming so late, we decided to have a barbecue. We left them to their squabbling.
My contributions were a homemade orange marmalade barbecue sauce (in which we slow-cooked a rack of ribs) and baked beans and bacon. Grampy actually noticed the beans were set too high and rescued them from being burned, because "I didn't want to read a column about how I burned your beans."
We returned on Sunday with the Long Suffering Husband in tow. This time, we went straight to the front door to preserve the sanctity of Grampy's egg-hunting grounds.
Grampy incorporated new rules this year: The children would have staggered starts, with my youngest nephew, Fatty Lumpkins, going first. After two minutes, his older brother, the Heathenish, would go, and two minutes after that, my Little Professor, followed by Sass. The children would only be allowed to bring back one egg at a time and anyone caught "camping," or following another child in the hopes of snatching an egg from under their nose, would forfeit the prize to Grampy.
The new rules cut the arguing down significantly, but made picture-taking more difficult for myself and my sister, Foo-Dog, as the boys raced back and forth in an effort to get the most eggs.
The kids needed a few nudges. The little ones passed back and forth beneath several egg-bearing tree branches without noticing. The boys had a tendency to make a cursory sweep of the leaves caught near the fence - a favorite hiding spot for Grampy - while a more savvy Sass came through behind them and uncovered eggs they had missed.
I found myself puzzled however, when Grampy was playing hot and cold with the Professor as he scrabbled around under a bush.
"You're on fire!" Grampy proclaimed.
Only there wasn't anything there. I said as much.
"Move the leaves," Grampy suggested.
The Professor did, only to reveal bare ground.
"Dig around a little."
That's right, Grampy crawled under a bush, dug a hole, dropped the egg in it, filled it in with dirt and covered it with leaves. Not once, not twice, but nearly half a dozen times. I was speechless with laughter. At least he put dollars in the buried treasure eggs.
I wonder if one would have sprouted a plastic bush, had they gone unfound.
"And Sass said I wasn't any good at hiding eggs," said Grampy.
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)