Oklahoma City family fun is surprisingly well planned.
Easter egg hunts seem to be everywhere this year in and around Oklahoma City. This week's edition of Weekend Picks, MetroFamily's Thursday newsletter with the top 10 events for the upcoming weekend, features no fewer than eight organized hunts, one of which includes 30,000 eggs dropped from a helicopter and another that also includes a live butterfly release.
Either of those would have been the stuff of pastel dreams when I was a child.
I wasn't familiar with organized Easter egg hunts until moving to Oklahoma and having my own children.
My Mom made a huge effort to keep the Easter Bunny tradition going as long as possible and now that I'm the parent, I have great admiration for all that she did to make the holiday memorable. Our yard was more than an acre and she hid eggs throughout its landscape; they weren't just tossed on the lawn. She hid them up high, down low, throughout blue flax plants and the one dozen pine trees that dotted our property in a neat row, tied on with string.
There was a wood pile, a cardboard target where my Dad practiced archery, a trailer and an irrigation system, all bedecked in neon plastic Easter eggs I can only imagine she filled hours after we went to sleep.
We lived in a rural area and I spied my Mom in her nightgown at 5 a.m. before first light, hiding those quickly and quietly, despite the cold. I pretended not to see so she wouldn't stop doing it and the tradition could continue long past an appropriate age.
I can remember several Easter Sundays when we had to wear mittens to go and find those eggs. The cold wasn't a deterrent, though. We hid them again for our parents and the bright colors contrasted with gray days.
There was always Easter dinner with deviled eggs, ham and coconut cake. We ate it in the dining room, with inlaid silverware stored in individual plastic wrappers and the same orange rose pattern china that's still trotted out at special occasions at their house. I think of Jim Gaffigan's joke that all those fancy dishes had to be washed with the tears of newborn kittens. Pretty much.
It didn't occur to anyone to host an Easter egg hunt. Our church attempted it one year but I don't recall that they ever did it again due to logistical failings and parishioner complaints. Chocolate was stepped on, feelings were hurt as big kids took eggs away from little kids and starched Easter dresses were muddied from the snow that had turned the church grounds to slush. New grass was trampled and I doubt it had a chance to grow back.
Everything's more sophisticated now. We have Pinterest and events are scheduled in advance. My four year old asked me yesterday if we needed to leave the Easter Bunny a gift in exchange for his and I ended up saying something about organic carrots and his lack of opposable thumbs. I don't know.
Those simpler times from 20 years ago were just fine.
This year in particular seems very well thought out and a list of Easter events, including several Easter egg hunts, can be found here.
My Mom still comes over to decorate our yard every Easter morning. I still pretend not to see her so the magic of Easter and of those years can feel real again.