Whatever happened to hunting Easter eggs?
Yeah, I know, we still incorporate the pagan practice with our Christian celebration, and even hold huge community Easter-egg hunts. Children flock every year to Patriots Park, to Harlem or to various churches to scoop up candy like little two-legged lawn-sweepers and plop it in their bulging baskets.
But folks, these events aren't Easter-egg hunts. These days, the organizers just take big bags of wrapped candy and strew it across an open field, and then turn the children loose to snatch up as much of it as they can, as quickly as they can, in a frenzy of high-speed gluttony.
The challenge is no longer to seek out eggs in a well-disguised hiding place, but to see who can fill their bucket first.
Back when I was a kid, Easter egg hunts involved actual hard-boiled eggs, dyed with food coloring (did you know you can buy them, already boiled and dyed, in the grocery store? Sacrilege!). And adults or older kids hid the eggs around the house or church so children had to really search to find them.
The joy of the hunt was in discovering a brightly colored egg tucked away in a great hiding place, such as a pile of leaves at the base of a tree or the underside of the pump-house roof. The long afternoon hunts rewarded those who were patient and observant.
Now? The reward is to those who can pick up the most candy in the fastest time. The only real joy of discovery is in finding a special egg that can be redeemed for a prize.
Treated this way, is it any wonder kids don't seem to appreciate their excessive amount of possessions, and that they have the attention spans of gnats?
This is a problem we can fix, one hunt at a time.
The fate of the future is in your hands, moms and dads. Today, right after your belt-busting Easter dinner, hide some real eggs. Then encourage your children to actually search for them. There will be no quick fixes, no instant gratification. They'll sacrifice a little time now in return for greater satisfaction that comes with real accomplishment.
Then, just maybe, you can use the golden egg of an opportunity to teach them that the Christian observance of Easter isn't about how much we can get, and how fast we can grab it. It's about what someone else gave on our behalf, and about how the benefits of that self-sacrifice will last for eternity.
Smoke follows Tom
Among the more startling sights the other day was a photo in The Athens Banner-Herald, accompanying the story aboutformer Columbia County School Superintendent Tom Dohrmann being hired as superintendent of Oconee County schools.
The photo showed a supporter giving a congratulatory hug to Dohrmann's wife, Beth.
That's Beth, as in former Columbia County school trustee Beth Trotter.
Some may remember that among the allegations that led to Dohrmann's abrupt resignation here in 1998 was the red-hot rumor that he was engaged in extramarital hanky-panky with Trotter, who at the time was a Columbia County teacher and had served on the school board that hired Dohrmann. He vehemently denied the rumor, which was tiny when compared to complaints of sexual harassment and financial improprieties for which the state's Professional Standards Commission later cleared him.
Not long after he'd moved away, first taking a job as a host at an exclusive downtown Atlanta club and later getting back into education, Dohrmann got a divorce and married Trotter. Draw your own conclusion about whether there was a fire smoldering under the smoke of all that gossip.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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