The next morning, before we got up, Mom and Dad would hide the eggs in our backyard and claim the Easter bunny put them there. We totally believed them. (It's no bigger leap to believe in a cheapskate Easter Bunny who simply conceals the eggs you colored yourself than it is to believe in a Santa who shops at all the same stores your parents do.)
But one Easter morning when we went outside for the big safari, instead of brightly colored eggs, the grass was riddled with sugar cubes.
This memory is crisp and perfect in my mind: my sisters and I tumbling out the back door, dressed in our Easter best, The sky is a cloudless blue, the sun is a yellow disk rising up from the Eastern horizon, the grass is a bright, spring green, and everywhere you look are sugar cubes.
AS an adult today, I realize this makes absolutely no sense. What kind of parents would hide sugar cubes? If the dew didn't melt the sugar into syrupy glop, they'd be covered with ants in no time. In my memory, though, they're all over the backyard, solidly cube-shaped and insect-free.
It's crazy. I know that, but there it is.
Last Easter, my sister Rita, who is sixteen months older than I, was up visiting from Florida. I told her about this ridiculous memory, expecting her to scoff at my over-active imagination. Instead, she burst out laughing.
"It was hail," she said. "It was the first time we ever saw hail."
In my memory, the corners on those dice-shaped Easter treats melt away. The sugar cubes of my recollection take on a more rounded form. Far in the distant past, I reach out a small hand to touch one and it's as cold as a popsicle.
Nope, I like the story better with sugar cubes.