FedEx brought Easter in Christmas container

Published 11:20 pm Friday, March 8, 2013

When my childhood friend Connie Clay Ashcraft told me she was shipping a Christmas fruitcake tin back to me via Federal Express, I thought she had lost her mind.

“Don’t bother,” I told her. “Use it. Take it to a thrift shop. Throw it away. It’s not important enough to ship.”

She replied, “I am a Clay. We don’t throw anything away!”

I still thought sending me a tin was overkill, but she works for Fed Ex in Memphis, so I dropped it. The package came early this week. I confess, I didn’t bother opening it for a few days, thinking I’d get to it when I had time to go to the garage and pack the tin away for next December.

It would not have been out of character for me to have just put the whole box in the garage with the holiday decorations. But something made me open it, and I’m so glad I did.

The Christmas tin held a delightful surprise: Easter eggs. But these aren’t just ordinary Easter eggs. These are Niecie’s eggs.

Connie’s mother, Bernice, has been “Niecie” to all of her family and friends since another daughter, Andalusia’s Karen Clay Pass, presented her with Josh and she chose her “grandmother name.” Like her girls, Niecie is funny and irreverent and entertaining.

When we were children, decoupage was all the rage. Niecie made all kinds of things. Later, she took up Easter eggs.

When she began, she used real eggs, pricking each end with an ice pick and blowing out the insides. I don’t recall that she ever let us watch that part. But once they were clean and dry, she used rice paper to make beautiful eggs.

“Unfortunately, those early batches were broken long ago,” Connie wrote. “I have one left, and it’s in my china cabinet for safe keeping.”

Later, Niecie used synthetic egg shells. Frankly, until I read the accompanying note, I couldn’t tell that these weren’t the originals.

I had not thought of Niecie’s eggs in decades before I found a sampling in a Christmas tin this week.

Connie said that she had intended to send a “wonderful treat” in the Christmas tin, but never got around to it.

“When I was getting out my Easter stuff this weekend, I thought you might like something that Niecie made,” she wrote. “I hope you can find a place for them in your heart and home.”

I have. They are on display now. But, like the memories of childhood they represent, they are in my heart forever.

Thanks, Connie. The eggs, and your mother, are indeed a wonderful treat.