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The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 11:39 a.m.

Herald readers share basket of Easter traditions

Stories of Easter eggs and other seasonal treats

  • Easter baskets were filled last year at the home of April Zepeda, Brian King and their children, Nate and Anabella King.

    Courtesy of April Zepeda

    Easter baskets were filled last year at the home of April Zepeda, Brian King and their children, Nate and Anabella King.

On Easter Sunday the most cleverly hidden eggs may reap the biggest reward.
Thera Martin, who grew up in Marysville, found that out the stinky way.
"I grew up on a lot of property with horses, so my dad (Mike) would put on an Easter egg hunt for my sister (Aubrey) and me that would span seven acres," Martin said. "I was the competitive one, but my sister was the sneaky one. She would watch my dad as he hid the eggs."
Prizes inside the plastic eggs would range from a $50 bill to a half-eaten piece of candy corn. Her Dad always found creative hiding spots.
"He especially appreciated the gross-out factor of hiding eggs on a pile of horse dung," Martin said. "But my sister and I would swallow our pride because those eggs always had the best prizes."
Tracy Tallman of Edmonds lived for two years in Poland while serving with the Peace Corps. She bought hundreds of hand-painted wooden Russian and Polish Easter eggs in a Russian market in Warsaw, aiming to sell them at a Polish Home Society sale in Seattle.
She got on the airplane with a duffel bag stuffed with the small works of art.
"Something went awry in the Colorado airport," Tallman said. "When I got the bag, there were maybe 30 of 500 eggs remaining."
Easter always reminds her of the loss, and she said envisions those giant interlocking luggage belts in the bowels of the airport with 470 hand-painted eggs rolling around untended.
"I'm sure they've been cleaned up by now, but the image brings me a laugh," Tallman said. "And it is easy to pause and wonder what havoc they may have wreaked on that machinery, eggs rolling out conveyor belts and on to the tarmac, or wherever those belts lead."
Kevin Zobrist of Everett said his family attends church, as usual, followed by a family Easter dinner.
"When I was growing up, my parents used to hide chocolate eggs for me to hunt," Zobrist said. "It has now expanded to an annual competition in which my parents hide eggs for my wife and I in one room, while my wife and I hide eggs in another for my parents."
The competition is to see who can find their set of eggs the fastest.
They also hide baskets. One year, his basket wasn't in the usual spot.
"Not expecting this, I panicked, thinking that no Easter basket had come. When my parents led me to the other room and I realized I had been tricked, I got angry and stormed up to the Easter basket and gave it a good swift kick to show my contempt for these new shenanigans."
The whole scene was captured on video for posterity, he said, and he has never been able to live it down.
Easter was always beautiful in California, said Tina Beene, who now lives in Edmonds. Neighborhood kids would barter what they found in their baskets.
"I always traded my jelly beans and marshmallow bunnies for anything chocolate," Beene said. "My favorite was the chocolate rocky road See's Easter egg."
After the family meal, there were games.
"My Dad and I always won the water balloon toss, which I loved, considering we always came in last in the sack race. I'm grown now with new traditions and living in a different state, which my husband, daughter and I really love. However, there isn't an Easter that goes by that I don't think about those wonderful days growing up. In fact this might be the year to dust off the old sacks and give it another try."
At the Teresa Rugg home in Snohomish, the bunny brings strawberry plants and last year, two apple trees.
"The kids were thrilled and the trees brought them more joy over the year than a stuffed animal," Rugg said. "Don't get me wrong, the Easter bunny does bring plenty of chocolate."
The family celebrates at Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Marysville.
"Every Easter, we participate in a flower communion in which everyone brings a flower to share and then receives a new flower in return. I remember one year in which the only flowers we had in our yard were dandelions. Fortunately, our daughter, Tessa, believing they were beautiful, picked them for the communion."
She reminded everyone that even things we label as weeds have an innate beauty to them, Rugg said.
Easter has always been special for Laura Pawley of Everett. Traditions continue with baskets found by their beds, searching for chocolate eggs, church, spring dresses and a family luncheon.
"I'm all grown up now with two kids of my own," Pawley said. "It's a day of celebrating family, love, the renewal of spring, and the glory of Christ's resurrection, which is truly the new beginning for us all."
As the marketing director at a Montana ski area, Mary Waggoner of Snohomish said folks would take a frigid ride up the mountain for a sunrise service.
"Assembling on a slope overlooking the rising sun and listening to a service by the director of the ski school (he was not a minister, but a man of incredible wisdom and a way with words) was inspirational and moving," Waggoner said. "Later in the day, the traditional egg hunt became an egg dig, kids burrowing in a designated snow bank for plastic eggs containing prizes including a certificate for a season pass for the next ski season."
April Zepeda of Edmonds was stumped two years ago about how to cook an Easter ham while they were busy at Trinity Lutheran Church.
"Our kids were performing at consecutive church services," she said. "I knew once we got home the family would be starving."
Lo and behold, checking the oven owner's manual, she discovered there was a "Sabbath setting."
According to Jewish law, devout folks must refrain from work during the Sabbath. The oven's timer setting was a way to have a hot meal without violating the Sabbath.
"It wasn't lost on me that Jewish tradition was helping us follow our Christian tradition," Zepeda said. "In some small way it was my oven that Easter which reminded me how much can be accomplished when different faiths work together. That was a celebration in itself."
As a child, William Frankhouser of Arlington coveted an Easter basket filled with goodies.
"From childhood to now, we would decorate and paint eggs before Sunday," Frankhouser said. "Easter Sunday is a day my family and I go to church and reflect on the life of Jesus Christ."
After a Frankhouser family meal, they hunt elusive eggs. It's best to count how many are hidden, said Toni Wiegand of Everett, before eggs are scattered.
And, Wiegand said, if the count is off, there is always the thrill finding a stray egg or two the next year.

Kristi O'Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » ArlingtonEdmondsEverettMarysvilleSnohomish

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