From Pipi's Pasture: Remembering the sugary Easter eggs

This morning, I noticed how much snow has melted in the yard and in the fenced area where we keep the hay and plant the garden. These areas of the property are bordered by Pipi’s Pasture, and they’re where our grandchildren have hunted Easter eggs in past years.

“Past years” indeed! Our grandchildren have grown up. However, that doesn’t stop me from buying Easter candy for them. So, this past week I was checking out the Easter candy and other goodies at the grocery store, and I found myself remembering Easter when I was a young child growing up on the ranch.

On Easter morning, we found candies and little toys in our baskets. If weather permitted, my siblings and I found the baskets in the barn or on some of the big rocks in the thicket of scrub oak, chokecherry or serviceberry bushes just behind the house. If there was a lot of snow left, the baskets were hidden in the house — one time in the flour bin.

Our parents purchased the baskets already made up. The large, colorful baskets were covered with cellophane that was tied with a big pastel bow. We kids thought they were the most beautiful things we had ever seen, and we didn’t even open them for awhile. Charlotte, Darlene and I were just content to look at them.

Our brother Duane was born when I was 14, so he remembers his Easter basket a little differently. He said he was pretty sure that Mom and Dad filled it themselves, and there was always a comic book in the basket.

As I recall, my Easter basket had a coloring book and crayons in it and maybe some other little toys. The coloring book was positioned in the back part of the basket with a chocolate rabbit in front of it. That rabbit probably was the most treasured part of the basket’s contents.

Popular during those days were little chicks or hens, small versions of stuffed animals. They were made from a fuzzy yellow, white or orange fabric and had wire feet that allowed them to stand up. I remember finding at least one of these birds in my basket.

And then there was a variety of candy that included chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs; small, individually wrapped rabbits; chocolate-covered peanuts; hard candies; and, of course, jelly beans. There may have been some marshmallow Peeps or rabbits, too. I can’t remember for sure. Some of the candies were scattered through the Easter egg grass so we had to remove it to find them all.

The Easter candies that I remember best were sugar Easter eggs (I don’t remember the exact name). The eggs were made in a couple of sizes and came in a variety of bright colors. As a matter of fact, they looked beautiful, but they just didn’t taste very good.

I’m guessing the eggs were made from a mixture of starch and sugar and not much else. The taste and texture was not anything like marshmallow, and there was no flavor. Not only that, but if the candies were left out in the air they became tooth-breaking hard real fast.

Some Easter baskets were filled with nothing but these sugar eggs. I remember winning the Easter egg hunt at our country school one year. The prize was a basket of sugar eggs. All done up in cellophane and tied with a bow, the basket was beautiful, but I doubt if I even opened it.

Although I can’t remember all of the kinds of candies we kids found in our Easter baskets, I can be sure that the sugar eggs were among them. I have not seen the eggs on Easter candy shelves for many years.

Happy Easter, everyone.

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