Sheltons Organic Turkey

if I empty out all the unimportant stuff here, maybe there'll be more room in my head for important things

name: shelton brett
location: western u.s.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

father's day nada fiction

Every year we used to go to my grandparents’ ranch for Easter Sunday. The highlight of the day was the Easter egg hunt where the adults would fill multi-colored plastic eggs with jellybeans and foil-covered chocolate, then hide them around the yard. The ten or so of us grandchildren could hardly sit through brunch with the lure of the hunt awaiting us. Grandpa would sit back after his meal, look around the table at the kids, and say with a wink and a grin, “I think I heard the bunny out there,” and then we'd jump out of our seats and head for the door. Grandpa grew up homesteading in the hills of Western Montana, he lost two of his siblings to influenza in the 1920s, and never initiated hugs or kisses.

The year I turned six, I remember Grandpa taking me aside during the hunt and leading me around the barn to a thicket of grass, far away from the other kids and colored eggs. “I think I saw the bunny put one in there,” he said, pointing to an opening behind the downspout, where I could barely make out the narrow end of a lavender egg. It had a small pocketknife in it, with pearl inlay being held in place by the tiniest of screws. “That’s the knife my mother used cleaning fish for us when I was a boy. That knife helped get us through some terrible winters,” he said with a smile.

The next year, without a word from Grandpa, I snuck around the corner to the grassy area by the downspout and discovered the lavender egg. It held an old wristwatch that Grandpa bought when he visited San Francisco for the first time. The next year, I found a silver locket with a baby picture in it. Another year I found a few strange coins in the egg from a country I’d never heard of.

As the years went on, the gifts got stranger. Once he left me a small, lumpy chunk of metal that he found when planting his garden. One year the egg held an old dog collar, stained with dirt and blood. One of the last years the lavender egg held a bullet from WWII with a piece of paper and the word "SORRY" written on it. After Gram died, the grass around the barn turned to Russian thistles. That year's Easter, an old abandoned bird’s nest was stuffed in the downspout. The final year, the lavender egg was there, but it was crushed into small pieces and arranged into a neat pile. It was the last time we went to the ranch for Easter. Grandpa died a few months later.