Tea for the Tillerman

A dear teacher/friend gave me a darling pin to wear at Easter. It is an embroidered version of a sugar egg. Yellow and green lazy-daisy stitches and pearl beads on white felt capture the look of the icing flowers on a sugar egg. Blanket stitch holds the two pieces of felt together, with a tiny bit of stuffing in between, and looks perfect as the icing holding the two halves of a sugar egg together.

My friend didn't know that I had real life experience making hollow sugar eggs with little bunny scenes inside. It was thirty-two years ago, but still a special time in my life, and with lessons in patience and respecting others' surprising abilities.

As a high school student in the early Seventies, wearing white kneesocks with my Dr. Scholl sandals and mini-peasant dresses, I belonged to the First Plymouth Congregational UCC Church choir. That is a miracle in itself, because I can't sing worth diddly. Our choir was directed by a wonderful, positive organist and composer, C. Richard Morris, who personified acceptance and the word "enthusiasm", Greek--to be inspired by a god, or a god within. He managed to take us on two choir tours in the Aprils of 1971 and 1972. We traveled by bus around Nebraska to small town and country churches in Ainsworth, Thedford, Hyannis, Scottsbluff, Grant, Curtis, McCook, and Hastings, among others. These were educational trips for snobby kids from the Big City of Lincoln, Nebraska. We stayed in church family homes, or spread sleeping bags in Fellowship Halls. We met and flirted with farm kids, and took travelogue rides through the sandhills in rancher pickups and big family sedans. We ate cold fried chicken, hot tuna noodle casserole, and molded marshmallow jello in church basements. I was introduced to hot roast beef sandwiches with Wonder Bread, mashed potatoes, and gravy somewhere in the Halsey National Forest. We sang songs from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Jesus Christ Superstar", an anthem from a Walt Whitman poem, "A Jubilant Song", another called "Our God is a Rock", that Palm Sunday "Ride On in Majesty" hymn , and a song for children about a hat with three corners. Back on the bus, being teenagers, we told jokes, exclaimed about the plentiful cows, played cards, had imaginary races between sports cars and the bus, ate Salted Nut Rolls, and snuck out the cherry cigars. It was a primitive time without cd players or Gameboys, you understand. I celebrated my sixteenth birthday on one of these wonderful road trips.

The choir earned money for the trips with the usual assortment of high school fundraisers. We also got together many Saturdays to make sugar Easter eggs. One mom taught us this tricky process. We struggled with the timing to bake the sugar mix in the molds. We commiserated with each other when our hollowed egg shells collapsed. We brainstormed goofy scenes to put inside the sugar eggs, and tried to perfect our skill with fancy icing. I'll never forget watching seventeen-year old guys in motorcycle jackets, reeking of Irish Spring soap, and totally focused on creating frosting roses, accompanied by the songs of Cat Stevens!

Here is a webpage with instructions for making sugar eggs:



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