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Among the brown eggs was one as white can be–with a secret message meant just for him.
No hens confessed. I couldn’t wait to show Mama. I gathered the remaining eggs and ran back to the house.
“Look at this!” I said, cornering Mama in the kitchen away from my brothers and sisters. “I bet you never seen this kind of egg in our henhouse before!”
“Land sakes, child,” said Mama, taking it from my hand. “I ain’t never in all my born days seen any egg as white as this one.” I watched proudly as she turned it over in her palm. “They say angels sometimes put messages in special white eggs for those who can find one.”
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“As I found it, I reckon it’s mine,” I said. “I’m going to crack it open!”
I imagined an angel egg worked something like a fortune cookie. You cracked the shell and found a slip of paper inside. But Mama corrected me. “It don’t work that way,” she said. “You have to boil the egg and then leave it in the icebox overnight.”
That seemed like an awful lot of trouble to go to for an egg. There probably wasn’t even any message in it anyway. But it wouldn’t cost me one red cent to find out, Mama explained, and she promised to help me.
“I’ll take care of the boiling and putting it in the icebox,” she said. “Come morning you’ll have to do the peeling.”
I laid awake half the night thinking about that snow-white egg. No matter how many times I told myself not to believe an ordinary egg could be miraculous, I had to see for myself. At the first crow of our old rooster I was dressed and in the kitchen. My snow-white egg lay on the table before me.
“Are you going to peel it or just sit there all day whistling Dixie?” asked Mama.
Now that the time had come to peel the egg I was nervous. “What if there isn’t any message?” I said.
“Then you have a special egg you can eat,” she said. I picked up my spoon and gave the egg a light whack. A crack appeared and traveled all around the shell. I continued to tap it until it was covered in cracks. “Go gentle,” said Mama as I started peeling away the shell. “You ain’t peeling an apple.”
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One by one the pieces of shell fell away to reveal the inside of the egg. First I saw only egg white. But then, little by little, I uncovered letters: y, l, v, d.... My hand shook so badly I could barely hold the egg. “It’s a message!” I whispered. “A message from an angel!”
“What does it say?” Mama asked.
I slowly rotated the egg. “You... are...loved.”
“You see,” Mama said. “Your angel wants you to know that just because you wear glasses doesn’t mean you’re not loved by those that poke fun at you. Remember–your guardian angel is always beside you.”
A few people still made fun of me that day at school, but somehow it wasn’t so bad. In a few weeks the boys who teased me found something else to laugh at.
As for my angel egg, as I called it, I kept it in the icebox until it shriveled up and fell apart. It wasn’t until years later, after Mama was gone, that I found a letter among her papers explaining how she herself made that magic egg to give me confidence.