By Norris Chambers

            When I look back at the many Easters I have survived I think of one when Clifton and I were in about the sixth grade. The country schools always had a big decorated egg hunt on one of the Easter holidays. Everyone brought eggs to hide and hunt and other goodies to enhance the taste of the colored morsels. This particular egg hunt was enjoyed on the green and grassy banks of Turkey Creek. Some of he boys carried fishing lines to squeeze a little more fun out of the gala occasion! Clifton and I planned a little extra fun in a different sort of way.

            Our mischievous minds began to think of some harmless pranks that would be suitable for an Easter egg hunt. After all, Easter is not too far from April fool’s day and it is always a good idea to do a little warming up for the big show!

            One of the first ideas that we entertained was to alter the egg. There are many ways that a boiled egg can be converted into something unexpected.  The egg could be filled with cement, plaster of paris, el skunko perfume or just filled with water. We didn’t waste any time deciding. We just started on the first choice, filling the egg shell with cement. This would add unexpected weight when the finder picked it up and if an attempt were made to crack it and examine the inside it would require more than a rap on a tree trunk.

            The idea tool for altering eggs is a large hypodermic needle, such as one used for large animals. We found a nice supply of them in the blacksmith shop, complete with a selection of different size needles. We drilled a very small hole in the small end of the egg and removed all of the soft contents. This left an intact egg shell with nothing inside. We then mixed some cement without adding any sand, making the mixture as thick as the plunger would force it through the needle. We filled the egg completely with the mixture and carefully smoothed the injection hole.

            Clifton commented, “You’d never know it has been changed. When it’s decorated it will look as good, or better, than the others.” I agreed with him. It was very heavy and would arouse immediate curiosity when lifted. We made about a dozen cement eggs.

            When we went to town we always spent a little time in the trick shop. You could find all sorts of irritating things there that were a lot of fun for those using them. There might not have been as much fun for those on the other side of the trick. We had a pretty good stock of tricks. Among them was a large bottle of “El Skunko” perfume. Just a small amount of it would make a whole room stink and the odor was not pleasant.

            Why not take out a portion of the raw egg inside the shell and insert a generous amount of the El Skunko. Anyone cracking the egg would surely get enough on the hands or clothes to serve as a smelly person to be avoided! We prepared a few of those goodies for the big egg hunt.

            We discussed making a form and casting some lead eggs but finally decided that there would be too much work involved. I suddenly thought of something that might be a little bit funny. Why not take everything out of the shell as we had done for the cement and fill it with thick sorghum molasses. Nothing can irritate you more than sorghum on your hands. When the lucky finder cracks the egg he is almost certain to get some of the good old syrup on his hands. We had plenty of syrup and plenty of eggs so we made another dozen of those.

            The next step was to do a superb job of decorating so the hunter would gladly pick up his find and later explore its contents.

            With a brimming sack of beautiful eggs we joined the others who were distributing the little jewels in the fresh green grass, around tree trunks and anywhere else where they would be considered hidden but still be in position to be easily found.

            One of the teachers blew a starting whistle and the wild hunt began. Most of the hunters had a bucket, basket or sack and began harvesting the generous egg crop. There were a few candy eggs among the goodies but most were decorated farm eggs. Most of the egg decorators had access to eggs but candy morsels required cash. Money was a scarce commodity during those big depression days.

            When the hunt was over the participants gathered in little groups and sat on the grass where they would inspect their loot. Before long there was some loud complaining as cement eggs wouldn’t break or a beautiful egg filled a relatively clean hand with sorghum molasses. The loudest and angriest sounds came from the area where an El Skunko egg was opened. The unlucky finder was an outcast for the rest of the afternoon.

            Were these egg hunts fun? Clifton and I thought so. We didn’t get molasses or El Skunko on us.