When I was a kid they represented your brain or, somehow, your brain on drugs. “Any questions?”
Later they were rebranded, because eggs need a marketing strategy, apparently?! Now the ad gods will tell you they’re incredible and edible.
Well, friends, I’m here to tell you that farm-fresh eggs are more than just incredible and edible—they’re powerful! I don’t mean like protein and nutrient powerful, I’m talking time-machine powerful. And I’m not yolking.
It doesn’t matter what my day has been like, a fresh egg instantly takes me back to my grandparents’ house.
Mama and Papa lived about 3 hours away so “going down home” meant driving on narrow 2-lane highways and crunchy gravel roads, traversing sweeping curves and nauseating hills. I grew to learn the nuances of the little towns we passed through, the countryside blurring past my window. Excitement swelled with each passing mile
The farm was a wonderland for this suburban girl. The majority of the acreage was wooded with pin oak trees; a rock-rimmed pond and big, open field anchored the space east of the house. It was that one big field that captivated my imagination.
During our visits, my mom and I slept in the bedroom with a little window that overlooked the far field. Papa used to tell me that he went out into the clearing late at night to smoke a peace pipe with the “Indians.” Naturally, I believed him. Night after night I planned to peek out and watch his ceremony. But night after night, my little body was tired from play and lulled to sleep by the sound of the fan, the softness of the bed and the “magic paintbrush” bedtime story. I never did manage to stay awake long enough to see the Indians for myself.
In the early days Mama and Papa kept pigs, rabbits and chickens. Each morning Papa took me out to the chicken house to gather eggs and spread feed. One half of the little red shanty was the chicken coop with storage in the other half. The feed—kept in a huge barrel, which seemed bigger than me—smelled of dried corn and grains, organic and sweet. I loved running my hands through the mixture, letting the little morsels fall between my fingers and back into the barrel. When the chore was complete my dusty hands proudly cradled the eggs, and my shoes glistened with the early morning dew…and the occasional bit of chicken poop.
Mama fixed eggs for breakfast, usually fried. We gobbled them up with buttered toast and cold milk served up in pastel-colored Tupperware cups. No matter how often they were washed, the thick plastic tumblers carried the faint stench of cigarette smoke and looked perpetually dirty from the hard water.
The best farm visits were when all of my aunts/uncles and cousins came, too—I’ll never know how we all fit in that little trailer. Back then I was the middle cousin, the only girl; 3 years separated each of us. No matter how hot and humid, we played outside with reckless abandon. There was a long, old platform trailer that made a nice (if only imagined) respite from the scratchy farm grass, chiggers and ticks. That trailer also served as the home base when my older cousin Dusty and I pretended to be Ghostbusters.
Things changed when I was 6 years old. The farm got a new double-wide trailer with plenty of room for all of us. Sadly, Mama went to be with Jesus before she got to really enjoy it; she was just 5 days shy of her 56th birthday. April 21 marks 26 years past.
It’s amazing how something as mundane as an egg can bring back such a flood of memories, but that’s exactly what happens when I eat a farm-fresh egg. I know what’s for dinner tonight!