by Barbara Thompson Young
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Not For Sale
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The Easter season is a special time of year; winter's cold and dreary days are crowded out by the sun’s warmth. Nature reveals tangible signs of promise of new life for everyone and everything.
But the Easter season of my eleventh year did not seem special, to me. It was clouded over by my father’s emergency surgery where doctors removed half of his stomach. It was the day before Easter when Dad returned home from the hospital, where my mother had been advised to keep the atmosphere “peaceful and tranquil” to help further his healing.
A peaceful and tranquil atmosphere! Ha! We were seven children and two adults trying to survive life in a four-room, upstairs apartment with no inside bath facilities. So much for peace and tranquility! Mom did her best, however, to keep her rambunctious brood quiet. With five of the seven being boys, her patience was put to the test.
On that same day in 1957, Mom’s youngest brother, George, paid us a visit. It was perfect timing. Mom needed someone to drive to the “egg lady’s” house a couple of miles away and purchase seven dozen eggs. I knew where she lived, so I was chosen as the one to go with Uncle George.
We were a poor family, and this was a major purchase, even with eggs costing forty-five cents a dozen. Half the eggs would be donated to our church’s egg hunt; the other half would be ours. Even my frugal mother knew that Easter eggs were as important to her children, as Sunrise Service was for her.
Uncle George and I bought the eggs, then headed back home. I wanted to carry the sack of eggs. The outside stairs to our apartment was steep, with an open hand rail. I took each step decidedly and cautiously, that led to the door at the top of the landing, for mom had warned, “Barbara, you had better not drop those eggs!”
Perhaps it was her warning echoing in my mind, but suddenly I tripped and lost my balance. In one moment in time Uncle George caught me, and we watched as the sack hit the ground. Open egg cartons lay scattered all over the lawn. We rushed back down, only to find that not one egg had survived the fall.
Fear pounced on me like a tiger who had captured his prey. Even on a ‘good’ day I dreaded my mother’s quick temper. This was not a good day. My father needed a peaceful atmosphere and I had stirred up a storm. How could I tell her that I had broken not some, but all of the eggs, all eighty-four.
Romans 8:28 must have been working for me that day. It says, in part, that “in all things God is working for the good of those who love him.” Mom was furious that I had broken all the eggs and threatened to beat me. She let me know that because of dad’s condition, she was going to spare me the beating. The rising storm quickly subsided.
Mom sent us to buy more eggs. This time, Uncle George’s strong
arms carried the eggs safely up the steps and presented them to Mom. She, in turn, boiled them and transformed them into lovely, oval treasures of pink, purple, blue, yellow, and green.
There was no money for such luxuries as Easter baskets, but the next morning, before we children dressed for Sunday School, Mom gave each of us a clean, plastic cottage cheese container filled with those treasures.
I call them treasures because that year, the eleventh year of my life, those were no ordinary eggs. They were treasures...in more ways than one.
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What a story! When you said: "The outside stairs to our apartment was steep", you had perfectly introduced the excuse that you'd break the eggs. From that statement, I responded, "Oh No, the poor girl is going to break the eggs!" Over eighty eggs! I blame uncle George, he ought not to have allowed you, just at 11, carry the extremely fragile load, leave alone up steep stairs. A moving piece indeed! God bless.