The weather was sunny but cool enough for someone to don a furry costume and a big bunny head without fainting. Rotary member Bill Randall gathered everyone around him and explained the set-up. The eggs were hidden in different sections of the park for various age groups. But first the Easter bunny would be making an appearance. After that Randall would call out when it was time to line up at the yellow ribbons and the hunt would begin.
The bunny did indeed appear, although he was shaped like a person - except for the very large rabbit head, plus his body was furry. The face was frozen in a pleasant expression, which I found a little creepy. These kids are going to be freaked out, I thought. This is the stuff of nightmares. But, no, they weren't. The kids approached the bunny respectfully. Some shook his hand, er, paw. Then others actually began to hug him. It was really sweet, and I was ashamed of my cynicism.
One cute little 2-year-old watched from a respectful distance; obviously he agreed with my perceptions. I liked this kid, so I asked his mom if I could stalk him during the egg hunt and take his picture. She was game, and he didn't seem to notice. Of course after that big scary bunny, a lady with a camera was nothing.
The hunt was an interesting sociological exercise, observing the approach taken by the various tykes. I focused on the Under 3s, thinking they'd make a cute picture and, hopefully, move slowly enough for me to keep up with them. The plastic eggs were laid out in plain sight on the toddler's playground. My subject would see an egg, smile slightly and head toward it. But inevitably another child would get there first. Sometimes they would grab the egg just as my new little friend was reaching for it, no polite drawing back, "Oh, I see that is your egg," as an older person might have done.
This went on with egg after egg. Yes, I admit I pointed some out but as he toddled over another tyke would inevitably pounce first. I will admit that the boy didn't seem to care. He was happy to walk around with his basket. His mom was enjoying his enjoyment. But I cared! Then someone from Rotary came along with two big baskets, one with little toys and the other with brightly wrapped candy eggs and kisses. Whew. All ended well. Thank you, Rotary.
I remember taking my daughter Zoe to an egg hunt at Oak Hill Park sponsored by a beauty salon when she was 3. The kids were not divided by age group, and Zoe didn't have a chance. She - and most of the toddlers - were left with empty baskets and she was sad. When I saw a kid of about 10 walk by with a basket full of eggs, I offered him $1 to plant one at his foot and let Zoe "find" it. Zoe was happy with her find and the boy was happy with the dollar, although his mother was annoyed at him for accepting my money. But, hey, I'd suggested it, and it was a good lesson in capitalism for him. Another mother suggested to the organizers that perhaps they should have let the little ones go first, and they pointed out that all the kids got bright yellow T-shirts with the salon's name on them.
Alamo Rotary does a better job with its hunt. I talked to some of the parents and one suggested that handing out treats to the eggless was not necessary because this is life - you're not always the one to find the eggs. But I was glad none of the little ones walked away empty-handed.
-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.
This story contains 733 words.
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