This is the story of the missing Easter egg.
I thought for sure the twins wouldn't find all the eggs Erica and I hid Saturday night. The girls were excited. The Easter bunny would be coming and they only had to wait until morning. Neither Alex nor Sydney protested when Erica said it was time to go to bed.
"Give Binks a big hug," Erica said, using the name my father has acquired.
He looked up from his chair to be confronted by the two pajama-clad girls with hair flying and arms outstretched. They made the rounds, hugging Marge and me and saved their father, Ted, for last. Then they raced for the stairs and the room at my father's that has become theirs.
In another 10 minutes the room fell silent and Erica rejoined us while Marge was in the kitchen fixing dinner.
It was over a peach and blueberry pie, one of Marge's best, that we talked of the eggs.
Marge had hard-boiled two dozen eggs. They were orange, purple, blue and yellow. Erica went out to the car to retrieve a couple of bags that were carefully hidden from view for our drive from Rhode Island. She pulled out a pair of baskets, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps, and two-dozen plastic eggs filled with jellybeans and smaller chocolate eggs wrapped in foil.
Erica and I went to work hiding the eggs. They went into the corners of rooms, behind doors, under furniture and in plain sight on tabletops.
At first glance, the living and dining rooms looked the same. It was only when you spotted one egg and then another that it became apparent the rooms had been egged.
The next morning was beautiful. Light from the full moon streamed into the living room. The house was silent. It was 5:15. I made my way to the kitchen, figuring I'd check email while the coffee brewed.
Then I heard the patter of tiny feet and the whispers.
The twins were up and they knew someone was downstairs.
There was no stopping them. They roused their parents. Ted emerged, groggy-eyed and unshaven.
"You ready for coffee? It's on."
He was ready, but the twins were too anxious to wait. They were bouncing up and down, pushing open the door into the dining room and prepared for the signal.
"The Easter bunny is real, you know," Sydney told me. It had me wondering if she doubted Santa, but I didn't ask.
Erica appeared and we made a beeline for the living room. She made sure to close the doors.
The twins knew just what to do. With shrieks, they grabbed the baskets, pulling out each of the contents and placing them on the carpet.
"Shush, you don't want to wake Binks and Marge, Erica advised.
Turning down such excitement was not easy, especially when the girls discovered the Easter bunny had brought each an ugly doll. Heaven knows why they have become the rage. Both twins have a vast collection and, of course, their favorites. They held up the latest arrivals, shaking them and making odd noises, presumably to give them voices.
It was the presence of all the eggs that set off the next round.
While barely moving, each girl found two or three eggs, placing them in their baskets. Erica was keeping count.
In the first sweep the twins found 16 hard boiled eggs and probably an equal number of plastic eggs.
"There are more," she said, as the twins slid on their stomachs to look under the couch. Another six hard-boiled eggs joined the clutch. Now we were missing two.
How was Erica going to explain there were two left? How would she know what the Easter bunny left?
"Look," she announced to the twins, "Marge left two boxes."
Erica held up the egg cartons for the girls to see. She filled one with eggs. The second was filled, with the exception of missing eggs. The girls got the picture and neither Alex nor Sydney asked questions. The sun had yet to rise before all the eggs were accounted for. There wouldn't be any rotten eggs to be discovered months from now.
It seemed like early afternoon before Binks and Marge were up but, in reality, it was only 9. Cousins would be arriving later for lunch and a gathering of the clan.
Ted, the twins and I took the opportunity to cut through the neighborhood over to the nearby golf course. It was reft of players as we walked along the fairways in hopes of finding a few round "eggs." It wasn't long before the first of four "golf eggs" turned up. The girls were into the search, even spotting one in a pond that we were able to roll along the bottom until we could reach it.
Then Sydney exclaimed excitedly, "I found an egg."
"You mean another ball?" I said.
"No, Peppy, it's an egg."
I looked in amazement. She held up a white plastic egg for me to see.
Alex wanted to see it, too.
"I guess the Easter bunny must have dropped it."
That seemed plausible so we continued our walk in a large loop back.
On the return, we played a form of golf, throwing and kicking the balls and keeping count.
It was at that point that Alex wanted to know the whereabouts of the egg her sister had found. Sydney fished through her pockets. It wasn't here.
Alex was distraught.
"I want that egg," she announced, her eyes filling with tears.
She urged me to retrace our steps.
"Go ahead and look," I suggested.
"I'll be alone," she protested.
I didn't move. Would she do it?
She looked back to the last green. It was a hike.
"We have to get the egg," she said.
She made her decision. She ran back the way we had come, not pausing to see if I would follow. Finally, at the last green, she looked around frantically and then in my direction. She was too far away to hear what she was saying. Maybe she wasn't saying anything. Ted and Sydney had gone ahead, disappearing over the next hill.
Alex raced back.
"I couldn't find it," she said breathlessly.
She was upset. But she had tried, although things hadn't turned out as she had hoped.
"Maybe the Easter bunny will be back to get it," I suggested.
She looked at me quizzically, as if to say, "Really?" and grabbed my hand to pull me in the direction the others had gone.