Oh, the joy of Easter eggs

Remember the sheer joy of holding your Easter egg basket, the spring wind blowing through your hair while you anticipated the command to start hunting for the beautifully colored eggs?

And isn’t being an adult, hiding the eggs which will bring such joy, just as much fun? Especially when the youngsters run with all their might to grab the bursts of color you cleverly placed and they just spied?

Easter egg hunts come in many different forms. Sometimes plastic eggs are filled with candy, sometimes with pieces of paper indicating elaborate prizes.

Heck, here in York, we even have an underwater Easter egg hunt where the kids swim to get their eggs!

And there’s the separate joy of coloring Easter eggs. Today there are so many ways to go about it, there are so many products kids (and adults) can use.

I remember, back in the old days, how Mom would start collecting eggs well in advance for the big day. By Palm Sunday, she would have at least seven dozen in store. That’s a dozen eggs, per kid.

And sometimes there were extras for the older ones, if the hens were agreeable.

Holy Thursday was the day for coloring eggs because school was out and church services weren’t until evening.

She would spread flour sacks over the table and put newspapers on the floor, in preparation. I’m not sure what she was protecting because both the table and the floor had already seen better times.

But that was the protocol.

In large pots, she’d carefully boil the eggs . . . and plunge them in cold water baths, while we waited.

Then would arrive the magic. Mom would fill glass Mason jars with cold water and vinegar. Like a chemist, she would splash food coloring into the jars that now smelled like pickle juice.

It was also a class about the primary colors. That’s how we learned that yellow and blue make green, blue and red make purple, red and yellow make orange, and so on.

Once she had pretty much every color created, the dining room chairs would be moved to the living room and the jars would be arranged around the table.

We each were given a slotted spoon and a handful of crayons.

Once the eggs arrived, that’s all we needed for at least an hour of bliss.

The first thing was to use the crayons to draw on the eggs. I always had an affinity for stars and flowers.

My brothers drew cattle – imagine that.

The little ones just scribbled, but it really didn’t matter.

Our mother had discovered how the wax from the crayons would adhere really well to the eggs and stand up to the coloring process.

Then it was time to dunk. We would walk around the table with our precious eggs and take turns using the jars of our desired colors.

We discovered you could hold half the egg in one color and later the other half in another, thereby giving us two tones.

We found that the longer the egg was under the water/vinegar solution, the deeper the color.

And we also found it was one of the best times of the year as we laughed and learned.

When the eggs were done (and the floor was mopped), they were placed in the “Easter boxes.” They were really just decorated crates . . . but the process seemed festive enough.

Then it was all up to the Easter Bunny.

That was the part I hated. The thought of a large “half man, half rabbit” jumping around the yard was the most horrifying image my mind could handle. The mental vision of this strange mutant pawing at our precious colored eggs while he/she/it hid them . . . it was just more than I could bear.

But because he/she/it also brought us baskets of candy, along with sand buckets and scoops (annual plastic gifts bestowed in the spring), I decided to give he/she/it a pass. I would just tightly squeeze my eyes closed, the night before Easter, and pray I’d quickly drift off to sleep before that mutant thing arrived.

On Easter morning, the glory of the sun became reality. It was with great joy that we ate chocolate while Mom yelled at us to get dressed for church. My little sister, Crystal, would sob about having to wearing “bumpy” socks inside her dress sandals and the rest of us would search for my brother’s church shoes, which always mysteriously disappeared.

We weren’t allowed to go outside . . . obviously, to stay somewhat clean (despite the chocolate frenzy) and to not prematurely see the hidden eggs.

Of course, we all glanced around the yard, trying to spot eggs in the trees as the folks ushered us to the vehicle for the trip to St. John’s.

When we returned, it was time. It was time to hunt. We’d squeal with laughter and taunt the others.

Granted, there were times when the weather was not good and the eggs had to be hidden inside the house. Mixed with the terror of believing the Easter Bunny had been hopping/limping/lurking around, only feet from my room, and the knowledge there would always be at least two eggs that went unnoticed (until they reared their ugly smells a week later) . . . those indoor hunts weren’t as fabulous.

The childlike joy of the entire process is a mix of tradition, artistry and of course, fun.

Oh, the joy of Easter eggs . . . and the memories they create.

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