Growing Up Alaska: Easter Best

For Easter, you never knew if you were searching for eggs wearing your Sunday best under a snowsuit or tucked into your rubber boots. One year we trudged through six inches of mud and another year we had nearly eight feet of snow!

But of all the Easters, two stand out the most to me, one because of total fun, the other because of total terror. Today, I will tell you the former.

It had been a snowy year, especially that spring. Crabb’s Corner, our local cafe/laundry/motel/grocery/bar/etc. was putting on an Easter egg hunt with a couple of grand prizes; a huge easter basket and $50.

They’d painted and filled hundreds of eggs and hired a couple of guys to hide the eggs over night in the park across the street from their place and to keep an eye out to make sure no one started early.

It was a sunny day and the whole community had come together to join in. The little kids went first to their area and collected the plastic eggs from a packed down spot. Then the rules were announced and the boundary set. There was one real egg with a star on it, find it and you win the large basket. Find the golden egg, and you win $50.

There was about a dozen older kids and a handful of younger kids who all lined up and waited for the signal to start. In years past, the best thing to do was follow the paths made through the snow and look for the eggs, so that was once again the plan.

The signal sounded and we took off running into the park. We ran down the starting path and it didn’t go far before turning into a trail where the men who’d hidden the eggs had trudged through eight feet of snow.

The made dash suddenly became shoving and pushing as all of us were trying to go down the same path. The older kids muscled their way through and waded down the trail only to find it went a little ways before turning back.

Unlike in years past, there were no clear trails through the park to follow and only a couple of eggs were visible near the beginning of the hunt. One of my friends spotted a hole about ten feet off the trail and we suddenly realized that the guys had walked a single path and chucked the eggs into the snow.

Kids began floundering through the snow looking for eggs, or more precisely, holes that showed where eggs had entered the snow.

After a half an hour, we were lucky to find a handful of the hundreds of hidden eggs. Kids were wet and cold and started giving up.

Adults began helping and trying to figure out where the eggs might have landed when one of the men who’d hidden the eggs brought out his secret weapon, a homemade potato gun that he had built to launch the eggs into the snow. We’d assumed most of the eggs were within thirty feet of the trail, but with the potato gun, the eggs could clear a hundred feet.

The search went on for nearly an hour before the owners put an end to it and awarded the basket to the kid who found the most eggs. People were perplexed though about the golden egg as it was too large to fit in the potato gun, but no one had found it.

The second man laughed and pointed to the top of 50 foot birch tree in the park. He grabbed his climbing gear and clambered up the tree and chucked it off into the snow causing a few bumps and bruises as kids scrambled for it.

It seemed that the Easter egg hunt had been a disaster, and as the owner of the park said, “I guess that is what you get for hiring a drunk mechanic and lumberjack to hide the eggs!”

It turned out to be the longest Easter egg hunt in history. As the snow melted, every Sunday you would see kids out there looking for eggs, after all, they still hand candy and money in them.

We never did find them all, but we slowly found most of them, including the one with a star on it, though it was so rotten no one wanted to pick it up, but it earned me a chocolate bar.

Author: matthewlasley

I am a school teacher and an author. I like to write picture books, middle grade, science fiction and short stories. I live in Alaska and I love history, so those two things often influence my creative writing.

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