Sunday, March 23, 2008

goosin Younguns

Is there anything more fun that goosing younguns? If you know of something, I'd like to hear about it. We don't have kids but we have a slew of nieces and nephews and I've goosed more kids that the law will allow. My back is feeling much better today which allowed me to get out and about and for that I'm thankful.
I did my Easter column in the paper today and I'm going to post it here.
I hope you've all had a great day.

The Daily Mountain Eagle Published March 23, 2008 12:53 AM CDT
My mom loves holidays. Christ-mas, Labor Day, the 4th of July all hold special meaning for her. She came from a large family with 13 kids, and all of them were big on holidays. Each year we celebrated holidays at the homes of our aunts and uncles. When all the kids, grand kids, cousins and other family members converged, parking became perilous. We spent each Easter at Aunt Edra Mae’s house. She had a big farmhouse on the other side of Jasper and her yard was the perfect place to have a massive Easter egg hunt. Everyone would start arriving immediately after church dressed in their Easter frocks, hats, new pants and shiny shoes. When we were all in the yard together, we were more colorful than a jar full of jelly beans.

She had a Spinning Ginny in her yard. A Spinning Ginny is a homemade merry-go-round. Uncle Herman had cut down a hickory tree in their yard and left a stump sticking up out of the ground that came almost to my waist. He had a board about eight inches wide and about 12 feet long attached to the stump with a huge metal spike. It looked like a big propeller sticking out of the ground. Kids would get on both ends of the board and other kids would proceed to spin them around. I personally have spun so fast that the skin on my face drew up tight like one of those centrifugal force machines they use to train astronauts. When I stepped off the Ginny, I staggered around as if I had drunk a quart of hard liquor.

Like all the family gatherings, we had a feast. Each of my aunts tried their best to outdo the others by cooking up chicken and dressing, hams, yams and potato salad. I am convinced you could not have bought a better cake – for any price.

After lunch, all the men would haul about a thousand multi-colored eggs out to hide. Every kid tried their best to get a look out a window to see where the prize eggs were being hidden.

The ritual included gathering all the kids to get on the front porch while Uncle Herman explained the boundaries and ground rules. He took his sweet time, which drove the kids to a frenzy. At last, he would announce – “let ‘em go.” Once he gave the command, God help anyone between the kids and the eggs.

Usually the grown-ups passed the hat before the hunt and collected a hefty sum of cash for the one that found the most eggs. I had a cousin who was a ruthless egg hunter. His strategy was full-contact seek and destroy. If you both locked on to the same egg, you could expect a brawl. He could bully all but a few hunters. My mom was one he could not intimidate and she would whack any kid that was not mindful of egg hunting etiquette.

She loved hunting Easter eggs but she did not hunt for herself; she helped the little kids fill their baskets. She would always pick the underdog child who arrived a second too late only to have their eggs scarfed up by a bigger, faster kid.

Once she picked out the kid she wanted to help, she would shadow them and give them hints. She never picked up the eggs, because that would have taken the fun out of it for the child, but she made sure they found their share. She was not above doing a little blocking and subterfuge to sidetrack the bigger kids long enough to ensure the underdog could bag some eggs.

Nowadays, she does not get around well, so she usually sits on the porch in the warm sunshine and silently watches. I can usually pick out the child she would like to help, so when the hunt begins, I make sure that kid gets their share of eggs. I always know if I have been successful by the smiling faces of the child, and my mother.

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