Easter egg hunts are one of those spring time events that one looks forward to as a child almost as much as Christmas sometimes.
The excitement of seeing brightly colored eggs scattered across the field or on a hillside and the eagerness of waiting for some lucky adult to give the signal to "GO!" can bring out the child in almost everyone again.
It wasn't until we had Kathryn how much I realized what fun the Easter egg hunt tradition was and still is in different ways now. Watching her prepare to run across Ludlow Park this past Sunday to collect her own colored eggs, I thought back to my first childhood egg hunt and how much fun it was.
The first egg hunt I remember was probably when I was three or four. I'm pretty sure that I was not even in kindergarten yet that first time. It was an overcast cold day much like last Sunday and I remember my father taking me to the Ginter stadium for the big egg hunt.
At that time it was still lined like a football field complete with the goal posts. All of the children lined up on the sidelines opposite the bleachers. If I recall correctly the prizes for the hunt were on the bottom row of the bleachers.
All I remember was my dad standing next to me, and I'm pretty sure he told me to run and scoop up as many eggs as I could while I made my way across the field. My recall is bits and pieces of that inaugural hunt, mostly charging across the field and grabbing eggs as I went.
I believe by the time I reached the other side of the field, I might have had a half dozen of those brightly colored ovals in my basket. My dad came over and helped me check them and as it turned out, two of them actually had numbers written on them.
I guess we remember the exciting parts of our childhoods much better than the rest as I was excited to discover my two lucky eggs transformed into a foot tall chocolate rabbit and a ceramic egg full of chocolate candies. I was so proud of my pair of treasures even though I was still not totally certain how two eggs became such delicious pieces of candy. When we arrived home, my mom was impressed with the "haul" from the egg hunt as well as the half dozen eggs which would go to the annual egg salad.
There was a song I learned in kindergarten about eating my chocolate rabbit and while I cannot recall the lyrics, I know there was something about eating the bunny's ears. It took me a while to eat that foot tall rabbit and I savored him for weeks. The ceramic egg became a decoration for years on my mom's coffee table and to be quite honest, I believe she still has it.
Now that I'm a father, my wife and I have always made it a tradition to make sure that Kathryn has an annual egg hunt somewhere at some point. Our family hunt started when she was about one year old. We took her to Bill Black Park for the egg hunt, but when she saw the six foot Amazon bunny, she became petrified and while all the other children picked up eggs,
Kathryn wailed about this monster rabbit. To be honest, I could see her point. When you are one, a six foot tall rabbit can be quite terrifying.
To make up for it, we had an egg hunt complete with prizes later that week in our back yard. It was so much fun we repeated it the following year and have done so ever since. While Kathryn is long since over the fear of monster rabbits and enjoys participating in the town egg hunts, she still looks forward to the intimate family egg hunts we have in the yard each year.
This year my wife Katie found a new twist to the traditional plastic egg hunt. I believe she was reading a magazine or a blog and came across the idea of using glow sticks inside eggs to create fluorescent ones that can be seen in the dark. We found a can of 15 bracelets which were bendable enough to fit in some larger eggs in the dollar store that would work in our eggs, but if you didn't have large enough eggs, they also carried a dozen or so for a dollar as well.
The three of us activated the glow sticks and then I hid the eggs outside while Katie and Kathryn waited for me to finish. When I was done, we had a moonlit egg hunt in the backyard and it was quite a bit of fun. The glow of the eggs in the shadows made it exciting and in some ways it was tricky because the varying thicknesses of the plastic shells made the eggs shine in different intensities. Kathryn had so much fun we ended up having three or four more hunts in the back yard followed by two or three nighttime hunts in her bedroom.
She had so much fun that she decided to share with us and insisted we wait for her to hide the eggs, so Katie and I both took turns finding the eggs in hunts in Kathryn's room after our daughter hid them. Reluctantly after about the tenth hunt we called it an evening, but I'm sure it will be an idea we will repeat again next year.
For two or three dollars, it was a full evening of clean family fun and a variation on a traditional egg hunt that everyone should give a try.
Hope everyone has a Happy Easter from all of us to all of you!
Til next time …