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Hill Country Living

By Coulter Fussell

It was looking like Easter weekend was going to be a rainy, cold and miserable dud but, at the last minute, the clouds cleared and our corner of the universe burst forth a full display of the perfection that is springtime in North Mississippi. As the “He Is Risen” yard signs turned around, so did the weather and Sunday could not have been a prettier day.

My kids attended a couple of Easter Egg hunts. My sixth grader is completely over it. He’s no longer interested at all in Easter Egg hunting and would rather play basketball or toss the football with some other bored males (and there’s always a few) through the entire ordeal.

My third grader, on the other hand, has entered his peak year for egg hunting. See, he falls into a demographic among the neighborhood kids where he, for a long time, was the only one in his specific age group. Everyone was either older or younger than him, leaving him as the perpetual little brother who is good with babies. It works pretty well for him, getting to tag along with the older kids or get spoiled with the smaller kids. He walks the line well and exists comfortably in limbo. That is, until it’s time for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. 

For years, he wasn’t quick or agile enough to get the eggs before the big kids and he wasn’t mean enough to pick up the eggs clearly meant for the babies, a kindness the big kids would never extend to him. So there he was every Easter, standing alone with an empty basket in the vortex of the swirling tornado of happy children, frustrated and kicking the ground. 

He would leave the Easter Egg hunts angry at the world, a full-on nihilist and a pessimist about the meaning of his own place in this world. He declared egg hunts “dumb” and said they “don’t make sense” due to rabbits not laying eggs, much less weird eggs clearly drawn on by children. Every year he said he wasn’t going to participate again and one year he actually followed through on that, watching from the sidelines with a scowl and a Capri Sun.

This year, though; the Golden Egg. He knew going into this hunt that a couple of the older kids had tapped out due to maturity and that he had a fighting chance. He wore a tank top for extra mobility and made sure his WalMart bag had no holes through which any egg could fall. 

I could go into every quick move, every strategy I saw him implement, which at one point looked like a buddy system that I imagine is possibly erring on the side of cheating. But I’ll just say my child was determined; he had the facial expression of a hawk scanning the field. He sweated so much his hair became a spike and his broken thumb acquired in a recent weight-lifting incident began to swell. But, nonetheless, he persisted.

And he found one of the Golden Eggs. And the dollar inside? He gave it to his friend. Apparently, the internal glory was enough. Either that or it was the semi-illegal buddy-system pay-off for helping him find a basket full of eggs. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday and that, in y’all’s own way, whether by egg hunt or otherwise, your own personal figurative yard sign turned around. 

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