Tilly lassoed her waist with the bright red apron springs and smiled contentedly. Finally, it was her turn. It seemed to take decades for Mike and Susan, Danny and Laura to make their obligatory holiday rounds throughout the year. Tilly normally remained stoic in the face of her children’s empty seats at the dining table, but the babies were another matter altogether. The grandmother ached to hear squeals of laughter and the pounding of little feet throughout the house. Plus, she delighted in watching her children’s efforts at parenting little knee-highs of their own.
Tilly peered over the stove into three large pots containing a hundred eggs scheduled to be brightly decorated that day. Five-year old Missy, three year old Darren and two year old Sasha would hunt for them in grandma’s lavish back yard, then place the treasures in baskets specially handcrafted for each of them by the “great spoiler.”
Delectable smells of homemade rolls on the rise, chocolate cake and thickly frosted yellow bunny cookies permeated the kitchen. Tilly brushed back her brown curly hair streaked with cords of silver, snatched up the fireplace sparker and marched toward the living room. Soon the crystal vases lining the fireplace mantle and placed decoratively throughout the room, would emit a soft glow of welcome, amidst a light scent of Tahitian Vanilla.
The doorbell chirped suddenly and was followed by rapid pounding on the door. Tilley’s green eyes widened in excitement as she sprinted through the arched entryway. She cracked open the door and peered out teasingly.
“G-MA!” squealed little voices as small arms and legs flailed in all directions, barging through the door and tackling their grandmother.
“Hey, Mom.” Darren stated flatly, leading the other parental units past the tangle of bodies.
“Settle down”, Susan charged sternly. Tilley had the uneasy feeling the rebuke was not directed entirely at the children.
“Let the festivities begin,” she chuckled inwardly.
“Oh, G-MA! These are so bee-U-Teee-FUL!” Missy crooned, sitting back later that morning after placing the last fluorescent egg in its crate. The children folded little blue, pink and purple hands in their laps. Tilly chuckled. Earlier, the girls had begun the task by curling their fingers down into the bowls of dye and holding them poised as if customers at a nail salon. They had stared wide –eyed as Tillie roared uncontrollably.
Later in the afternoon, as crumpled napkins, rolls in various stages of consumption and empty green-been casserole dishes littered the dining room table, a child’s scream jerked the woozy adult bodies awake. Tilly lept over her light green ottoman to arrive first in the kitchen. Missy stood at the counter, holding the crushed blue remains of a Easter eggshell. Gooey yellow gunk oozed down her arm and cascaded across the little girl’s brand new Easter outfit.
“EEEUUUUWWWWWW!” the parent sets hollered, cramming into the doorway.
“How did that happen?” Tilly exclaimed. She moved to Missy’s side to wipe away the gunk and shattered shell bits. The stove must not be working!”
As everyone watched, Susan reached for a green egg from the tray and struck it lightly against the sink. It disintegrated as well, seeping yellow goo. “They’re ALL like this!” she cried.
Reality hit and the room fell silent. Plans for a merry egg hunt were crushed now too, like the eggs, along with the traditional spring family photo-op.
“You know, my little heartbeats,” Tilly soothed, “This is a good lesson for us all.” She sensed shoulders stiffen next to her.
“You see, sometimes in life God has to turn up the heat to make something great out of us. Just like these eggs. When the eggs are in the refrigerator, they’re cold, waiting to be used. That keeps them from spoiling - as long as they’re not in there too long! But look at these eggs. They were just kind of warmed up a little. They look real pretty, but actually, they’re of no use at all. And, look at what mess the yuggy yolks can make!”
“She DIDN’T!” Mike hissed in his sister’s ear, his eyes wide with accusation. She’s been on that ‘get back in church kick’ for a long time. You don’t think… She WOULDN’T!”
Laura arched her eyebrows as the couples started to back out of the kitchen. Tilly seemed to be scrubbing and staring a little too intently at the yellow goo on Missy’s dress.
“NAW.” Danny whispered, but disappeared quietly around the corner all the same.
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