Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

Never Seek an Errant Egg Until Well After EasterLet’s hope the dyed eggs your kids or grandkids found on Easter Sunday — then continued to hide and find throughout the afternoon — have all been accounted for.

Health advisories I’ve read lately say a hard-boiled egg will last for upwards of a week. Could be. But that’s a culinary decision for someone else to make. When it comes to consumption of the ova, your Uncle Cloaca takes no chances on spoilage.

(Which provides a great intro for the ultimate redneck question: Who was the first man to watch an egg emerge from a chicken’s butt and think, “Wow! I bet that’d be good to eat!”? Please do forgive me.)

Our church solved the AWOL Easter egg conundrum several years ago by going artificial. The children’s department owns something like 900 plastic eggs, the kind that easily snap apart. Before the grand hunt begins, each egg is stuffed with a piece of candy. Not only does this deliver instant gratification, the resulting sugar surge ensures nobody nods off during the sermon.

The fake egg route proves especially prudent if Easter is a washout. Nothing worse than getting your Easter bonnet filled with rain. I distinctly recall one year when the switch was made from an outdoor hunt to indoors because of weather. This decision was made (a) spur-of-the-moment and (b) ASAP. Meaning hundreds of eggs were hastily cached in nooks and crannies throughout the Sunday school rooms. I wasn’t there when the green light came on, but witnesses said the hallway rush was reminiscent of Pickett’s Charge.

Judging from the heavily laden baskets I saw at the late service that day, the vast majority of these eggs were successfully located. If not, no biggie. Given the preservative qualities of plastic containers and commercial candy, everything should remain fresh until long after the Second Coming.

Actually, a missing real egg doesn’t always prove disastrous. Therein lies a family story.

It must have rained one Easter back in the Pleistocene period when I was of egg-hunting vintage, because my brothers and I took turns hiding them throughout our house. One particularly creative lad, ahem, crawled under the piano and worked a deposit deep into the innards of the instrument. He was certain neither of his brothers would find it.

They didn’t.

Alas, his pea brain immediately forgot pertinent details. (A problem that persists to this day, but that’s grist for another— wait; where was I? Oh yes, the piano egg.)

Months later, a guy came to our house to service and tune the piano. Waaaay back there, he saw you-know-what. The shell shattered as soon as he touched it. All that was left on the inside was a fine powder. No stink.

The incident did, however, provide vivid new meaning to the Lenten term “dust to dust.”

Sam Venable is an author, comedic entertainer, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. His latest book is
“The Joke’s on YOU! (All I Did Was Clean Out My Files).” He may be reached at