Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday's Word


Okay, that deserves an explanation. And yes, pretty soon I'll have to do away with the concept of one word on Wednesday if I keep feeling the need to type on.

Mom use to be a kindergarten teacher. For over 25 years, she taught five year olds in a church setting. Teaching that age group comes with perks not found in the corporate world: kids give endless hugs, believe every word you say and want to give you presents. Especially at Christmas. I could never decide if the kids or their harried moms came up with the most um...interesting... gift ideas. But every year at Christmas, my siblings and I would determine one to be the most...unusual.

The winner was the one which made us giggle the hardest.

The thing is, I've always loved kids. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education but sadly, there were no teaching jobs when I graduated from college so my career wandered elsewhere. But I never lost the understanding of how a kid thinks. This led the siblings and I [and later on our spouses] to participate in this seasonal act of silliness without being mean spirited. After all, not all families have equal bank accounts. Ironically, it was usually the financially challenged who came up with the best gift. So as we perused the nominations for "Oddest gift of the year", there was much giggling and an occasional, "But what IS it?" Although Mom tended to get lots of candy, which she readily shared, there was never any prize for the person who was able to justify their choice as THE weirdest.

Until the Year of the Egg.

People today are funny about things like being neighborly. When I was a kid, you'd go over and introduce yourself to the new family on the block. Today most neighbors seem to prefer you stay on your side of the hedge. But we're southern. Being friendly is in our blood. So one year Mom decided to gift the new next door neighbor with a simple present because they'd moved in so close to Christmas. She didn't expect anything back. She certainly didn't expect what she received from the neighbor.

Under the Christmas tree, after our personal Christmas came the "Oddest Gift of the Year" awards. That year, unbeknownst to us, Mom added the neighbor's gift. We all went for it immediately, with some asking what the heck it was and others wanting to know why anyone would give it as a gift. Here, see for yourself.

In case you're not sure, it's a fried egg shaped ceramic spoon holder. There's a dent in the yolk, to lay a stirring spoon on while you're cooking. We laughed until tears ran down our faces. We laughed so hard we couldn't talk. We asked Mom if this meant the neighbor liked her or didn't want her to come near the fence again? Mom was perplexed about any hidden meaning. The funny thing is, I don't know if the neighbor ever did anything but wave at Mom from a distance after that Christmas. But the thing we all wanted to know was, "What the heck are you going to DO with that?!"

I found out in January.

In the midst of opening presents for my birthday there was a box from Mom. Inside was...yep, The Egg. Inside the box lid Mom had written, "Egg-specially for you." We all laughed. Someone wondered if it wasn't just the perfect gift for me, with my country kitchen mentality. I laughed.

The next month, hubby got it for his birthday.

This is the stuff that family traditions are made of...legendary in silliness. Everyone in the immediate family has received The Egg at one time or another. Nothing is sacred....not Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays or Christmas. The only rule is: you have to use an "egg" word and the same word can't be used twice. Our dictionary skills are improving. Mom once mailed it to my sister, all the way across the country in Washington State, just sure it would never find it's way back. Sis sent it to Mom for Mother's Day.

Believe it or not, we have been passing around this stupid egg since....1994. We've had to change the box...ran out of room to write in the lid. After a few years we changed the box shape because someone would glance at a package and sigh, "Oh no...I got The Egg!" Later still, in order to keep things straight, I even used a small photo album, the cover of which shows a man flipping a fried egg and yelling, "GOTCHA!" Inside is the egg's history....from that one to this one on that date and the egg phrase used. It should be good for about 25 more years as I left egg-stra pages to fill in the blanks.

Yeah, it's silly. But it's fun. It's a tradition that costs not one thing yet makes everyone laugh. Well, everyone but the person sighing loudly about being the recipient. And deep down, I think we'd actually be disappointed if it broke or disappeared. In fact it did go missing for three years after my sis-in-law "misplaced" it. But like a crazed boomerang, it found it's way back... to me. I dusted it off, gave it a new box home and tucked the "Gotcha!" book in safely beside it.

Did I mention that today's my Mom's birthday? :)

My note to Mom, she who unknowingly started all this nonsense by passing it on to me, simply read, "Egg-hausting, isn't it?"


Susan said...

Day after tomorrow, biggest shopping day of the many people will now be shopping for a ceramic egg? LOL

I love family stories like this one: especially because the neighbour surely thought nothing of it, just a kitchen gadget and very likely an unwanted gift already. Who knew she was really giving you years of entertainment and laughs? What other spoon rest on earth has its own photo album?

Funny, but just today I was thinking about (and wearing) a little gift that I've had for years. The giver has probably long forgotten it (and me), but I never will. Must blog about it soon.

Weird gifts are always the best.

the broken down barman said...

eggcelent story!!! who would have designed such a thing in the first plsce?? really fried my brain thinkin bout that. u must eggstatic when u receive it a a gift. enough now!!! im cracking up

Dave King said...

The one word post is an excellent idea - especially when it leads to this many. Keep it going!

Poetikat said...

I loved this! In our house it was a box that had housed a pair of boots back in the 70s. Every Christmas, someone in the family got their present in the "Snowbells" box. As my mother got older, her memory got a little weak - one year she wrapped the box, but forgot to fill it.
When my husband joined the family, he had to get the box that Christmas. Luckily, someone remembered to put a present in it!

Family traditions are great, aren't they? I think the best part of your ceramic egg transfer is the wordsmithing. I'll be thinking of "egg" words all day now.

Eggsuberantly yours,


Eleanor said...

Thank you for visiting me to day and how nice to get to you and read egg-tremely cute story. I have just been sitting musing about homemade/inexpensive Christmas presents for the family this year. Maybe I can find an egg spoon rest too.No, I doubt it! Tha is one of its kind!

Anonymous said...

Great story!
My Mom has a handmade egg spoon rest similar to yours. I came across your post as I was searching because I want one for myself now too. I got excited when I saw the picture as I thought it would lead somewhere I could buy one but I'll have to keep searching. It's nice to know there are more in the world and that your family gets so much enjoyment out of it! :)