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Easter Egg Hunt

 

easter-egg-hunt-sign-13369720When I was a child, I was as eager to go to church on Easter Sunday as I was on Christmas Eve when Santa gave me a peppermint candy cane. I wore new clothes on Easter morning:  a pastel colored fancy dress, patent leather shoes, white socks with ruffles, and white gloves.  Mother made sure that my entire Easter outfit was brand new, but wearing new clothes wasn’t why I was excited.

 

On Easter at Byrdstown First Christian Church there was a big Easter Egg Hunt immediately after the preacher’s last amen. During the church service, several men hid eggs.  All hard-boiled eggs that church members had boiled, dyed, and decorated.  I didn’t hear a word of the service – not the hymns, prayers, scripture reading, or sermon.  During the long hour between 11:00 and noon, I squirmed and wiggled and stretched my neck to look out the open windows to see where Daddy was hiding the Easter eggs.

 

As soon as church was over, I grabbed my Easter basket from under the pew where Mother had put it so I couldn’t touch it during the service.  I ran out the church front door as quickly as I could.  I ran right past the preacher without shaking his hand. All of us children clutched the handles of our empty Easter baskets and lined up on the asphalt parking lot at the edge of grass.

 

On one side of the church, eggs lay on top of the grass in plain sight for the little kids to find, and the other side was divided into two sections for two age groups. Very few eggs were hidden for the teenagers because they were beyond hunting for eggs, but they were enticed to look for a prize egg.  Those of us in the elementary age group had the most eggs to find. We stood poised and ready, knowing that for every colored egg we could barely see there were many more hidden.   And when someone shouted, “Ready, set, GO!” we kids ran helter skelter gathering eggs that were hidden in tall tufts of grass, under shrubs, among the exposed roots of tall oak trees, and along a grown up fencerow.

 

We hunted until someone found the prize egg, a hard-boiled goose egg wrapped in gold paper, and the adults in charge declared that every egg had probably been found.   We children counted the number of eggs in our baskets because money prizes were given for the number of eggs found – the most eggs, the least, and none.  And the person in each age group who found the prize egg got a bright shiny silver dollar.  I found the prize egg only once—inside the downspout of the gutter.

 

I took home all the eggs that I found.  Eggs that other church members had boiled and dyed, and I hunted those eggs again in our backyard as many times as I could get my mother or daddy or brother to hide them.  There weren’t any prizes at home.  I hunted just for fun after I’d taken off my fancy new Easter clothes.

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