When my brother, sisters and I were growing up on the ranch, we spent some worrisome days just prior to Easter. We looked forward to the holiday, and we worried that we might not get to have an Easter egg hunt. Our dad always said that an early Easter meant an early spring, but in Moffat County, it really didn’t matter whether it was March or April; it always could storm.
So we worried. Would there be even a few patches of bare lawn for hunting eggs? And if the lawn did bare off, would it stay that way until after Easter morning? We listened to the weather forecast on the radio. We hoped. I think we even might have prayed.
We spent time reading the spring issues of magazines, printed a month ahead. The advertising photos captured children, dressed in their best Easter clothes, as they hunted pink, blue and yellow eggs and put them in their baskets. White bunnies hopped around in the emerald-green grass, and orange-yellow ducks hid behind booming tulips. The location of the photo seemed a world away from Moffat County.
Sometimes the weather was pretty decent the day before Easter. We had hope. Mom had been saving white eggs, courtesy of the ranch chickens, and she boiled them up. (We worried about that, too. Would we have enough eggs? Ten dozen just didn’t seem like many.) We colored the eggs and left them out for the bunny to hide — outside, we hoped.
I don’t remember getting up at night to check on the weather, but alas, sometimes we woke up to snow. Dad and Mom told us to get dressed, put on our shoes, and go downstairs. When we went to put on our shoes, we found eggs in them. We knew the bunny had hid the eggs indoors. Can you imagine finding about ten dozen eggs in a house — and not a very big house at that?
The Easter baskets were hidden inside, too. I can remember finding mine in the flour bin.
But oh, those years that the weather was warm enough for the snow to go off! (This would be such a year.) That’s when we found our Easter baskets in the thicket of chokecherry, serviceberry and oak trees that bordered one side of the yard. They had been left on some of the large rocks in the thicket. My brother, Duane, also remembers finding his basket in the barn loft one year.
The eggs were hidden all over the yard, and there were so many of them that we had a good hunt. (Some weren’t found until the lawn was mowed later in the spring.)
In later years, when we lived at Severance and had our own children, we were apt to have good weather at Easter, even in March — but not always. I remember one year especially. I think my sister Charlotte and her family lived in Fort Collins then. She decided to hide the Easter eggs the night before. The next morning her children had no trouble finding the eggs. All they had to do was look for the colors in the snow. Our kids found the eggs indoors.
The years have passed way too fast, but my husband, Lyle, and I are grateful that we’ve been part of our grandchildren’s Easters all of these years. Here at Pipi’s Pasture, we have braved light snow, ground that hasn’t quite cleared of snow and wind, but most of the time the weather has allowed for at least a brief egg hunt and sometimes a little kite flying, too. And, by tradition, the last stop of the hunt is the shop where the baskets and other gifts have stayed dry and out of the wind.
Happy Easter, everyone.