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Easter Bags

TulipsSpring was never a certainty at our house. Volatile weather and too many busy schedules to accommodate meant we never knew for sure if the sunny days of summer were going to follow or not. But somehow they always did, and we rang spring officially in with the passing of Easter.

Of course, Easter for us never meant bonnets, bunnies or baskets but bags. Yes, the same brown lunch bags we toted to school and returned home with again under the idle threat of not getting a lunch the next day. But we believed it, and we returned with those bags, however shabby they may have looked by week's end.

Easter bags were new, crisp brown sheaths, never having housed a sandwich or being clutched by little hands to school. And decorating those bags was a bigger thrill than ever dipping eggs. We could define ourselves by our bags, and even personalize them with giant first names in case a sibling mistook the wrong treasure of treats. Definition however limited by Crayon box of 24 or whatever colorful utensil that had not been broken, battered or lost.

Colorado Easters provided for primarily indoor hunts. Those bags never would have survived a wet, snowy Easter morning. So my parents labored to fill all eleven and somehow try to hide them in the house, basing findability on the age and skill of the searcher.

The true thrill of the hunt was disguising one's joy at finding a bag in case the finder was not the owner, in which case the rules disallowed telling of a bag not yours. So we scrambled and tumbled all over the house, and hunted, feigned and pretended until the rightful bag was located. There was always a fear of a bag not found, because Colorado springs could also mean 90 degree days which would be unmerciful to the neglected Easter egg. Plus, no one could partake of a bag's contents until all bags had been found.

The bags, once found were unceremoniously dumped on the carpet so every enclosure could be examined and perhaps inhaled. And for a Sunday morning, our stomachs only had such a stuffing of sweets once a year.

And as noon came closer, the bags were collected and placed on top of the refrigerator, supposedly out of reach but for the monkeys who could climb counters or the ruffians who could hop on someone else's shoulders.

The bags were never as exciting as that one morning. Once poured on the floor, the magic and mystery vanished almost as quickly as the candy. But every year, we were just as excited and just as hyped for the hunt. It was a tribal custom, and when we did it together such fun had never been had.

- Mary O. Fumento, April 2007

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