Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Oh, the joy of dyeing Easter eggs with an octogenarian April 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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SOMETIMES IT IS the unexpected which brings joy.

I did not expect my nearly 82-year-old mother to effuse such enthusiasm over dyeing eggs on the Saturday before Easter.

But she did when I told her days in advance of a weekend visit that I would bring hard-boiled eggs to color in addition to a cooler full of food for our meals.

“I haven’t dyed eggs in years,” she responded, giddy like a kid with anticipation.

Her enthusiasm was precisely what I needed as I had been feeling a bit melancholy about my first Easter in 28 years without any of my and my husband’s three “kids” around. We could easily have skipped the egg dyeing.

But as I rummaged through my mom’s kitchen cupboards looking for containers in which to dye the eggs, I was glad I’d brought those eggs.

Like an eager child, Mom was already struggling to open the tightly-glued package of Easter egg dyes while I counted out six empty “I can’t believe it’s not butter” containers for the dye tablets.

My husband and mom dye eggs at her kitchen table Saturday evening.

My husband and mom dye eggs at her kitchen table Saturday evening.

Eventually we settled at her cluttered kitchen table, bowls of dye before us, spoons and tongs at the ready. Not to worry about spilling on the table, she assured us. So we didn’t. But we didn’t. Spill that is.

Stirring and dipping and dyeing and trading colors.

Stirring and dipping and dyeing and trading colors.

Rather we laughed and talked and dipped eggs in dye and stirred and waited and mused that the purple was more pink than purple, the red dull, the blue especially eye-pleasing.

Ten of the eleven eggs dyed.

Ten of the eleven eggs dyed.

And in the process I realized that long-standing childhood holiday traditions matter. Even to an 82-year-old.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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41 Responses to “Oh, the joy of dyeing Easter eggs with an octogenarian”

  1. virgil Says:

    You and Randy were a special Easter Blessing for your Mom with your time and love😊

    • Thank you, Virgil. It was definitely God’s will that we were with my mom this Easter as she was suffering from severe osteoarthritis pain and was nearly immobile. Her condition is improving now, but she definitely needed us there this past weekend.

  2. Ted Aaberg Says:

    Nice piece on Easter egg dyeing! I bought the Paas at the grocery for $1 and a dozen eggs. My roomer, a 30-year-old mechanical engineer roomer, really enjoyed coloring the eggs, He is from Ghanzhou, China, so had not done it before. Then he asked about what is the meaning of Easter, so we had a visit about that as well. I liked the orange colored one, and we did some two color ones, by dipping one half in different dyes. Now we are eating one a day for the rest of the week. You have some wonderful flowers on your mother’s dining room table.

    • Ted, how wonderful that you picked up the dye and eggs and included your Chinese roomer in on this tradition. And what an opportunity to share your faith.

      You sound like my husband with the double dye dipping. He did the same.

      I picked up the flowers for my mom on the way through Redwood Falls.

      • Ted Aaberg Says:

        That was wonderful to pick up flowers on the way. I have a cousin Michelle Cilek who lives in Redwood Falls. Your mom looks very attentive with the dyeing of the egg! At 82, she must have many memories of Easter’s past. There is a wonderful saying, but I don’t quite know how it goes, something like, “God gave us memories, so we may have roses in December.” My sister Sarah knows it. It was a good opportunity to talk with TIanxiang about the resurrection and the faith, also good for me to be able to talk about it as well. All the best…

      • I know how much flowers mean to me and how much my mom would appreciate them.

        I like that memory quote. Wonderful.

        And good for you that you could be a witness to Christ.

  3. Thread crazy Says:

    Aww, what a day to treasure Audrey. I so remember using those same type of Easter egg dyeing kits as a child. Hmm, maybe I should have done that too…just for fun. What a memory you have created and I just know your Mother so enjoyed it too.

  4. I dont think you are ever too old to dye eggs. I love it! Lovely piece!

  5. How wonderful, Audrey. I remember when my father-in-law taught our kids to blow the egg out of the shell and they decorated the eggshells. We still have those shells. Great memories.

  6. Dan Traun Says:

    Haven’t done this in years. Fun for all ages though.

  7. cecilia Says:

    How wonderful, working with the older generation always touches something deep in me and what gorgeous brightly coloured eggs. I have never dyed eggs, ever, I guess our Mum did not do those kinds of things with us. Easter was all about lent and torture. Crosses and Horror really. Not sweet little eggs and bunny rabbits by any means. On a nicer note: the little children who came to visit the other day collected a dozen eggs in the chook house and the wee girl looked up at me and said .. These are eggs. We could Dye these! Such joy in her eyes.. c

    • You definitely have a heart for caring for the aged.

      I’m sorry you never had those sweet memories of Easter in addition to faith-filled lessons. It’s not too late to begin the tradition. Next year have that sweet girl over to pick, then dye, eggs. You could even make your own dyes from plant materials, although I have no advice to offer on that.

  8. treadlemusic Says:

    Yes, blessings come in many forms…..and most are the simple, sometimes overlooked, ‘things’ that have such firmly attached sweet memories. It is comforting to know that in the midst of all the commercializing of the observance “Paas” egg coloring kits hold such prominence. “Paas”, from the Dutch “Pasen” meaning Easter. Lovely post!!!!

  9. What a SWEET thing to do for your Mom – looks like she was enjoying herself! Good to keep the mind sharp and hands moving strong and freely too! You made my day – thanks so much for sharing – Happy Tuesday 🙂

  10. Jackie Says:

    I bet your mom has thought the same thing over the years….missing you and your siblings around to color eggs! Even if it has been a long time, I think that’s something we mom’s never forget and alway yearn for. I did not color eggs this year….no kids around to help either :/ but i I thought about it. I think it’s just wonderful that you did this with your mom Audrey…a memory you will always have and such “good medicine” for your mom. What a loving daughter you are 🙂

    • Yes, I’ve wondered this, too, how often my mom has missed us six kids, but never told us so. Now that I’m the empty nester with kids living from here to Boston, I view holidays differently. No longer can I take for granted that I will be with any of my “kids” to celebrate.

      I treasure every visit with my mom. I truly do.

  11. hotlyspiced Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that none of your children could come home for Easter. Over here Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays so given it’s a four-day weekend, most people are able to make it home for the holiday. And after Easter Monday, we have another public holiday on Friday for ANZAC Day so I don’t think there’ll be much productivity at work this week. I think it’s lovely that you went to your parent’s home for Easter and carried on with the egg-dying tradition. You’re never too old! The eggs look really pretty and such a lovely rainbow of colours. I’m sure it made your mother’s Easter xx

    • We were meant to be at my mom’s for Easter as she was having some health issues. The egg dyeing was a welcome diversion and, although the weekend was not as we expected, it was good to be with my dear mother.

  12. Marilyn Says:

    Cherish the times – I wish my Mom were still here for the joy of fellowship (never mind the joy of coloring eggs!) The affirmation of the Resurrection gives me certainty I will again see her one day. Anticipation of the joy of that reunion makes me think our human relationships will pale in the overwhelming reality of eternity with my Savior.

  13. Such a dear story. So glad you did this in remembrance of days gone by! You look a lot like your mom! People say that about Katie – that she looks like me – and I just laugh because I think she’s ever so much more lovely than her mother!

  14. Lisa C. Says:

    I love this Audrey. Thank you for sharing! ❤

  15. Sue Ready Says:

    I really miss coloring eggs. It brings back fond memories with my children. Lucky you still have a mom enthusiastic for such an activity.

  16. ryanware Says:

    What a wonderful thing to do.


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