Category Archives: Holidays

Egg on my Face

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My family believed in celebrations because those always came with food. And while the food itself was scrumptious, the whole scenario of sitting around, catching up on each other’s week, and relaxing with a cup of coffee and a slice of key lime cake was the real draw that partnered well with holidays. But even my mom had limits on the merrymaking, and one of those involved the Easter Bunny.

This is the way we roll in my family ... and this is only a portion of the offerings

This is the way we roll in my family … and this is only a portion of the offerings

The Easter Bunny was a festive icon that was never embraced in the Carver household. Even as a child, I always knew that the chocolate covered marshmallow rabbits that crossed the door were the compliments of the Dollar General and never the bounty received from an overgrown hare capable of bipedal locomotion while carrying a wicker basket filled with plastic, green grass. Sure, he was cute, but as the product of an agrarian society, he was also a tough sell. I mean, come on. Rabbits don’t lay eggs, and if he was peddling stolen goods, then he would have needed the help of a raccoon or a fox since those were the miscreants that farmers had to chase out of the henhouse. Bunnies never did much more than sneak into a garden and work over your squash blooms before their time, and you didn’t see them laden with multicolored vegetables.

The origins of an Easter basket sans rabbits

The origins of an Easter basket sans rabbits

But I do remember one Easter egg hunt that lives on in that file I have marked “Childhood Memories.” It was the year I found the prize egg. As an eight year old, I was at the peak of my egg-scouting skills, since I was still childish enough to run without fear of being labeled “uncool,” and yet, I was also smart enough to realize that the best eggs weren’t going to be perched on the church sign out front. If you wanted any chance of landing that Holy Grail of poultry products, you had to be willing to crawl, to dig, and to elbow when the chaperones weren’t looking. And I wanted that prize egg in the worst way. The year before the kid who had landed the prize egg received a blow-up bunny that was almost as tall as I was. You could hold its paw and take walks with it or simply bring it along and recount your victory to all of your friends who stood there coveting your carbon dioxide friend. So you can imagine my feelings of triumph when I fought my way into the bowels of a behemoth Cedar tree and wrapped my little mitts around that champion’s egg. I clutched that plastic trophy, formerly packing for women’s pantyhose, and wiggled my way back out, a little scratched for the effort but reveling in my glee.

The moment was short-lived. When it came time to take the winner’s podium, I was informed that the prize was inside the egg itself. I cracked open that egg to find a lousy five dollar bill, and my dreams of the giant bunny died. My great prize was fated to slip through the slot in the top of my owl bank, and a part of me felt the injustice of dozens of scratches all for something as ignominious as money. Prize egg indeed.

So I think between the egg hunt and faulty logic behind the Easter bunny itself, my focus will have to remain on the spiritual aspects of the day. But I’ll still buy lots of discounted chocolate bunnies the day after.

 

© 2014 – Traci Carver

Snow Daze

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I had to look through my window yesterday to make sure the four horsemen of the apocalypse weren’t galloping this way. I swiveled my head in every direction and even listened for hoof beats, but once I was sure I didn’t need to stock up on bottled water, beef jerky and flashlights, I gave thought to the matter at hand. School was being canceled for the next two days. The reason? Snow days.

For those of you who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I’m sure those two words are part of your winter vocabulary. Not so for those of us who are still slathering on SPF 45 during the month of December. When we hear that particular grouping of syllables together, the effect couldn’t be any more magical than a UFO sighting or any more mysterious than the high ratings of the Kardashians’ show.  When you say “snow day,” you might as well say, “particle accelerator,” for all the hands-on experience we southerners have. And as for “ice on the roads,” we don’t even waste a brain cell on figuring that one out; we just close the front door and fire up the DVD player. Who needs tire chains when you have hot peppermint tea and Season Seven of Burn Notice?

All the supplies you need to survive a bitter snow day

All the supplies you need to survive a bitter snow day

But while adults are squeamish about this concept, children are still innocent enough to embrace its purity. Snow days mean vacation to them, and no amount of wet blankets in the form of pending assignments or an extended school term in May will smother their enthusiasm. When the students at my school learned that they were being allotted two extra days midweek to sleep in and snuggle under blankets, they greeted the news like the second coming of Christmas. Heralds raced up and down halls delivering the good tidings of great joy, and shouts of glory rang out as more and more worshiped at the altar of precipitation.

Their unadulterated glee reminded me of my freshman year in college. As a native Floridian on a Kentucky campus, I was holding my breath in anticipation of a blizzard and was disappointed to learn that big snows only blew in once every few years. Light snowfall, though, was still within my four year plan, and as soon as I heard the word “flurry” one December afternoon, I tore out the side door of my dormitory and stood on the lawn with all the other Sunshine State halfwits, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue and my mittens. Life was bliss until I encountered my first ice patch on the sidewalk and nearly broke two bones standing up. My infatuation with frozen air has never been the same since.

But as I watched the teenagers and children racing towards the parking Tuesday afternoon, book bags flailing and grins arching across their faces like inverted rainbows, I remembered that childlike hope of snow days. And I hoped for their sake that dreams would come true.

And here's what a snow day looks like in my part of the world.  Notice the glaring lack of snow . . .

And here’s what a snow day looks like in my part of the world. Notice the glaring lack of snow . . .

© 2014 – Traci Carver

Ships and Bent out of Shape

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I don’t know how you rang in the New Year, but I was dropping bombs and waging war. I know what you’re thinking: why not just make a few resolutions that will go belly-up by February and eat black-eyed peas like the rest of the population?  Why spend the evening trying to draw a bead on someone else’s submarine when I could be drinking the last of the eggnog?  The only reason I can offer you is because I am competitive to the point of needing a prescription and because I couldn’t stand the thought of losing to a six year old with an uncanny ability to sniff out my destroyer. If I was going down, it’d be with torpedoes blazing.

I humbly confess to you that this is exactly how the war stood from my side

I humbly confess to you that this is exactly how the war looked from my side

Battleships was one of many games I played with Timothy during my three day stay. With his parents out of town and his big brother off to deliver pizzas, I felt compelled to do something with the little tyke that would drag him away from a TV screen before retinal scarring set in. So we played Sorry!, Connect 4 Toy Story style, and even Tri-Ominos, but once we set up our plastic ships and the white and red pellets started flying, I knew I’d met my match.

“D3,” Timothy said in a voice that was almost as high as his hair. He’d been tossing missiles my way for some time, and he’d finally flushed out my carrier.

“Hit,” I said, as he gave a modest exclamation of triumph and I added a red pellet to my ship. “How about G8, Tim?”

He scanned his ocean and replied in the negative. “You sure are getting a lot of misses.”

“I am indeed. Your turn.”

“D2.”

Sigh. “Hit.” And another red pellet to an already bleeding ship. “H4?”

“Miss.” He fished out another white pellet and let me know for the third time that he was running short on Caucasian pegs. “That’s because you’re getting a lot of misses,” he clarified.

“You’ve said that before. A few times, in fact. Now call your shot.”

“D1.”

“Hit and sunk.” He was an entire ship ahead of me, and if I didn’t find that dinky patrol boat of his soon, this war would be over, and I’d be an occupied nation under a dictator who demanded eggs for breakfast and thought bathing was an optional activity. “J7.”

“Miss.  You sure are getting . . .”

“Yes, Tim, I know. Now make your call.”  At least he still need to locate my submarine, so I had time to redeem myself.

“A6.”

Make that had time to redeem myself.  “Hit.”

He did a chair dance and three nuclear weapons later, it was all over but the fallout. As I sat surveying the board with my head in my hands, I could see how he had craftily hidden his patrol boat in the backwaters of the southeastern quadrant, but that still didn’t explain how a kid with little more than a handful of birthday digits under his belt and even fewer cuspids came equipped with such devastating military prowess. And watching him race around the room and then fling his slender body headlong into an oversized pillow reserved for their dog did nothing to shed enlightenment on the subject. So as I packed up the pellets and secured the ships in their self-contained oceanic boxes, I decided this was just a matter of you win some, you lose some. Tim understood this premise perfectly: you win some games; you lose some teeth. This is life and you might as well enjoy yourself along the way.

When unoccupied by the Royal Hound, this makes an excellent spot for a nose dive

When unoccupied by the Royal Hound, this makes an excellent spot for a nose dive

A replica of the dance performed by the new czar (minus the teeth, of course) after my fleet went up in a blaze of glory

A replica of the dance performed by the new czar (minus the teeth, of course) after my fleet went up in a blaze of glory

© 2014 – Traci Carver