Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Springtime—what are your favorite memories? Betty Jo Schuler

Baby chicks in assorted colors, cuddly bunnies with wiggly noses, tulips bobbing their heads in the breeze, lilacs sweetening the air…these are a few of my favorite spring things…to remember.  Let’s take a look back in time.
Easter?  How much has yours changed?
Many years ago, baby chicks were dyed pastel colors and available for sale in dime stores and other places. I know that horrifies animal lovers today but seventy years ago, it wasn’t harmful to anyone’s knowledge, and those Easter chicks I got every year were well-taken-care of.  My daddy set up a light to keep them warm and food and water dispensers. When they needed more room, he built an outside pen and later, we took them to his sister’s farm where they prospered.
White bunny rabbits…one Easter my “boyfriend” (we were in fifth grade) brought me a really beautiful live bunny with a red bow around its neck. Yikes!  What should I do with it?  It was a baby taken from his family who was given a temporary abode until…Daddy to the rescue. He built a first-class hutch out back when Sweetie needed more room, and that bunny appeared to live a long happy life.
Setting the scene…Fragrant blossoms sweeten the air and bright green grass sways in the breeze. Spring brings new life and hope. And Easter egg hunts and baskets. Who doesn’t love dark chocolate rabbits, white chocolate crosses, marshmallow Peeps, Jelly Bellies, cream-filled eggs. And of course—the unofficial treats of the season, hard-boiled, beautifully decorated Easter Eggs.
For weeks ahead at our house, onion skins were saved and eventually eggs were boiled in a pot of water with those skins.  They turned beautiful shades from golden to mahogany.  My family and I were all convinced they tasted better—some unique aroma or flavor we couldn’t pin down.  Another procedure we used was pickling eggs to make them gorgeous and piquant. First, peel boiled eggs and pickle them in a jar of pickled beet juice. And same as most people, we also personalized Easter eggs by writing names with a white crayon on the shell before dipping them in a cup of food coloring, vinegar and water
My favorite egg to find in my basket was the panoramic spun sugar egg.  They are such a work of art.  Of course, I didn’t eat those.  They were treasures.
While we’re on the subject and skipping ahead, there was a family tradition of starting Easter dinner with egg fights. All in fun. You cracked one end of yours against one of the person’s next to you. It went around the table and once a participant’s egg was damaged on both ends, he or she was out of the game. The last “fighter” with at least one end intact is the winner.  I don’t remember any prize for that but it could be added the hilarity. Now we could eat!
 Dinner?  I doubt this was the highpoint of Easter Day for youngsters but it was delicious and slowed down the activity level for a short time. Baked ham glazed with cola and brown sugar topped with pineapple rings. (My mom made it sound like there was no secret to the way she fixed hers but no one else could ever make it as good.) I remember candied sweet potatoes, yeasty hot rolls and who knew what else, but one other memorable thing was the white multi-layer cake my grandmother made with fluffy 7 minute frosting--and wait for it—fresh shredded coconut gracing the top with a nest of jelly beans in the middle.
What do you remember?  Isn’t it wonderful to go back to Spring times of your youth?  Thanks for taking this short trip with me.
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Love seasons and special days in a small town? I grew up in one in Indiana.
LOVE IN A SMALL TOWN by Betty Jo Schuler
This cozy Small Town is one you'll want to visit, and stay right to the end.