Hunting Easter Eggs by the Lake
Those of us who love lakes often connect them with the best memories of our childhoods.
My best childhood memories are of fishing, picnicking, and hunting Easter eggs by the small, manmade lake on the farm where I grew up.
My father had the lake stocked regularly with crappie and rainbow trout. Occasionally in the summer, Dad and I would try our hand at fishing. If we were successful, the family would celebrate with an old-fashioned fish fry.
Because Mom was squeamish, I would invariably clean and filet our catches. She and my grandmothers would do the rest. By evening, at picnic tables set in the shade of walnut trees, we would enjoy deep-fried fish in buttermilk batter and other Southern summer staples like corn on the cob, cornbread, coleslaw, and for dessert, watermelon.
In addition to fish, our small lake was home to a small flock of crested ducks. A type of domesticated duck bred from mallards, crested ducks have odd little feather top knots. Ours were small, mild-mannered birds with soft, patterned feathers that seemed to hold every shade of brown imaginable.
One time we decided to expand our little lake’s duck population with White Pekins from a neighboring farm. The new ducks did not stay for even a single day! I can still see them, waddling side by side down the dirt road that led from our house to the farm next door.
My best memories of the lake were in the spring, when we celebrated Easter there. The tall grasses by the lake shore and the duck hutches were ideal for egg hunts.
Carrying woven baskets lined with grass, my cousins and I would take turns hiding and finding the boiled eggs we had colored before church. Both the hiding and the hunting were a challenge, thanks to the dogs and the ducks.
We had to work fast to beat the dogs, who would snatch our eggs whenever they got a chance. Then, tales wagging, they would hold them between their paws, peel them with their teeth, and eat them quick as a wink.
Sometimes the ducks would find our eggs and sit on them. Or they’d would climb right into our baskets and sit. We thought it was hilarious. Giggling, we’d shove them off or reach under them to retrieve our eggs.
Although the farm is gone─ I think it is an airport now─ the fine spring days I spent there by the lake remain unchanged in my memory, as do the happy days of everyone who remembers their childhoods by the lake.