It’s hard to imagine something that blossomed out of ironic sibling rivalry becoming an annual tradition. Three years ago, in epileptic nostalgia, my mother asked my brother and I to duel in an egg hunt. It quickly became a wrestling match. Now, later and older, the games have evolved. Instead of candy, there are Starbucks gift cards.
I bit someone this year.
My uncle and his family came from Kentucky to celebrate Easter with us, which bumped the combatants up to nine. In the grand Trumbo tradition of speaking unnecessary animosity into a competitive situation, my parents began to spread a rumor that Holly and I had been strategizing for several weeks. My Kentucky cousins came with ten-gallon buckets instead of baskets, threatening to use them as weapons. All Holly and I brought were matching purple v-necks.
The games began with a whistle and the nine of us spread out in a jog, looking for eggs. Last year, Holly pioneered the brilliant strategy of allowing other players to collect eggs before stripping them of their baskets. We came with oversized fanny-packs strapped to our bodies. The only trouble Holly had was a Kentucky cousin who climbed on her back to get a hand in her fanny-pack. I, on the other hand, feared no one and paid a dear price for it.
Whilst scouring a grass patch for missed eggs, my back to the world and my guard dropped, my brother – shirtless and in short shorts – a man who didn’t even bother to bring a basket for the egg hunt – speared me in the back and tackled me into the mud. I lost several of my eggs (the fanny-pack was unzipped) and I had to change out of my church jeans into a pair of my father’s pleated khaki shorts.
Later, as we broke open eggs together on the back porch and read off the notes inside – McDonald’s gift card! Ten dollars cash! – we realized that, despite having opened all the eggs, there were still several unclaimed prizes. In a shared revelation, the nine of us sprinted to the front yard and began looking desperately for the last eggs. I found one behind the brake pad of a parked car.
I struggled to get my fingers through the hub cab, imagining a Chick-fil-a card awaiting Holly and I. In the final moments of my effort, when the egg was within my grasp, my twenty-year-old cousin jumped on my back, stealing the egg at the last minute.
That’s when I bit him.
And then Holly dropped a knee on his ribs.
The Egg Games can be brutal, but the rewards are great. However, the particular egg in question only had a Reece’s Cup.