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How Gramps lost his taste for eggs
How Gramps lost his (egg) Groove!
Grandpa was one of the greatest story tellers I've ever known. He had some kind of fable ready for every situation possible. This one was by no means his best but it still sticks quite vividly in my mind.
Towards the end of World War Two, Grandpa decided he hated eggs. Justifiably so and once he made up his mind about something, nothing would change it, no matter what.
So this is how the story went. After finishing his night shift at the airport, on his twelve mile long Bike ride home, Gramps had to take cover from an air-raid.(The airport and area were a prime target for the German bomber planes almost daily). Grandpa knew of a small, abandoned, and broken down shack not too far off the road. This hovel was partly dug into a bit of a hill with two of the sides and the roof dirt covered. Only one hinge remained and held the ivy-overgrown door drunkenly in place. All around, and even on the roof two foot tall grasses lazily swayed in the wind, making this the perfect shelter; impossible to see from the air.
Once inside Grandpa remembered only hearing the shrill air-raid sirens and earsplitting booms. He said even the birds, crickets and the rest of ‘bug-dom' had held their breath. It wasn't until the sounds of the departing planes faded into the distance that the cacophony resumed; chirping, buzzing twittering all around.
Gramps was finally able to look around. To his surprise there were duck or goose nests along the far wall. They were filled with many dozens of big cream-colored eggs.
Excitedly he searched for a container of some kind. There were enough eggs for quite a few meals for all six of them. Or maybe he could trade with the butcher for a piece of bacon. It had been a while, weeks actually since they all had any meat.
Yes this was a grand find, an unexpected treasure. In the back corner of the shack, under a bunch of ruble he found a big old dented bucket. Amazingly the handle had still been intact, although a bit rusty. Just perfect to transport these fragile gems home.
Greedily he filled the bucket and still at least another 8 eggs were left. Not wanting to leave any of his new found wealth behind he carefully put a couple in each of his coat pockets and the last big one, into his shirt pocket.
Now, he was in a real big hurry to get home, to share his surprise with Grandma and the kids. The road way wasn't much more than a lane and very bumpy, he almost lost the top layer out of the bucket. Stopping he shoved a couple under his hat. After a long and slow ride Grandpa made it home shouting for everyone to come and see what he had found.
Grandma was at the big table slicing some thick wedges of yesterday's sourdough bread for every ones breakfast. After lots of uuh-ing and aah-ing everyone immpatiently waited for Grandma to be done cooking. The three little girls set the table for the unexpected celebration meal. The youngest, my Uncle Steve, followed Gramps outside into the yard where he wanted to wash up before eating at the water pump. "Up-up", the almost 3 year old Stevie demanded. Not thinking, Gramps swung him up onto his shoulders. Gramps had forgotten the one egg in his shirt pocket... It exploded.
Gramps had a deep, booming voice. By this part of his story it had reached a crescendo and he almost shouted; the sulpherous stench from that rotten egg had been strong enough to invite the devil himself from hell to breakfast.
This is when Grandma joined in to finish off the story because she said Gramps would not do it justice.
Growling in shock, standing in the courtyard with a stinky mess oozing out of his pocket he was temporarily immobilized. A dozen or so neighbors came out to find out what all the rigmarole and of course the evil smell was. Once comprehension, as to what had happened set in, first one then all joined in, in an explosion of laughter. Naturally all giggled while pinching their noses.
What started to be a great surprise was really ruined for him, he got so grossed out. He insisted the inside of his nose was burned because no matter where or what he was doing he always smelled the rotten egg stench.
Incidentally that was the one and only ‘dud' egg in the whole bunch and Grandma was able to trade for a hunk of bacon and even a couple of sausages.
Funny, telling this story, even thirty years after, Grandpas face had still reflected the absolute horror when remembering that awful penetrating stench. In conclusion Gramps said he never ate another egg.
Naturally he didn't know that Grandma hid the evidence, the egg shells were always in the bottom of the compost pile. According to him nothing needed egg; not the cakes, not the cookies, not anything. Whenever he ate his favorite filled and rolled up ‘palacsinta' (crepes) he would comment..."You see ‘Csimby" (that's what he called Grandma) I told you these didn't need eggs. They're delicious without".
It's amazing what our brains ‘memory matter' retains. Grandma and Gramps got married during the depression. As he was an airplane mechanic, which were in high demand even then, things were not as bad for them as for most. They suffered through World War Two with four children, left their home-land Hungary during the '56 revolution, immigrated to Canada. All major life events and yet the memory of that silly stinky egg stayed with Gramps till the end...