But, Why?


It’s a battle of wits, one that, despite my best and most valiant efforts, I am losing. In this battle of wits, I’m without a doubt an unarmed man.

My adversary has remained unknown for a week, then suddenly yesterday morning appeared, displaying incredible skills from my childhood. The Wife says I should just give up, surrender, admit that I’ve been bested. I say no, I’ll never give up!

Who will eventually win in the end? I really do not know, but I do know how it all began … with a carload of giant Easter eggs.

This story starts two weeks ago with a leisurely stroll down the golf cart path in front of our subdivision. Hidden from the roadway, it meanders through a wooded green space for about a mile before eventually emerging out into a field on its way to the next neighborhood.

While pausing in the middle of that wooded area, I enjoyed the serenity that only woods and nature can bring. Now some folks might enjoy the sound of the many birds chirping, or delight in watching the squirrels chasing one another up and around the trees. Me? I didn’t think of any of that.

As I gazed at the forest of trees, now bare of any leaves, my imagination took flight. I had but one thought in mind, “This would be perfect place for a whimsical display of giant multi-colored Easter eggs!”

After visiting all the big box stores in our fair town, I soon returned home with a carload of giant eggs. It being close to dinner time, I took only three of the eggs for a golf cart ride down the path to that perfect spot in the forest.

If I simply laid the eggs on the ground, they would “sprout legs and walk off,” so I wedged each one about three feet up in the crook of trees. Satisfied that they were secured, I returned home to cook dinner, knowing the eggs would be safe. Soon I was to realize just how naive that idea was.

The next day I loaded the golf cart with giant eggs and took off down the cart path only to find the first three were gone!

No longer wedged in the crooks of trees, the giant eggs were now in the sandbox, and worst of all, they were full of sand!

Determined not to let this small setback end my dream of a forest full of colorful eggs adorning the bare tree branches, I emptied out the sand, taped the eggs back together and added a long string taped on top. After bending a small tree down to the ground, I tied the giant egg to one of its branches. Releasing the tree it rebounded up with the egg suspended ten feet off the ground. After repeating the procedure two more times, I left satisfied that the eggs were out of harm’s way. Wrong again.

The next day I took another golf cart ride down the path, stopping abruptly when the forest came into view. The giant eggs were again gone, with only their strings dangling from the trees. I found them again down by the sand box, and again full of sand.

Whoever was doing this was truly smart, perhaps even as diabolical as Down the Street Bully Brad. Obviously, I was losing this battle of wits, so it was time to go big, or I should say go up.

After drilling a hole and threading a rope through the top of each egg, they were again hung up in the trees. It took the better part of a day, but now, that bare forest is no more. Now twelve giant multicolored Easter eggs hang from branches some twenty feet up in the air. No one would be able to get at them! No one would even try.

Boy, was I wrong, someone did.

Early the next morning I found one last pink egg still needing to be hung, so I took the golf cart back down the path to the now colorful egg forest. What I saw took my breath away. The eggs were actually glowing in the early morning sunrise. And that’s when I saw who had been doing all the mischief in the forest. I watched in stunned amazement as a barefoot child about seven years old tried over and over again to climb the nearest tree to retrieve one of the giant eggs.

Afraid someone may get injured, I called over and asked, “Don’t you think someone hung that way up in the tree for a reason?”

The child stopped the fruitless attempt at climbing, answering back in the saddest voice I’ve heard in years, “But why?”

But why indeed? The Wife had been right when I had told her someone had been tampering with the eggs. She said, “Sounds to me like someone just wants to play with them. What would you and your brothers do with giant Easter Eggs when you were a kid?”

We would play with them, of course … that is, if we could reach them. A wave of sadness came over me as I suddenly realized what I had done. Mistakenly I was the one taking the fun out of the forest, and it was something that needed correcting immediately.

With the last giant pink Easter egg in hand, I walked over and gave it to the little girl.

I thought this story was finished, until I told it to our two granddaughters this morning. At the end, they cheered and clapped for the little girl — then asked, “Where’s our giant Easter egg, Papa?” After dropping them off at school I immediately drove to the store and bought two more giant pink eggs.

Sometimes in life we get so focused in on something, we can’t see the forest for the trees. In my case I guess I couldn’t see the forest ‘cause of all the giant Easter eggs.

Folks walking our cart path can now enjoy gazing up at all the colorful eggs high up in the trees, and if they are lucky, find one or two laying around on the ground to fill with sand — happy Easter from The Wife and me.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]