Once again focusing on simplicity, I am reminded of the times in my own childhood that brought happiness and hold wonderful memories for me today.
Easter is full of tradition…and flowers, and bunnies, and chicks, and dyed eggs, and…well, you get the point. The good, clean fun – scratch “clean” – of dying a dozen boiled eggs in little coffee cups filled with water, vinegar, and a Paas color tablet. Carefully balancing that egg on the little metal “dipper” so that you can dye one side green and the other blue. Dipping them in for a few second to get the really light pastel colors and leaving them in until Mom thought you had forgotten about it to get the deep, rich darker hues.
My sister and I would love dying eggs and we always had more than a dozen – my aunt would see to that! We had to dye a dozen for my mother and a dozen for my aunt – and of course, then there was always a dozen more for Easter egg hunts. But the tradition that existed in our family that always was even more special, to me anyway, was the building of Bunny nests.
I know that someone out there had to have built Bunny nests when they were a kid. This couldn’t have been a tradition that belonged to my sister and I alone. But when we were growing up, we didn’t know one other child of one other family who participated in this particular ritual.
We would take paper plates out into the backyard and we would collect a variety of spring blossoms - azaleas, dogwood blossoms, daffodils, buttercups, honeysuckle, and those tiny purple flowers that grow on wild clover. We would take them all to the back steps and we would arrange them carefully on the paper plates. It took a long time to collect just the perfect blossoms and even longer to make the perfect arrangement. Once we were finished, we would bring my mother and my aunt out to the back steps to view our creations. After the appropriate “oohs” and “aahs”, we would leave them on the back steps as the perfect place for the Easter Bunny to lay very special eggs, just for us.
When we woke up the next morning, along with Easter baskets full of candy and stuffed bunnies, we would find beautifully dyed eggs in our Bunny nests. They would be tie-dyed or speckled, full of glitter or look like perfect water color portraits. They were the most beautiful eggs and we never were able to break those beautiful shells to eat them – they were “just too pretty to eat.”
It was years later before we found out that my mother and my aunt would stay up after we had gone to bed and spend probably hours decorating these marvelous egg creations that were “specially made for us” by the Easter Bunny.
It was a simple pleasure that meant so much to us. I imagine the most expensive investment in the entire project was their time. And it is one of the best Easter memories that I have, to this day.