Hope you had a Happy Easter

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamie drake out­doors @out­look.com

Easter has never been my fa­vorite hol­i­day. Thanks­giv­ing will al­ways hold that place of honor in my heart. But lately, I’m start­ing to de­velop a real fond­ness for spi­ral ham, eg­gin-spoon races and choco­late candy. Well, let’s be hon­est, that last one isn’t an en­tirely new de­vel­op­ment.

When I was a lit­tle girl, and we were liv­ing off Post Of­fice Road in Wal­dorf, my dad got a hold of a tiny Douglas Fir seedling wrapped in a wet pa­per towel that we planted in the front yard.

Within a few years — and to my dad’s credit for stak­ing the tree and dili­gently wa­ter­ing it — it had grown a cou­ple feet, and one year my mom strung those brightly-col­ored plas­tic eggs from the branches at Easter time. To my 5-year-old self, it couldn’t get any more fes­tive than that.

We moved to the coun­try soon af­ter, but I never did for­get that tree. Back when I was in col­lege and home for the week­end, my sis­ter and I drove to Wal­dorf to do some shop­ping. We revisited a few of our old haunts like the duck pond with the play­ground where I got my head stuck be­tween some bars and had to be ex­tracted by the fire depart­ment, and we re­traced the ex­act route I walked to Dr. Sa­muel A. Mudd Ele­men­tary School ev­ery day as a young­ster. Then we took a lit­tle de­tour past our old house.

We were dumb­struck when we saw it. That lit­tle Douglas Fir had grown al­most 30 feet tall and took up nearly the en­tire yard where it was planted. I went back a few years ago, but the tree was gone. There wasn’t even a stump left to mark its for­mer lo­ca­tion. I haven’t been back since.

I don’t do any sort of dec­o­rat­ing for Easter ex­cept buy­ing the oblig­a­tory pot of tulips for the kitchen ta­ble. It’s prob­a­bly that I’m still re­cov­er­ing from all the lights the kids and I string across our house and yard at Christ­mas. You see, my hus­band climbs the lad­der and puts a wreath on each win­dow. The rest is up to me.

He calls it di­vi­sion of la­bor, but I know it’s just a clever scheme of his to re­duce our al­ready sky-high electric bill in De­cem­ber.

I didn’t re­ally need to do any dec­o­rat­ing this Easter any­way. Our yard is al­ready lush and green, the aza­leas are bloom­ing and di­anthus with bright pink flow­ers are pop­ping up ev­ery­where. All we needed were a dozen kids and those plas­tic Easter eggs to com­plete the look.

Luck­ily we have an Easter brunch at our house. It’s been a tra­di­tion for al­most a decade now and ev­ery year ex­tended fam­ily and friends from the neigh­bor­hood con­vene for sausage casse­role and dev­iled eggs and cof­fee cake. Af­ter eat­ing, the kids go in­side and the adults hide the eggs. Then

we call ev­ery­one on the back deck and re­lease the kids in heats, with the youngest get­ting a head start to try to even out the play­ing field a lit­tle.

We used to put the eggs right in the grass or nes­tled on a clump of flow­ers, near the ground and easy to see. But as the kids have got­ten older, we’ve had to find more cre­ative places, higher up and harder to find. Most of the eggs are found in the first few min­utes, but it’s al­ways fun to hear a bona-fide squeal of de­light later in the day as some­one finds an egg that es­caped the first round of in­spec­tion.

I’m sure many of you have the same kind of fam­ily tra­di­tions. When I think back to my hap­pi­est mem­o­ries from child­hood, the things that stick out most in my mind are the fun times I had with my fam­ily. I don’t re­mem­ber the clothes I wore or the ex­act food we ate, but I do re­mem­ber that amaz­ing Easter egg tree my mother dec­o­rated, my Pop-Pop hid­ing Easter eggs for me and my sis­ter to find, and the time my dad took me fish­ing in a canoe on Easter morn­ing and I caught my first bass.

I’m sure my kids are go­ing to look back fondly on these Easter egg hunts, and I can only hope that some­day they’ll do the same with their own chil­dren and I’ll be around to see it. You never can tell what will stick out the most for your child when they think back to their early years, but fam­ily cel­e­bra­tions are sure to cap­ture a child’s heart and leave a mark that lasts a life­time.

I hope you all had a Happy Easter mak­ing mem­o­ries with the ones you love.

Rockfish or turkey?

For many of us, hav­ing to pick be­tween a beau­ti­ful day for fish­ing or go­ing turkey hunt­ing is like be­ing asked which of your daugh­ters is the pret­ti­est. There’s no safe an­swer.

Spring turkey sea­son got un­der­way yes­ter­day and here are a few safety re­minders worth read­ing, both for hunters and non-hunters alike.

Flu­o­res­cent orange isn’t re­quired for turkey hunters, but it’s highly en­cour­aged. If you’re not a hunter and just out for a hike, put on a flu­o­res­cent orange hat or vest (or bet­ter yet, both) so those gob­bler-stalk­ers don’t have a chance of mis­tak­ing you for a turkey.

And no one ven­tur­ing into fields or woods should wear any blue, red or white cloth­ing for the next five weeks. Those col­ors oc­cur nat­u­rally on a tom’s head, which is the hunter’s pri­mar y tar­get.

And if you’re one of the lucky hunters who gets a turkey this spring, make sure to wrap it in blaze orange or tie an orange rib­bon on it as you’re trans­port­ing it to your ve­hi­cle.

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