Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easter – Then and Now

Easter came early this year! I've always liked Easter, even as a kid. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because it was one of the few times when we would “go south” to visit my cousins without impeding on my own time. I hated that during Christmas but, for some reason I enjoyed it at Easter.

It was a big family get-together at that time. Pretty much everybody from my mother's family would get together in the mountains around her home town of Redmond Utah, eat food, play games and roll easter eggs.

What? You've never rolled easter eggs down a hill to break the shells?

I'll admit, the idea sounds more fun than the reality – if you want to eat the egg, anyway. Most of the time they'd roll down and break apart on the rocks. If they didn't break apart you'd have to wash them after peeling because of the dirt and plants you picked up along the way.

If you weren't too keen on eating the egg, though, rolling them down hills was fun. It was particularly cool if you could find a larger rock in the path. You'd aim the egg for the rock and push it along like some kind of mutant bowling ball. If you were lucky, it would hit the rock and splatter apart in a great explosion of white and yellow.

Decorating easter eggs is fun, too. My mom would buy the commercial egg dyes for me. I'd go at it on the dining room table, nearly gagging to death on the vinegar fumes, but still having fun. Sometiems my friends or my older brothers would join in. Trying to find new ways to make the eggs as fancy as we could, using crayons, egg dyes, and anything else we could come up with – that wasn't immediately discouraged by my mother once she figured out what we were up to – was fair game.

Who says you shouldn't play with your food?

As an adult, my wife and I have brought our love of egg decorating to our kids. My wife's family has helped us out on this front by sponsoring an annual Easter egg decoration contest. The contest is pretty cool, too. My wife's designs have won a couple of times. No great prizes, mind you. Just the best kind when it comes to family games: chocolate and bragging rights.

My favorite was a “broken egg” that she made with half a plastic egg, an empty egg shell, and a hot glue gun. She took an egg and cracked it open very carefully, so the two halves of the shell were still intact, and then cleaned it out. She tool the bottom half of a plastic egg, painted it yellow for the “yolk”, and then arranged them both on an electric plate warmer. Then she drizzled the hot glue between them all for the egg white. When it all cooled down, she had a “broken egg.”

I think she took first prize that year.

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