Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Hunt

I'm going to interrupt the Blind for a Day journal entries to tell you a story. This is a beloved Easter tradition that is brilliant and wonderful. You may have experienced one like it yourself, or do so now. No matter how many variations there are, this way is perfect. Here's what it is.

When I was small my neighborhood participated in a Neighborhood Egg Hunt every Easter. Here's how we did it. What you'd do is you'd dye a bunch of eggs. Some you leave plain and some you mark "PRIZE--Johnson" with your name. Or, some people just had all prize eggs. Then you would take the eggs to my house because we were in charge. You would probably see me sitting on the mailbox eagerly waiting for egg arrivals and I'd take your eggs and run in the house. There we would leave the plaineggs in the cartons and take out all the prize eggs and put them in a ginormous basket in the middle of the table. We paid very careful attention to how many prize eggs each family had and would record the data on a notepad. "Smith--12 prize eggs"

We would do this with each arrival until the late afternoon when the deadline to bring your eggs was up. We'd then take prize eggs of other families and put them into each carton, the amount depending on how many you brought in the first place. We tried not to give too many of the same family to each carton. Wanted to mix it up, see. Then, Friday at 9:00pm the kids aged 12 and up would arrive for donuts and would be assigned a family for whom they would hide the eggs. Oftentimes, teenagers would hide eggs for their own families.

The next morning we would all wake up early early and wait for the signal. This was so that the really early-risers wouldn't have an unfair advantage and get all the eggs before other kids. You couldn't hunt until you heard the signal. The signal was this: My dad would get in his car and drive up and down the street honking his horn. Once you heard that you would bust outside with your Easter baskets and eagle eyes.

I LOVED Saturday Easter morning. Ohhh i can't tell you how exciting this was. Whenever you found all the eggs, and in my house we were allowed a certain number of prize eggs so all the kids had equal amounts, you'd take your prize eggs--let's say i was allowed 4. And i had one from the Smiths, one from the Simpsons, one from the Kelly's, and one from the Greenes. I would take those eggs and travel to each house and trade the egg for a prize. So each house supplies prizes for however many prize eggs they submitted. So you came back home with a basket full of plain eggs and prizes and it was wonderful. Seriously, a magical day.

I cherish this tradition so much that it may be the only thing that might eventually get me to live in the suburbs. It was so perfectly orchestrated and is so exciting. It makes me a little sad when I think of people hunting for plastic eggs. I don't know why--it makes sense. Put candy in the eggs. Otherwise you're left with just a bunch of boiled eggs. But there's something about finding real dyed eggs in your yard. It's organic and yet delightsome. And to smell the eggy smell and the wet grass and to spy an egg and roll it to see "PRIZE" written on it. Ohhhh euphoria.

It's probably too late to do this in your own neighborhoods, but i give you permission to use this idea in Easters to come. Please, do it. It's so much fun and it's really fun to be the hub for all of the pre-hunt mechanics. I just wanted to tell you this tale and to spread the joy and love of the hunt.


Trevor said...

Ashley is too lazy to sign out and says:

Oh, it was euphoria! I miss the neighborhood egghunt! That was so fun to read about. Those were good days. Maybe I could have an egghunt in our apartment building. "Oh, found another by the trash chute..." "Two more on the stairs? This rocks!" Just kidding. I guess we could do it outside, but it's still snowy. Ugh.

)en said...

Ash, you can totally have an indoor egg hunt. We're having one in the back yard on Sunday. So far the hunters are a 1 1/2-year-old and me. :D i am not ashamed. She'd better watch out, i have eyes like a hawk and i swoop down on eggs like one too. for the record.

Jon Scoresby said...

So why do hawks swoop on eggs? Do they eat them?

Jeremy said...


Just thought I'd let you know that we carried the tradition to our neighborhood. This will be the 4th year and his has grown every year. We have 50 houses in the Berry Patch so if everybody does it we are in for it. Caleb said to me the other day.. dad I like easter cause is almost like Halloween. I agreed and then we had a talk about the real reason we celebrate Easter.

)en said...

hawks swoop down on eggs because they can. And you'd better remember that. p.s. Has anyone seen the Planet Earth documentary?

Jeremy, that is SO GREAT. It's the best thing ever. It IS almost as good as Halloween. Maybe as good, I don't know. I did sharing time last week and we dyed eggs. ha ha. but then we watched a movie on Christ's death and resurrection so it all worked out.