Like that, only gold.

Like that, only gold.

I have this memory of being very young- probably around three years old- and going to an Easter egg hunt at the church my parents attended in Taos, New Mexico. Although the images are fairly clear in my mind, I can’t be sure whether this is actually a memory or whether it is a creative illumination that I’ve created based on stories that my parents told me while growing up.

The concept of an “Easter egg hunt” was a new one to me. I wasn’t sure how this game worked. The other kids all seemed to get it, but a lot of them were older than me. They were already running wild in an overgrown, open space behind the church while one of the grown ups from the church was trying to show me how it worked. He walked me over to a sagebrush and pushed the branches back to show me that there was a colored egg hidden underneath. The egg was dyed orange- I think it was a real, hardboiled egg but I don’t know for sure: before I could pick it up, or even touch it, another kid ran up and grabbed it. She had light colored hair and wore a light teal-y colored dress, and she was gone again before I even figured out what had happened.

“Oop- well, you’ll get the next one.” The grown-up assured me.

I was set loose into the egg-hunt fervor, basket in hand. I remember running around a bit, but the other kids all seemed to be bigger and faster than I was, and they seemed to already know where to look. I tried looking under sagebrushes, like the grown-up showed me, but if any eggs had been hidden there then the other kids had gotten to them first. I didn’t find any, and I started to get upset. I didn’t know if there were any left.

I must have started crying at some point, because another grown-up finally had mercy on me:

“No one has found the Golden Egg yet.” He said. “That’s the special one. It’s extra big and it’s gold.”

He pointed me in the direction of a courtyard area that was away from the open space where the other eggs had been hidden. There was a niche in the wall where there was a large wooden statue of Jesus on a cross that was closed off from the main yard by a metal gate. Something told me that I needed to look in that niche, by Jesus. That was where the Golden Egg would be.  I recall being very certain of this, that in some way it “made sense” to me even as a very small child. (It’s possible the grown-up prompted me to look there, but I don’t remember for sure).

Sure enough, there beneath Jesus’s wooden feet was a large goose’s egg, painted gold.

I don’t recall whether I was able to retrieve the egg myself or whether I needed help. I’m pretty sure that it was the only egg that I found, though, but that I was so pleased to have found it that I didn’t mind. I think the prize for finding it was a dollar, but money was meaningless to me then. The real prize was feeling like I’d found something special.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 20, 2014.

5 Responses to “Easter”

  1. WOW!!

    You weren’t even two yet! It was two days before Whit was born that we went to St. James for Easter and, yes indeed, you cried because all the other kids ran wild and left no eggs for you. But you found the golden egg and won the $1. I think the man (I can’t remember his name) pretty much pointed you right at the egg, and he did have to go behind a metal grate to get it. I think I may even have a photo of you near that cross (perhaps a few months later when you were baptized).

    We missed talking with you today for Easter. The day just whizzed by (as I’m guessing it did for you, as well….but for different reasons). Art, Emily and Susan were all home and it was a GLORIOUS day 76 degrees and sunny. Art got all the porch furniture out of the tree house and we sat outside for several hours. We planted seeds, working the gardens a bit and generally enjoyed the warm day. Then Grace came over and had dinner with us. We celebrated Susan’s birthday…had a flourless chocolate cake that was divine!!!

    I am worn out from a busy week…probably another feeling you can relate to. I hope all is well with you and that you were able to do something relaxing today. Thanks for relating that memory from long ago. It made me smile.

    Love you!


    • Wow, really? I didn’t realize I was that little at the time!
      We had a nice, laid back Easter at home- sorry that we weren’t able to be there with the family but it sounds like it was a great gathering 🙂 Clearly the Curmudgeonly Lion and I am missing Chicago because we made a special run to Buena Park yesterday to go to Portillos.
      Just a few more weeks of classes and then freedom!

  2. I remember an Easter egg hunt a bit later on in your life in the Taos yard when there was snow on the ground, and the hunt was a bit more challenging, but my memory is possibly faulty. I’ll bet there are photos! Love hearing about the hunt at the church. Happy Easter a day late. Love to you both!

  3. I have been wanting to participate in both egg and scavenger hunts for most of my life. Yet, as I get older, I start to feel an old man in me ready to snap with a “No! You’re too late! And, I don’t trust you!” because it’s been that long that since I feel I should have been participating…if that makes any sense to you. Age and isolation/a difficulty socializing is taking a toll on me. So, if someone I just met were to invite me to such a hunt, I’d be inclined to resist/examine and cross my arms from afar before engaging. But, there’s still a glimmer of the kid in me who still longs for the hunt.

    I think you were similar as a child (to myself). You weren’t the quick-hunting type. You weren’t interested in power/acquisition. And, the concept was a bit foreign to you. You wanted to play along but weren’t ready for “the fast lane” just as some drivers or aspiring drivers detest speedy highways. It’s similar to being challenged by a puzzle bigger than your brain can handle. The risk is deciding too soon to never try such a thing, again, because the first was too challenging. I find this with people and drawing and/or crossword puzzles. They won’t even try (without extensive encouragement and lowering myself) because the last time they experienced one/a similar activity, it was overwhelming. Thus, that aspiring part of their brain gets shoved aside.

    I think I was around 5 or 7 when I was introduced to money. And, it wasn’t much (regardless of the time period/era). I recall being given a dime or some pennies or maybe as much as two quarters when my family went for a drive to some bank. I didn’t even have a piggy bank to store it in. I was told to just hold onto it for someday. That’s my family for ya. Here’s a thought…now do something great with that, and I’ll be back to judge what you did. The next I ran into money, I was either trick-or-treating or getting a gift from a grandparent at Christmas. I am sure I gave someone the pennies from my trick-or-treat bucket and used grandma’s money for Garbage Pail Kids trading cards or a video game if I was lucky. I didn’t first get money savvy until I was 14 and duped my family into helping pay for a video game system they wouldn’t buy themselves. But, my “savvy” always seems to turn out prehistoric to those I meet.

    If you are a tall tale teller like I was as a kid…or a fantastic silly/fantasy tale conjurer like my sis, then it’s possible this WAS just one of those conjured tales. I cannot tell if it’s a vivid dream or not.

  4. Never mind; I see your own mom confirmed the story here. How nice it would be to be able to converse with my family that way instead of being afraid to even discuss what I did online with people outside the family because “those aren’t real people”. See? I am out of touch and outdated in so many ways. Too slow. Stubborn. Old before I was born but not wise or stable enough to keep up.

    Anyway, it happened. And, thanks for sharing the story.

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