April 04, 2012 Edition

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Easter Bunny tales

My first memory of the Easter Bunny was probably when I was four years old, and Mom and my two aunts spent about an hour right after Sunday dinner (which now-a-days is called lunch) hiding eggs for their numerous young offspring to find.

Dad called it the "search and destroy mission," as we didn't have plastic colored eggs back then - they were all the real thing - and never a one made it to the end of the hunt without untold numbers of cracks.

The sad thing was that most of the kids hated boiled eggs, so few were eaten. I for one, at four years old, would never eat an egg laid by a rabbit and told my mother so! I did love the eggs that came from my grandmother's chicken house, though, whether fried, scrambled or hard-boiled.

For months after Easter, the yard, front and back, would be covered with bits of colorful eggshell and pieces of boiled egg. There was often the occasion when, as long as three months later, an egg would be found nestled in the V of a tree root.

When hiding Easter eggs for three families or more, it was easy to lose track of all the hiding places and certainly no one was going to bother with counting the eggs before and after to make sure they were all found. We worked on the premise that what wasn't found by the kids, would surely be found eventually by the lawnmower.

As we older kids became teenagers, being too old for such baby stuff as looking for Easter eggs, we took over the job of hiding them. This released the adults for the more mundane activities of cleaning up the kitchen and the picnic area.

When I was a teenager my mother still used real eggs for the festivities, and I, like most of the teenagers and adults, enjoyed eating any eggs that were salvageable after the hunt. So my older cousins and I would grab the hands of the very youngest hunters and drag them around the yard pointing out eggs here and there to fill their baskets with eggs that would receive the least damage. This ensured that at least two or more baskets of the eggs were edible.

As long as each little tyke received at least one egg to play ball with, he could care less what happened to the remainder of the eggs in his basket.

In later years, and as a mother myself, I still enjoyed the tradition of boiling real eggs and helping my children color them in any way that made them happy with their artistic endeavors. My kids, however, didn't care who laid the first egg - the Easter bunny or the chicken - they all loved boiled eggs, so few were wasted.

We also enjoyed picking the largest jumbo sized egg and marking it with extra special coloring and a prize was given to the child who found this special egg.

Now, as a grandmother, I fill plastic eggs with candy and coins and bag them up to take over to the church where we hide them for the children to find after the church service on Easter Sunday. We are trying harder to instill in the children the real reason for Easter celebration and that is the resurrection of Christ our Lord. But we still want to allow Easter to be fun for the little ones.

After we return home from the church service and lunch is over, I still have colored boiled eggs ready to be hidden around the yard for the kids to find. I just can't seem to get away from the old tradition of the Easter Bunny, even though now, I am not adverse to the eating of eggs laid by an Easter Bunny.

Sandra E. Graham, a native of Walnut Ridge, is a 1965 graduate of Egypt High School. She has two books "Amos Jakey" and "Nicolina" published by American Book Publishing and also writes book reviews for authors through Book Pleasures. For more information on Graham or to contact her, visit www.sandragraham-articles-books.com.

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