S J Smith
Rating: Any can reading
Disclaimer: All rights and responsibilities revert to previous owners – including those of Marshmallow Peeps.
Summary: The Duke boys remember Easters of long ago.
A.N.: I know that while the series said the boys were supposed to be close to the same age, I'm going with the idea that, as Tom Wopat isalmost a decadeolder than John Schneider in real life, the ages of both actors at the beginning of the series are the ages of the characters, too.
Easter in Hazzard County isn't that different from anywhere else. Everyone gets dressed up in their finest and heads to church. Afterwards, they all get together for the annual potluck social and Easter egg hunt in the town square. Lulu Hogg twists ol' Boss' ear so he donates prizes to the kids; the one who finds the most eggs and the one who finds the special gold egg. Each year, a couple of people volunteer to hide the eggs while the church service is goin' on. Boss likes it most when it's his turn to hide the eggs 'cause he hides 'em real hard. He just hates givin' over those prizes.
This year, it's the Dukes' turn to hide the eggs and Bo and Luke are doing their best to give the kids a little bit of a challenge and still make sure that everyone gets a chance to find at least one egg.
"Remember that year I found the golden egg?" Bo asked, placing an egg next to a tree root.
Luke straightened from where he was hiding an egg in the grass alongside the wrought-iron fence. "Boss said you'd rigged it. He didn't want to pay."
Bo shook his head, laughing. "I didn't think I was gonna get my prize."
"Yeah, you were turnin' red, like you were about to cry."
"I was not. I was gettin' mad."
Grinning, Luke said, "Same thing."
Obviously considering throwing an egg at Luke, Bo decided against it and planted it in the ligustrum bushes where it's bright pink shell gleamed in the dark green leaves. "You weren't no help."
"Hey, now, I was busy," Luke said, defending himself.
"Flirtin' with that Johnson girl," Bo said, not having any of it. "And Emma, she was makin' eyes at Johnny Tyler, head of the football team."
"Yeah, well, you got your prize," Luke said, ignoring completely the remark about Emma Johnson.
"Only 'cause Lulu Hogg stepped in," Bo told his cousin.
Luke grinned in remembrance. "She sure put ol' Boss in his place that day."
Sobering, Bo studied the remaining eggs he had to hide. "The year after that, you were in Vietnam."
His cousin's expression darkened slightly, despite the bright spring sunlight. "Yeah," he said.
Wishing he hadn't brought it up, Bo hid a few more eggs in the grass. When his basket was empty, he squinted across the square, hearing the sound of the organ. "I'll Fly Away" was one of his favorite hymns and he sang along with the people still in church. He could hear Luke's voice, a little deeper than his, join in on the chorus. By the time the song ended, Luke had finished hiding the rest of his eggs and joined Bo in the center of the square.
"Where'd you hide the golden egg?" Bo asked.
"Inside the cannon," Luke said, nodding at the monument to the boys lost during the War Between the States. He hesitated then dropped a hand on Bo's shoulder. "You know, goin' that far from home, from family, it's really hard."
Bo glanced around the square, at the small town where he'd grown up. "I can't imagine leavin' Hazzard," he said truthfully.
Sighing, Luke said, "I thought it'd be better to go of my own free will then them make me leave." His eyes took on a far-away gleam. "I was a country boy, never been in anything like that. Never expected I would be." He patted Bo's shoulder and said, "You know what made it better?"
"There was something that made it better?" Bo asked.
"Yup." Luke nodded, his expression lightening, himself again. "You sent me that package of candy for Easter, remember?"
Bo snapped his fingers. "I mailed you some of them Marshmallow Peeps!"
"Uh huh. And I knew how much you liked them dang things so I figured you were makin' a real sacrifice, sendin' 'em overseas to me."
"And that helped?"
"I can't begin to tell you how much," Luke said sincerely. A bell started to ring and both men turned towards the church. "Hey, service is over. We'd better hightail it over if we wanna get somethin' to eat."
"'Specially if Boss manages to get to the head of the line," Bo said. They exchanged glances and lit out for the church.
Now, ya'll know that there's nothin' ol' Boss likes better than food, 'ceptin' money, and there's plenty of good eatin' at the Easter Social. So it's a real bad thing if he gets in the line in front of you, 'cause ol' Boss has a tendency to graze while he's pickin' out what he wants to eat. Some of the Hazzard ladies get together with their best recipes and make a special batch, just to keep Boss from eatin' everythin' else in sight. An' that let's everyone else have a chance to at least sample what's on the table.
So, dinner was served an' everyone ate their fill, even ol' Boss and his fat wife, Lulu, and then all the kids were turned loose in the town square to hunt eggs while the adults sat back and digested their food. This year, little Skeeter, son of Johnny and Emma Tyler found the most eggs and April Davenport, ol' Crazy Cooter's niece, hunted up the golden egg for her prize. An' everybody was happy but ol' Boss Hogg, who had to give over the prizes. The way he carried on, you'd think he was givin' over money.
But ol' Bo, he had somethin' up his sleeve an' Luke, he was gonna find out about it, right about now.
"Everybody's comin' out to the house for a little get-together," Daisy said, leaning in the passenger window of the General Lee.
"Who's everybody?" Bo wanted to know.
"Cooter an' his family an' Enos and his momma. I got chicken and dumplin's on the stove, so we got enough to eat."
"If anybody wants to eat, after all that good food," Luke said, patting his belly gingerly.
"You said it, cuz," Bo said. "Why, I don't know if I could eat for another three days."
Daisy and Luke traded knowing looks.
"What?" Bo asked.
"You'll be scroungin' for food by sundown," Daisy said, laughing as she stepped away from the General. "See ya back home." She waved as Bo revved the engine.
"Now, watch it, Bo," Luke said, "there'll little kids everywhere."
"I'm watchin'," Bo said without any real heat. He eased the General out of the parking space, where normally he'd gun the Dodge and maybe do a lap around the square. Once they hit the roads outside of town, the General began to pick up speed.
"What's that sound?" Luke asked over the roar of the engine.
"What sound?" Bo asked.
"That flappin' noise."
Bo glanced in the rear view mirror then flicked his gaze to his cousin. "Sounds like it's in the back seat."
His mouth twisting in exasperation, Luke said, "Hope Skeeter didn't climb back there like he did last time."
"Hey, I can't help it that the boy likes the General," Bo said, shrugging. "Why doncha take a look?"
Now, ol' Luke ain't no dummy an' he knows his cousin, Bo, a might better than Bo knows himself. An' when Bo gets that really innocent tone to his voice, Luke knows he'd better watch out.
"This better not be some dumb joke," Luke said, twisting around.
Bo couldn't quite keep the grin off his face as his cousin hunted in the back seat to find the cause of the noise. Luke carried on a muttered conversation with himself as he searched. Bo could catch some of it, threats for any of the kids who might've tossed trash through the General's open windows, different threats aimed directly at Bo's involvement in whatever was making that sound. Then silence, with Luke sliding back into the front seat, looking more than a little stunned.
"So? What is it?" Bo asked, still not able to lose that smile.
"You know what it is," Luke said, reading directly off the box in his hands. "Marshmallow Peeps Bunnies."
"The Easter Bunny said that pink really is your color," Bo said.
"Did he, now."
"An' that I should tell you you've been a good boy."
"Sounds more like Santa Claus," Luke said dryly.
Bo's grin got bigger. "An' that you should know, no matter wherever you go in this world, that you've got family who loves you."
"I already knew that," Luke said, fiddling with the box. "But it's sure nice to hear it be said."
They glanced at each other and Bo cleared his throat, looking back at the road. "So, you gonna have one o' them Peeps?"
Luke shook his head. "Gotta tell ya, cuz, I can't stand them things. What about you?"
His mouth turned down a little. "I got sick on 'em when I was ten. I can't barely look at 'em any more."
"Guess we'll hafta give 'em to Daisy."
"Or Cooter," Bo said, liking the idea. "He'll eat anything."
So that's the legend of how Bo and Luke hid eggs for the Hazzard County Easter Social. And just so you know, there are some things that even ol' Crazy Cooter wouldn't eat. But Maudine the mule likes Marshmallow Peeps just fine, so they didn't go to waste. Now, if ya'll will excuse me, I smell Daisy's special pecan pie and I'd better get in there, if I want a slice. Ya'll have a happy Easter, y'hear?