There are things that one may occasionally borrow from one’s neighbors without fear of calamity. Flour is OK, in moderate amounts. Sugar would be alright once in a while. Very rarely a garden hose. But eggs? If you want my advice, never borrow eggs from your neighbors. Don’t even borrow eggs from people you don’t know. Just go to the store and buy them like the responsible person you are.
Let me tell you about the time before I had this good advice to offer, the time I made the mistake of borrowing eggs.
It was on February 13. or was it on a Wednesday, somewhere around 1972. I needed eggs – three eggs to be exact. I wanted to bake a cake and had nary an egg in the house. It was a cold winter’s night, not a night I relished a trip to Mr. Green’s store, thirteen miles away. I’ll borrow a few eggs from the Simpsons, I thought to myself. What are neighbors for if not to borrow eggs? It all seemed so simple and innocent.
Well I had to go out into the cold night, but the Simpsons lived only a mile down the road, so it was a short trip. They were home, they had the tea kettle on, they had an apple pie. We chatted, we drank tea, we ate the apple pie. They had eggs. After a pleasant visit, I put three of the eggs into a brown paper sack and made my way back to my car and then back home. All was going well.
I cracked the three lovely brown eggs, separated the whites from the yolks into glass bowls, and began to work some yogurt into several cups of flour. A dash of cinnamon the recipe called for, a pinch of salt, some baking soda. I was busy. Who had time to watch eggs in bowls? I should have watched the eggs. Perhaps I could have stopped it all right then and there.
I don’t bake cakes very often; I need to read the recipe. It wasn’t long before I got to the line that read, ” . . . beat egg yolks lightly, and work into the flour mixture.” I reached for the bowl of yolks. It was empty. Had the dog eaten the eggs? I didn’t have a dog. The egg whites weren’t in the other bowl either. The egg shells weren’t in the trash can where I had put them! I searched the kitchen. I searched the whole house, even though I hadn’t left the kitchen. I seemed to be again without eggs. I didn’t know what was going on, so I decided I would just have to finish the cake without eggs. Maybe it would turn out all right that way. If not, I could feed it to the dog. Oops! I didn’t have a dog.
That was when I heard the noise – the sound – the voice! “I want my yolks!” I turned, I gasped, I clutched the countertop. In the doorway was a white frothy blob. The voice repeated, “I want my yolks!” Golly I wished I had a dog!
“You can’t find me,” came an answering taunt from somewhere else in the house. The white blob turned and sort of oozed toward the living room. As much as I wanted to climb out the window and head for the hills, I had to follow. Rolling across the living room floor was a yellow triangular mass with three distinct portions, each the size of a huge watermelon. “The yolks!” I exclaimed to myself. “How did they get so big?”
The mass of yolks went up the stairs, shouting, “You can’t catch me!” as it went. The blob of whites followed, more slowly but determinedly. “I want you back!” it replied.
Was I in dreamland or what? Were giant egg parts really chasing each other around my house? Was I a fool to be watching it all happen? Was it really happening? How could I tell? So I followed. By the time I got upstairs, I could see no eggs, I could hear no eggs, I could smell…. Maybe it had all been just a bubble of indigestion? I pinched myself. I seemed to be awake.
I turned down the hall to go back downstairs when it happened. The yolks came from the right. The whites came from the left. Six huge half-domes of egg shell came from the bathroom. Fast! Really fast! I didn’t have time to move. They all collided with me in the middle. They rolled, they punched, they tried to overpower one another. They really made a mess out of me. In no time the entire upstairs hall, as well as I, was covered with a slothery mixture of egg. In a few minutes the foamy mass sort of fizzled down into a reasonable-size mess. The egg parts (Yolk-Man, White-Woman, Shell-Guy, or whoever they were) seemed finally to be gone for good. I was all alone with the mess.
I was really out of the mood for cake by then. I took a shower, watched the Channel 6 news, and went to bed. I cleaned up the house in the morning. It didn’t seem quite so real anymore. That afternoon, I drove all the way to town, twenty-one miles, and did some shopping. I bought a dozen eggs. Then I went to the SPCA and got a nice little dog. That night I baked a cherry pie. The dog and I finished it in one sitting.