By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
I have to admit, Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. From a kid’s perspective it’s easy to understand why. Easter is a bit like Christmas in the spring — at least it was with my family.
Like Santa does on Christmas Eve, every year the Easter Bunny would make a surprise overnight visit to leave Easter baskets for each of us kids. The baskets were filled with chocolate eggs and toys, of course, but, for me, what made Easter better than Christmas was the Easter egg hunt.
My brother, sister and I would pile into the family car after church as mom and dad drove us to one set of grandparents or another for the traditional Easter barbecue. Once everyone had had their fill of food, punch, cake and cookies, some of the adults would sneak outside laden with carton upon carton of cascarones, or confetti eggs. The other adults would make sure we stayed away from the windows so we couldn’t see where all the “golden eggs” containing candy or small sums of money were being hidden.
All this was back before you could buy premade cascarones by the truckload from the local Walmart or from a vendor on the side of the road. We kids had to work hard to dye, decorate and fill the shells ourselves. I can distinctly remember bugging my dad every year to start collecting shells. See, dad took care of breakfast on weekdays during the school year. He’d often ask us what we wanted to eat: eggs prepared a variety of ways, cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, etc. Guaranteed, if it was between New Years and Easter, my answer would always be eggs because I wanted to have as many cascarones available as possible.
So there dad would be, collecting egg shells every morning for about three months straight. He had a special knack for being able to crack just a tiny hole in the tippy-top of the shells, all the better for making confetti eggs with. To this day, I haven’t quite mastered that skill myself.
About a week before Easter, mom, a career elementary school educator, would take over and oversee our decoration efforts with the same no-nonsense efficiency she employed in the classroom. She’d be set with small squares of brightly colored tissue paper, Elmer’s glue, and bags of confetti for us to fill and seal the eggs with. As for decorating them, she had all that ready to go, too, from dip dyes to markers and crayons.
In no time at all, we’d transform those plain white shells into the type of children’s artistic masterpieces sometimes only a mother can love. It didn’t matter to us, though, since half the fun was in getting messy while making them and the other half was in getting messy while breaking them.
If ever there was an Easter during my childhood that was spoiled by inclement weather, I don’t remember it. All my memories of those Sundays past are of sunny days spent hunting for eggy treasure on my grandparents’ lawns and laughing with my cousins as we chased each other around.
Nowadays, families can enjoy creating similar memories on a much larger scale thanks to public Easter egg hunts held by local municipalities or community organizations. One such hunt is being hosted by the South Padre Island Farmers Market this weekend. It’s sure to be fun for big and little kids alike. Line up begins at noon, so don’t be late. And as always, be sure to visit us online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
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