While loitering inside Calvin Byrd’s office last week, it came to my attention we were both former participants of the Dawson County Community Easter Egg Hunt.
We talked at length of the hunt’s history. Byrd said they planned on hiding 15,000 plastic, candy-filled capsules this year.
“Sounds like a lot, but they’ll disappear just like that,” he said. “You watch...it’s like a vacuum cleaner goes through there and sucks them up.”
The image sparked grade school memories of the mad dash for prizes. I decided to volunteer.
“Good,” Byrd said. “We need help ‘throwing out’ the eggs.”
The phrase sounded odd. It wasn’t until Saturday morning as I joined a dozen other helpers at Veterans Memorial Park that I grasped its meaning.
We fanned out onto the field at 9 a.m., each toting a cardboard box of 500 plastic eggs. I set my box down in the grass and gouged at the tape with a key.
Pulling back the cardboard flaps, I stared inside.
Some lingering childhood instinct surfaced, and I shook off the desire to dive into the box, headfirst. I grabbed two fistfuls of Easter eggs, looking for the perfect spot to hide them.
Volunteers to my left and right were lobbing the eggs in bright, arcing rainbows, scattering them haphazardly across the grass.
“Just get them out there,” said an older man to my right. He was smiling as he pitched them with both hands. “Get them spread out real good. The kids are gonna love it, believe me.”
Following his lead, I cast dozens of eggs in a 50-foot radius.
The man held on to one egg, examining it. It was the last one in his box.
“Now, I’m going to hide this one good,” he said. “This is a special egg.”
I suggested, half jokingly, that he put some money in the egg since it was special. “That’s a good idea,” he said, removing several dollar bills from his wallet.
Walking back, we discovered one of the biggest challenges of an egg hunt: not destroying them before the kids could find them.
Stepping down, I heard a sickening pop. Underfoot were the innards of a broken Easter egg. A purple hunk of taffy clung to my sneaker soles.
Despite my clumsy footing, the volunteers did a good job. It looked like it had rained giant jelly beans all over the sports fields. It must have been a sight for those kids.
You could tell they were ready as they lined up, a look of silent determination on their faces. I stepped over the ropes, looking for a good spot from which to take pictures.
I padded past the piles of eggs, careful not to break any in front of the children.
One misstep, and they would have attacked. Pummeled to death by Easter baskets.
A gentleman on the other side of the barricade called out to me. “You better put on a helmet,” he said, concerned. “Those kids are gonna trample you. Take your pictures, and take them fast.”
The barricades broke, and children spilled onto the field. Each child was in his or her element, tossing treasure into their baskets. I got a couple pictures, then stood back as the herd charged past.
It was like someone had come through with a Hoover. Not an egg in sight.
Frank Reddy is a staff writer for the Dawson Community News. Contact him at (706) 265-3384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.