It is time once again for the Hunting Of The Chocolate Eggs or at least it was last Saturday which coincided nicely with yet another visit north to see my family.
This time my second sister T, the surfing hippie doing a Masters in Acupuncture joined us, as did my third sister Nurse K.
K brought her husband with her which was jolly, not just because we don't get to see him that often but because a few days prior to that he managed to save one of his fishing mates with a bucket.
When I say 'fishing' I mean 'rock fishing' which started at dawn and finished abruptly an hour later when a freak wave washed over the rock and washed said fellow down into the water, and when I say 'mate' I mean 'friend who had never been rock fishing before and wasn't a great swimmer and indeed had only been in Australia a short wee while (Scotsman)' but when I say 'bucket' I think we can leave it at that.
Although, sister's hubby hastened to add, it did have a lid on it the bucket, which made it a flotation aid. Also there was a rope tied to one end which didn't seem too useful since Scotsman was washed out to sea.
Sister's hubby points out that in fact this is the safest option, the swimming out to sea bit, most deaths happening because washed off fishermen tried to climb back up the rocks where crashing waves did them in. And Scotsman did not manage the bucket first go and bucket had to be thrown to him again and when it landed nearby and he called that he couldn't reach it and he was done for, they had to shout that yes he could, yes he could SWIM FOR THE BUCKET.
Scotsman swam and held on for dear life and floated (despite his steel capped boots, inappropriate for being washed off a rock yet paradoxically quite sensible for standing about in one spot on craggy rocks for the previously planned several hours). In the meantime sister's hubby ran up to the highest ground he could find (naturally they were in some remote place that required an hour walking out in the dark through the bush carrying extensive tuna fishing gear which would be washed away in aforementioned freak wave) and rang emergency assistance. Luckily the local surf life saving club was contacted and an intrepid soul dashed out on a jet ski to haul in Scotsman And Bucket.
Sister's hubby who fishes from a boat on the lake most weeks and has done since he was a little tacker has married into a family of landlubbers who love eating fish and many a time have partaken of his catch. We listen to his story and grimace and wince at the right bits and some of us scream when we hear the additional information that the last time they fished in that spot a whopping great big tiger shark had been prowling around after the bait fish.
It gives the whole easter egg hunt a little extra frisson of excitement which is probably good since there's not much in the way of tension or real competition. There are after all only two children who participate and one is a six month old who has just started on solid foods.
Tricky solemnly carries his basket from potplant to potplant and collects his righteous bounty while his mother, father, two aunts, two uncles and grandparents troop after him, crowding to watch him earnestly gather his eggs or hissing that he missed one, over there, over there.
Last year he collected eggs with his cousins and had no idea they were there to be eaten, preferring to roll them like marbles and throw them about the yard, marveling at the shiny papers and bright colours. I was happy to forgo the chocolate experience and redistributed them among the naughty nephews. But this year, Tricky knows about easter eggs, he knows about chocolate and by george those eggs aint going anywhere else.
Baby L, meanwhile, lifted up to find one egg after another simply laughs and pats at them and then turns away for a glimpse of her doting parents.
Sister's hubby is a quietly spoken fella, he loves fishing and he loves my sister and their baby. He says he'll never fish at that point again and he won't be rock fishing for a long time if at all. Hippie sister later suggests we all chip in to buy him a lightweight flotation vest, just in case.
When he brought his mate home from the hospital, the media were waiting outside his home, for comments, for interviews, for pictures of the bucket. Sister's hubby wasn't keen, he's a shy man, the quiet sort.
They kept after him though, during the day and eventually he had his photo taken and his words recorded. As we watched the babies, he added in a surprised tone, the reporter kept asking him if he was planning another fishing trip and he kept saying no until eventually he clarified - not rock fishing no, but beach fishing, sure. His comment didn't make the television interview but hers ended the report...and he's already planning another fishing trip!
My sister's face is set as she listens to him tell his story again and again. Relief, pride, love and resignation play out across her features. Most dangerous sport in Australia, she mutters. He squeezes her hand.
And baby daughter, safe in her mother's arms, dimples and laughs and reaches for her daddy's face. All smiles and gurgles and love.