Leila S. Case: Live chicks and Easter baskets

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, March 24, 2016

The sign in front of Shiver Lumber Co. declares “baby chicks here soon” triggered memories of Easters past when our children were six and under and we lived in Athens.
On Easter morning, we mysteriously morphed into the Easter bunny before dawn, headed to the backyard barefoot and in our nightgown with a basket filled with brightly colored,  hard-boiled eggs. After tip-toeing through the wet, dewy grass to hide eggs, we slipped back inside to take the children’s Easter baskets out of secret hiding. Needless to say the three had already discovered the baskets, but never let on. They told on themselves years later.
Their Easter baskets were works of art decorated with huge fluffy bows, lined with shredded green cellophane grass, the famous chocolate bunnies with their names scribbled in white icing, plastic eggs filled with sparkling new white socks, scores of jelly beans, yellow marshmallow peeps, fluffy orange ducklings with tiny hats and an array of other sweets.
The middle child wailed if her basket didn’t have a chocolate egg with her name, but the tears didn’t last long before the basket’s contents were dumped in the middle of her bed and consumed before breakfast. Our only son, the youngest, wasn’t keen about Easter sweets and stashed them under his bed, only to be found gooey and half-eaten weeks or months later.
Immediately after waking and still in their pajamas, they grabbed the baskets and raced out to hunt eggs and the child who howled about the missing monogrammed chocolate egg always found the most eggs. I don’t remember her sharing the loot either.
Now mind you this was all accomplished before 8 o’clock and donning new duds for the Sunday school egg hunt and glorious Easter service at Emmanuel Episcopal, Athens.
Then there were the years their father brought home live baby chicks, their downy feathers all colors of the rainbow, bought at Cofer’s Seeds downtown. Oh, he must have picked up at least six or eight, bringing them home in a cardboard box for an Easter surprise.
The chicks were precious strutting their stuff and peeping. Unfortunately, they didn’t live long enough to lay eggs or become fried chicken for supper. They met their fate after only a few days. One year the cat next door took them away to play, never to be seen again; another year they froze overnight when the temperature suddenly dipped low.
The three children are now grown with children of their own but hopefully the bunny will bring Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, their names inscribed in white icing and dropped off at our house.
Out and about: Congratulations to Russell and Andrea Thomas who celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary and her 75th birthday this month at a lovely reception at the former Americus Country Club. During the evening, state Rep. Michael Cheokas recognized the couple, presenting them each with a signed proclamation from the Georgia House of Representatives in recognition of their contributions to the community and state. It was fun seeing many former residents: Ben and Tommye Easterlin, Ross King, Warren and Brenda Fortson, all of Atlanta, as well as the couple’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives: Anne Thomas, Angie and Russell Thomas III, Emily Anne Strickland, Sara Beth Wolcott, their husbands and children, Mary Frances Thomas, Ricky McDaniel, Emma and Jarrett Green McDaniel, Alexis Anderson, all of Reidsville, David Rogers of Valdosta and Casey and Trey Norton. Also Elizabeth and Alan Sullivan and daughter, Margo, Liz and Jay Sullivan and daughter Audrey, Atlanta, Meg and Jay Clark of Lake Harding, Ala., Nancy and Robert Bergin of Columbus, Eugenia and John Evans of Bethesda, Maryland, Carolyn Duke, Kim and Mark Fabian of Albany. Big congrats to Americus cooking team “Team Steer Crazy” for their second place win at the Gulf Coast Regional Chili Cook-off at St. George Island, Florida. I hear Anthony Dragoin and John “Butterbean” Dean stirred up some fantastic chili. Is this the same chili Dragoin serves at Roman Oven? Yes, but with a couple of secret tweaks. Accolades to Sumter Players’ “Man of La Mancha” cast and crew and its director Donna Minich that played at Rylander Theatre last week. And back by popular demand and bigger than ever is the Friends of the Rylander Theatre’s annual gala, “Remember When Rock was Young,” the Elton John tribute starring Craig A. Meyer and The Rocket Band in performance at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. Tickets are available at the theater’s box office on Lamar Street by calling 229-931-0001, or online at rylandertheatre.org. I hope see you there. Krystal Hannibal and her Macon County cousins Katina Kleckley, Adrian Wilson, Deneen Manning and N’Kema Cooper vacationed in Las Vegas and toured Hoover Dam, and Laura Sullivan spent a week at St. George Island with her brother and friends, enjoying oysters, bonfires, playing football on the beach and boogie boarding in the icy waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Leila S. Case lives in Americus.