Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Easter egg hunt rule #1: Remember where you hid the eggs April 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:54 AM
Tags: ,

My extended family gathers for instructions before the Easter egg hunt begins.

IF YOU’RE HIDING candy-filled plastic Easter eggs, then you really ought to remember where you place them. That’s the lesson learned Sunday afternoon at the annual family Easter egg hunt.

Typically, this job is tasked to the couple hosting Easter dinner. But this year my youngest brother and his wife, who had Easter at their house in 2009, have the eggs. And they don’t arrive until mid-afternoon.

So to expedite the process after their late arrival, we adults banish the kids to the house (although no one checks to see if they might be peering out windows), each grab an egg-filled bucket and set out on our mission.

Just to explain, each kid is assigned a specific egg color and “kid” is defined as anyone up to college graduation age, although that rule has been broken occasionally.

I choose to hide 14 eggs for my 8-year-old niece, Cortney, thinking that way I don’t have to hide them so hard. Plus if I choose my 16-year-old or my 22-year-old and then make the hunt too tough, I could be the target of their frustrations.

My 16-year-old son finds an egg.

Finding good hiding spots doesn’t concern me as I begin the trek around my sister and brother-in-law’s country home. I am more worried about whether I can remember all 14 hiding spots. So I devise a system, circling the house, mentally focusing on egg placement and “marking” hiding places as best I can. For example, when I dig an egg into the grass, I “X” the location with two sticks. Another time I bury an egg under the dry grass next to a small rock.

Fortunately, my memory method works because, as I soon discover, I’ve made the egg hunt too challenging for my 8-year-old niece.

Where, oh, where can those eggs be hidden? That's my niece, Cortney, in the foreground looking for eggs.

Sensing Cortney’s frustration, I begin giving hints. “You know David and Goliath,” I say. “What did David put in his sling to shoot at Goliath?” She looks at me blankly. “You don’t know that story, do you?”

OK, then. This is going well.

So I resort to leading her into the vicinity of hidden eggs and then encouraging her. “You’re getting hot,” I prod as she zeroes in on the location. “You’re getting cold,” I warn whenever she moves further from the hiding spot.

That seems to work as eventually my now-smiling niece finds all her green eggs.

Yahoo! Cortney finds her first Easter egg, "hidden" openly in a tree.

I am relieved, not only because Cortney finds the eggs, but because I remember all 14 hiding spots.

But not my oldest brother. Long after the rest of us have settled onto the deck and the kids are emptying candy from their plastic eggs, Doug and my 13-year-old niece are still prowling the yard for two elusive eggs.

Cortney empties candy from eggs.

We are already cracking jokes about Doug’s inability to remember where he’s hidden Stephanie’s eggs. Maybe a map would help. Maybe he needs to call in sick on Monday and spend the day searching…

But deep down, each of us knows, but won’t confess, that we could be the ones out there searching for eggs in the hiding places we can’t recall.

Even Buddy the dog relaxes on the deck while my brother and niece search for the last two Easter eggs.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling