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I am remembering my cousin, Steve Oakley, on this morning before Easter. Our coloring eggs together is a favorite memory of mine, and I have very few childhood reminiscences in which he did not have a significant role. We would sit at our kitchen table and joyfully transform the dull hen’s eggs into a rainbow of Easter eggs, making a most iridescent mess for my mother to clean up afterwards.

The odor of vinegar would pinch our noses as we concocted the dye in containers that we gleaned from who knows where. Paper or Styrofoam cups were not readily available to us then. We often tried to create exotic colors by mixing hues and double-dipping the eggs, an effort that was largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Steve always had some innovative idea for designing unusual eggs, despite past failures.

Steve and I both owned Daisy BB guns, and one Easter weekend, he was suffering from a very red and swollen eye, the result of a ricocheting BB, but he still arrived as usual to help me color eggs. I can see him as plainly as if happened yesterday, dipping eggs and doggedly “enjoying” the activity. I was so upset about his eye, but he would not let our tradition go unobserved.

On Easter after Sunday School, my mother would hide the eggs in the vacant lot across the road from our house, and several of us would run wild in the tangled vinca vines and tufts of spring green grass, gleefully searching for them. After all the eggs had been found, we’d often hide them again, but eventually, we’d loll in the grass, drape ourselves over the steps, or sit on the porch and peel the Easter from the eggs. My mother would give us all a cold bottle of RC Cola, and the finder of the lucky egg received a quarter.

We were fortunate to be happy and uncomplicated children, growing up in a quiet, close-knit community. One of my favorite books is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but as I remember those Easters, I am convinced that Jem and Scout had nothing on us.

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