Jim Buchanan

Jim Buchanan

I guess the worst Easter egg hunt I experienced was the one where I wrecked the car.

We had a ’55 Chevy my siblings dubbed the Flinstonemobile. Like most American cars of the era, it was a huge hunk of metal with a huge engine and had enough giddyup to climb a telephone pole. Parts of the Chevy, however, were not made of metal, and those parts evidently were made of particle board. You could see the road zipping by through holes in the floorboard, thus the Flintstone reference. It was reasoned that if the car ran out of gas you could jam your feet through the floor and start running the Chevy to the next gas station.

It didn’t have many of the safety or anti-theft devices we’re accustomed to these days. For example, you could crank it with a nickel.

The car came into play when one Easter rolled around and we were hiding eggs. I discovered that the diameter of this particular batch of Easter eggs matched precisely the diameter of the tailpipe of the Chevy.

Not wanting to make the hunt too easy, I went ahead and gave the egg a shove to better hide it up in the exhaust system.

When we rounded up the eggs there it stayed. All attempts to dislodge it just pushed it further up the tailpipe, where it glowered back at me with an expression that said, “you may well die this very day.”

(Messing with the car was as big a no-no as there was. Capitol offense. Verboten. Bad, bad idea).

I had no idea what the consequences of jamming the exhaust system would have on the car, but knew it couldn’t be good.

With the clock ticking and Mother and Daddy bound to show up at any moment, I did the only thing I could think of:

Start looking for a nickel.

My recollection of events afterward is very fuzzy. The nickel was obtained, the car cranked, the egg shot out like it had been fired from a bazooka, and, now out of gear, the car began lazily rolling backward. Fortunately, one of the metal parts was what made contact after it gained momentum and wheeled into a soft dirt bank.

That I remember.

What I can’t remember is why I’m still alive. I don’t recall if one of the sibs moved the car back into its parking spot or what, but somehow, major consequences were avoided.

Now, whuppin’s were quite common in those days, but while Daddy went for his belt once or twice, he never actually whipped me. That’s probably because once he made that motion I’d be deep in the woods trying to figure out in which direction the Canadian border lay.

No, it was Mother, as in the case in many mountain households, who dispatched the discipline.

We had a county-fair prize-winning caliber yellowbell bush out beyond the kitchen door, and one would have to march to it, select a switch, and return with it for punishment.

Mother was an extraordinarily kind and caring woman and was a small person, so she never lashed anyone in a manner that left an impact, but oh man did it sting. She’d grab me by one arm, aim for the calves with the other, and as a duo we’d do a little jig in a circle with me yelling my head off.

From a distance it probably would have looked like I was in training for Riverdance.

But that didn’t happen in the Easter caper. I remember getting off clean, and only revealing the tale to Mother and Daddy years later.

Whatever the case, thanks to whichever sibling bailed me out.

You can keep the nickel.

Jim Buchanan is editor of The Sylva Herald.