Basket bonking and picture taking

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I hope that the weather cooperated with everyone’s Easter holiday activities. I remember being a little guy myself and how much anticipation I had for the egg hunts on Easter, and I can only imagine having to deal with rain cancellations.

In fact, some of my favorite family memories involve Easter weekend holidays at my grandmother’s house over in Leeco. My mother has five siblings, meaning my cousin count is high. In turn, family Easter Egg hunts were highly competitive and often times athletic competitions.

Even though my grandmother’s former house is just a modest country home when I look at it through adult eyes, it was enormous to me as a child. There always seemed to be more than enough space during holiday gatherings for all the women to convene in one area, the men in another, and the kids to run rampant or ride bicycles in the parking lot of what was once the country store that my grandparents operated out front. Time and decreased traffic turned the store into a storage shed full of heirlooms and artifacts that never caught my attention as a youngster, but I would give nearly anything to be able to walk through today and explore what it held 25 years ago.

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I could write a book about holiday exploitations that took place on that property, and perhaps the biggest chapter would be on Easter. Each year, dozens of eggs were purchased, boiled, and either dyed or cinched up in those little plastic wrappers that shrunk around to fit the eggs with cartoons on them. I don’t even know if they make those things anymore.

As a kid, you didn’t care about or want those, however. You wanted the colorful plastic ones, as they usually contained a treat of some sort other than a hardboiled egg. I have to say usually, because I am related to an unknown cruel and heartless soul who would place black jelly beans in eggs as a prize, and I have never considered those dreadful tasting things a treat in any way. To this very day, I believe that the production of black jelly beans should not only earn any guilty candy company a red flag from the Food and Drug Administration, but a deep and thorough audit from the Internal Revenue Service thrown in for good measure. 

Anyway, our drill was the same as pretty much everyone else then, before, or after. When all of the eggs were hidden, all of us youngsters were cut loose, and we trampled flowers, grass and trees in our race to gather a bigger pile of loot than our competing cousins. I was on the younger end of the cousin spectrum, so I was always at a speed disadvantage when it came to covering ground, and a height disadvantage when it came to snagging the eggs in higher spots such as tree limbs. Therefore, I had to get creative and resort to guerrilla tactics. 

I have come to name the go-to technique of my childhood for increasing the weight of my egg basket “Basket Bonking”. I would basically locate someone with a basket that was getting full of eggs, and position my own basket lower than theirs so that the top of mine was even with the middle of theirs. I would then look another direction and act distracted while I charged forth, bonking my basket into theirs just hard enough to tilt it up and let gravity assist some of the eggs from their basket down into mine. This was a good, solid tactic the few times I implemented it, but I could only use it once per hunt because the yelling, swinging and kicking at me alerted the other hunters that something was up, no matter how earnest my declarations of innocence. 

Looking back, I see that I was more of a “gatherer” than a “hunter” at this point in my young life before I took up actual hunting.  One good round of Basket Bonking (or two if I thought I could pull it off), and I had myself a successful gathering session—barring the discovery of a bunch of black jelly beans in my eggs. 

Fast forward to my mid-thirties, and I was once again at an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday. It is a good thing that my participation was limited to taking photographs, because I wouldn’t have stood a chance against the egg hunters at Bethel Christian Church, where I took the pictures for this week’s Religion page. The church had so many eggs laid out for the hunters that it would have had to storm for ten minutes for that many to rain down from a cloud. I chuckled when I saw that they had the hunting area sectioned off with yellow ‘Caution’ tape as a warning to prevent innocent passersby or roaming wildlife from getting trampled underfoot by the stampede. They even had a member of the Jessamine County Sheriff’s Department on hand to maintain law and order (and prevent Basket Bonking) on the field. After first cheering on his own little egg hunter, that is.

The hunt was a success, the egg hunters were happy, and I saw nothing but smiles all around from people enjoying the fellowship. I also saw no signs of chicanery such as Basket Bonking on the field. That’s good, as such drastic means and methods for egg hunting should only be resorted to and condoned in the dire straits of adversity. Or if one finds oneself in the desperate situation of carrying a basket loaded with plastic eggs containing nothing but black jellybeans.

I thank the members of Bethel Christian Church for their hospitality during my visit, and their assistance in naming the pictures. I also want to thank church elder David Gross for taking the time to visit with me about the church’s recently-returned bell. That is one fascinating story, and I loved being able to write about it. Look for it in the upcoming first issue of Jessamine Life magazine next month, and enjoy these April showers!