If it hadn’t been for the extended quarantine, I’d have never finally found Charlie in the freezer. Six years ago, my youngest thought it would be a blast to hide an Easter egg behind the bags of peas and corn. It was his turn to be the Egg Master, as we called the person who hid the eggs all over the house. Baby Boy riffed on my Jeopardy-themed hunt from the previous year by labeling all of the eggs after the letters in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
We only dyed a couple dozen eggs, so Baby Boy dispensed with Quebec and X-ray. This decision wasn’t random, nor was it made lightly. As we progressed through the hunt, we came to realize that Baby Boy had cleverly hidden the eggs in places matching the labels. Bravo was in the breadbox. Mike was in the mailbox–a technical violation, for which Baby Boy was admonished by my wife. Tango was in a teacup and Whiskey was in the washing machine.
Not surprisingly, we did not find all of the eggs on Easter. (Remember Mike?) Also unsurprisingly, Baby Boy forgot where half of the eggs were hidden. Thanks to the sharp noses of his siblings and mother, Alpha, Golf and India were recovered before too much olfactory damage had occurred. By the time the Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2014 was a dim memory, only Charlie remained hidden.
We were down to Pop-tarts and frozen veggies the day I found Charlie. My febrile recollection was still intact enough to ask Baby Boy why this egg was in the freezer, while every other egg had been in a more appropriate location. His answer was befitting the logic of that long-ago child:
“I was thinking about adjectives. Whiskey was wet, Delta was dry, Hotel was hot and Charlie was cold. But then I ran out of ideas and switched to nouns.”
I squinted into the past and vaguely remembered that Whiskey was in the washer, Delta was in the dryer and Hotel had revealed itself the next time my wife baked a ham. I smiled, nodded wisely, and put Charlie under some cold, running water.
This was a writing prompt from my friend, Marian Allen