By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Another glorious season arrives in beautiful Beaufort. The birds are singing, the flowers are in bloom, the golf courses are a buzz, and baskets of all shapes, sizes and contents are being assembled with love, joy, and artificial grass. It has always been one of my favorite holidays. Mom would spend weeks sewing dresses of linen and lace; Daddy hid eggs in the darndest places and we could smell Mammaw’s cherry pie from down the road.
Besides the floral fashion, the family feast, and doing my absolute best to sit still during the Easter Sunday service, there was one piece that completed the Easter puzzle. Each year someone, somewhere near our small little town managed to cross my path with brightly colored baby chickens. It never failed: we would see them outside Walmart, at the fruit stand, sometimes they even knocked on our door. As a child it never occurred to me that this was abnormal. It seemed perfectly appropriate to obtain pastel poultry. It was Easter and the chickens were purple, it made perfect sense.
My parents consistently objected until my impressive negotiation skills and intolerable, incessant chatting weakened them to submission. Mom would tell me that the tiny pink chick would, in fact, grow up to look just like the ones we already had as Daddy would insist it was cruel and unusual to dye God’s tiniest creatures. Their points were both fascinating and true; however, had very little effect on my desire to take at least one home.
It was beyond me how anyone could resist a tiny pink, purple or baby blue chicken. Obviously, no Easter would be complete without the chirping, awkward little soul. Mom would eventual tire of my lengthy bouts of begging and Daddy, well Daddy couldn’t seem to give me one good reason why his daughter shouldn’t have one more chicken.
Year after year, I managed to get my Easter wish. It was a moment full of joy, appreciation and victory. Oh how I loved to walk through the house with my little friend in tow. I distinctly remember sweet purple Polly as if it were yesterday, she was by far my favorite Easter chick. She handled cuddling like a champ and didn’t even mind the occasional bonnet. Polly and I were obvious soulmates. Obvious until Polly turned in to Peter and began resisting wardrobe changes and started wanting to spend more time in the barn than with me. Apparently Polly’s early morning chirping was a sign of things to come.
Polly was my last Easter chicken. I knew even then that the purple feathers would fade and that our relationship would evolve into that of corn thrower and corn eater; but it never changed my fascination or desire for tiny little pastel colored poultry. I never cared much for the chocolate rabbits, marshmallow-shaped everything, or huge baskets full of eggs you can’t scramble.
Now that adulthood has taken over my holidays, I can’t help but look for the chirping creatures. I wonder if that is just a Mississippi thing or if children in South Carolina are pleading their way towards a pastel pet. Mom no longer makes my dresses to match my sister’s, Daddy no longer hides eggs in places only Sherlock Holmes himself could detect, but I still do my best to sit still through Sunday Easter service.
It is a splendid time indeed. May each of you have a beautifully colored Easter full of love, laughter, happiness and baskets of artificial grass. If it is pink, purple, or blue baby chickens you desire, I am sure there is a truck in Mississippi somewhere with baskets full. Happy Easter, y’all.