The Super Egg Hunt

It’s all Uncle Mike’s fault. As a rule, I think he likes to take things to the next level, and that’s what he always did during out family’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt. See, I am the oldest of a large generation. I have two younger brothers and a small army of cousins. At last count, there are 17 people I consider 1st cousins in my family. Now, they aren’t all first cousins, but to explain the mechanics of my family tree may take the better part of a month, include a protractor, and smelling salts for the people who faint. So, with my brothers and I, there are 20 young people in my generation, but not all 20 participated each year. If you sprinkle in the Cuban Cousins and family friends, I’d say the average amount of Hunters each year was about 12. But like I said earlier, it’s all Uncle Mike’s fault.

My brothers, cousins, and Mom acting crazy.

I can’t remember exactly what year the Super Egg was born, but by the time I was fourteen, Super Egg Hunt festivities were in full swing. The Hunt stood as the culmination of a family gathering that spread throughout the weekend. Typically, my family would gather on Good Friday in remembrance of the Crucifixion. We’d eat fish (we kids would have fish sticks) pray, then decorate the eggs. It was that batch of decorated eggs that would serve during the first hunt on Easter morning, the one my brothers and I would partake in before going to church on Easter Sunday. After the church service, much of the family would gather at my grandfather’s house for some good food and general frivolity. My parents and different aunts and uncles would supply the eggs, stuffing them with candy mostly, but a select few eggs were always filled with money. It started with loose change, and, for the most part, the eggs would sport less than a dollar. But the Super Egg was a different story. It started with $20 or so, but each year, the Super Egg haul grew. Steadily, the contents increased, $30-plus, $40-plus, $50-plus, one year even eclipsing the $100 mark.

Now, for us older kids, it was really the only reason to hunt. For me, being diabetic, I couldn’t be interested in the candy-filled eggs. Instead of baskets of candy, my parents would stuff my Easter basket with paperback novels and t-shirts. The smaller hunts were fun, but really it was all about the Super Egg. Anticipation grew throughout the early afternoon, as the mothers would fill the different eggs and the children buzzed about, scoping the yard and trying to spy this year’s Super Egg Hiding Spot. Over the years, the party changed houses, but the most memorable Super Egg Hunts always took place at Abuelo’s. His backyard sported a pool (which each child needed to fall into as a family rite-of-passage), a tiki-hut, a bar, a small basketball court, a shed, several trees, hedges and bushes, and a canal. It really was the ideal terrain for such activities. The familyroom’s panoramic sliding glass doors let all of us study the grounds as the adults prepared the Hunt. And once we saw Uncle Mike moving from Dad to Dad asking for some Super Egg cash, there was almost no containing us.

Us kids excitedly awaiting the Hunt. No surprise my brother Chris (Super Egg World Record Holder) is trying to sneak up.

But contain us the adults did. Each year, as a group of adults hid the eggs outside, the children were forced into a hallway, and put in age-ascending order. Of course, I was always at the end of the line, right beside my cousin Andres, although he was a few months older than me. (Technically, Andres is the youngest child of my mother’s generation, but again, I’m not going to explain any further, since I’m not sure what your smelling salt stock currently looks like.) The older kids were usually given plastic bags to tote our haul, as we couldn’t be bothered with fancy baskets. Our single-minded goal was the Super Egg.

As we waited our release from the Gate, we debated where Uncle Mike might hide the Super Egg this year. The length of the Hunt always depended on how diabolical Uncle Mike was feeling that particular Easter Sunday. He never hid the Super Egg in the same place twice, and he was a master at disguising the obvious. He used the entire yard, and all elements found therein. Once the Super Egg was nestled in a suitably baffling hiding place, the children, like stabled thoroughbreds, were set free.
Released for the Super Egg. The blur is Nicky, and the happy child behind is JJ.

The release was done only a few at a time, the youngest children darting out first. As the older children impatiently waited our turn, the adults reveled in our anticipatory discomfort. Some adult always had to pretend one of the particularly young children had found the Super Egg, which we older kids knew was patently absurd. Uncle Mike would never let that happen. Still, it riled us up. Once we were released, they couldn’t get that sliding door open fast enough. We older kids poured out into the backyard, eyes sharply surveying the situation. Each of us would branch out in a different direction, absentmindedly picking up lesser eggs and asking some of the little ones if they’d seen Uncle Mike lingering somewhere.

The Search

Uncle Mike was really the master. He’d deke us into thinking the Super Egg was one place, then laugh uproariously when we’d fall for the dupe. We cased the grounds, rustling piles of leaves that looked unnatural, reaching into thorny bushes, and lifting scattered bits of trash. We’d check the pool, the tables, the shed, the basketball court, and the tiki-hut. We combed the yard. I would only pick eggs that had change inside, since candy did me no good.

Chris checking the rafters of the tiki-hut.

Uncle Mike had but one rule: the Super Egg (or something attached to it) could always be seen. I guess it was an effort to keep as much parity as he could. It was possible for one of the little babies to stumble upon the golden prize. So the longer the search continued, the more likely it became that one of the little ones would turn their attention from candy-filled plastic to fabled Super Egg. And after much futile effort and discovery of all lesser eggs, we’d begin the begging for clues. They started small. Uncle Mike would provide hints that would systematically shrink the search area, saying it was on one half of the yard, or it was above the waist line, or it was a certain adult’s eye-level. We ran about the place, skirting the pool, wondering if it was the year one of the little ones would take their spill into the water. As the search area shrank, the pressure mounted. So many little bodies in one place, hands groping, probing anything and everything in the vicinity. My brother Chris was always the best at this point. He’s won the Hunt more than anyone. He’d be the first inductee into the Super Egg Hunt Hall of Fame, but this year was my year.

I found It!

At fourteen, I knew I was reaching the end of my Super Egg hunting career. I might have one or two more years left, and I wanted to win. Chris had won more than three times, and he wouldn’t let a soul forget it. I can’t remember exactly what made me do it, but I pulled the drain cover off the pool and found the Super Egg. We had been walking right by it the entire time. It was my second win ever, and my last. It felt great. I don’t remember how much I won, but that didn’t matter. I could finally say I had found the Super Egg more than once. Sadly, the Super Egg Hunt is no longer a yearly tradition. Most of the children of my generation are too old to participate, and these days, parts of the family use Easter to vacation out of town. As a new generation of Hunters grows up, the legend of Super Egg Hunts passed are told. There aren’t as many Hunters these days, the number having dwindled to less than eight. I’m one of the few from my generation that adds to the Super Egg purse, but I do so begrudgingly. While the Hunts may only happen every other year or so, Uncle Mike’s flair still shines, and hopefully, my son Jason and I will be the first father-son winners of the Hunt, but he’d better hurry up and win because my nephew, Christopher Andrew, is almost a year old and will be ambulatory in no time.

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Miami Dolphins 2014 NFL Draft Preview & Seven Round Mock

Miami Dolphins 2014 NFL Draft

By David Fernandez

The Miami Dolphins are a team in flux. With new GM Dennis Hickey taking the reins from his inept predecessor Jeff Ireland, the team will look to rebound from a disappointing season that saw them rocked by a bullying scandal and missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. While owner Stephen Ross showed a bit of patience and loyalty by not cleaning house and retaining head coach Joe Philbin, another subpar season will likely signal Philbin’s exit, and maybe even QB Ryan Tannehill’s as well.

Team Needs: OT, OG, ILB, DB, RB, QB

As far as needs go, the Dolphins are starved along the offensive line. Ryan Tannehill received the David Carr treatment a year ago, getting sacked a league-high 58 times. Already this offseason has Miami actively remaking their O-Line by signing veteran tackle Branden Albert to start on the left side, as well as potential starters in OG Shelley Smith and RT Jason Fox. Miami has also spent some time and money on the defensive side of the ball, resigning CB Brent Grimes, then inking DT Earl Mitchell to replace the departed Paul Soliai. The team also brought in former Pro Bowl CB Courtland Finnegan on a one-year deal, and Miami-native S Louis Delmas to replace Chris Clemons. The other major signing for the Dolphins this offseason was landing former Denver Bronco RB Knowshon Moreno on a one-year deal.

While having a number of needs, the Dolphins are still in a decent position to reinvent the roster with the draft. It’s possible the team trades down from the #19 slot to stock-pile picks, especially if one of the heralded QBs slips down the board. Should Cleveland not take one of those QBs early, they could be a potential trade-partner for Miami as they hold the #26 pick as well. Flipping the #19 pick to Cleveland could net the Dolphins the #26 and one or two additional picks.

Miami Mock: Seven-Rounds

CJ Mosley1st round Pick #19: C.J. Mosley, ILB Alabama

Most mocks show the Dolphins selecting OL Zach Martin in this spot, but I’m not sure he makes it to #19. The Steelers, Ravens, and Jets all have a similar need in this spot, and the Cardinals, picking in the #20 spot, have it as well. I can see the Dolphins taking the instinctive, athletic inside linebacker from Alabama with #19. This would allow them to move Dannell Ellerbe to OLB, where he is better suited.


Read the rest of the article at http://rotogalaxy.com/miami-dolphins-2014-nfl-draft-preview-seven-round-mock/#jzQCUAiyxx2cRbdG.99

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What is a Scene?

Narrative is the telling of a story, the events and consequences for the characters. Scenes are those passages in a narrative when we, as writers and readers, slow down and focus on an important event in the story so that we are “in  the moment” with the characters in action.

Scene is Action

No matter the length (long or short, covering time compressed or stretched), Scene is Event. Something happening. As writers, we are called to present this moment in engaging a way as possible, drawing our readers into the moment with a vice grip that will not let them go.

Among the elements at our disposal to generate these scenes is Dialogue. While we aim to make the conversations between our characters authentic and accessible, dialogue in writing is sharper, shorter, and smarter than our everyday chats. Real talk is littered with “well’s” and “uh’s” and “so’s”, and to include too many of those bits or the other verbal crutches people employ, hurts the action of the scene.

If a scene is action, if a scene is event, then using dialogue must aid in the progression of that action, of that event. Dialogue must accomplish something, must move the story along. Dialogue needs to be part of what is happening.

Time and Place

Screenwriter Christopher Keane defines a scene as “an event in a screenplay that occupies time and space.” Any change of setting or time marks a new scene. While prose writing differs greatly from playwriting, this concept is useful because it reminds us prose writers  to let the reader know and understand that there is a time and place of the scene. The happening needs to unfold somewhere.

Setting can help develop a number of different aspects of a scene, including mood. The setting of a scene can have a significant effect on the emotional atmosphere of the event. Setting can also factor greatly into the development of the plot.

Four Basic Elements of a Scene

  1. Event and Emotion – Every scene has event and emotion. In a scene, characters DO things and FEEL things. In a scene, characters act and react. These moments, these events, these things done then add up meaningfully in the story.
  2. Function – Every scene has a function in the story. There should be a specific reason that a writer has chosen to render this moment in detail rather than transmit the happening in summarization. Each scene accomplishes something for the story. The function a scene serves might be to reveal something about the character, introduce new plot elements, or foreshadow some later event. Whatever it may be, something is different by the end, something has changed.
  3. Structure – Every scene has a structure. Simply, there was a situation before the scene, a line of action takes place, and there is a new situation at the end. Beginning, Middle, and End. We writers need to remember not to get caught up in merely the thoughts of a character and make sure something actually happens in a scene. Actions cause reactions.
  4. Pulse – Every scene has a pulse. Pulse is the vibrancy in the story that makes the scene live. It’s the pulse that makes the scene matter to the reader. Pulse is emotional, and not to be confused with Tension, which is built from the action of a scene.

sceneWORKS CITED

Scofield, Sandra. The scene book: a primer for the fiction writer. London: Penguin Books, 2007. Print.

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