By Kirby Neumann-Rea • Of the News-Register • 

Letter to Readers: With holidays, frivolous is fine but so is solemn

Like plenty of things in this active community, when it came to listing egg hunts and other Easter events, we were kept hopping with keeping up with all the activities this weekend. We ran a list a week ago and you’ll find a much-updated schedule in this print edition.

Our previewing of Easter reminds me of two favorite memories of covering Easter Egg hunts past.

In Hood River, c. 2001, I notice a five year-old girl looking glum and frustrated as she waits for the “go” signal. Her father, Eric, does his best to mollify her, but Hunter (as I would learn was her name) was heading inexplicably to a meltdown. I photographed Hunter in her egg hunt angst, and we ended up publishing one. Every few years I’d run into Eric or Hunter and we’d laugh at the memory. The year she graduated from high school she told me that 12-year-old clipping had been on the family refrigerator since the day it was published. (What higher praise can there be?)

The other memory was from 1982 in Dallas, Oregon, where the fire department would stage the egg hunt. Two hundred kids show up on the hillside overlooking the field where the hunt was to take place. Cone boundaries are set up — but no firefighters, and no eggs. Then, two engines pull up and back onto the field. Firefighters on the trucks pull out big tubs filled with plastic-wrapped eggs and begin hurling them onto the grass. Most kids probably did not care, but for some I wonder if there was a loss of mystique akin to seeing the store Santa on a cigarette break.

Easter and Holy Week are holy days, of course, and this year our Easter previewing remained distinctly secular. Just as Santa either changes or diminishes the tone of Christmas, depending on your point of view, so it might be with the Easter bunny. Holidays with a solemn or spiritual basis are typically rendered either festive or frivolous — that’s you just around the corner, Memorial Day – and it is important to keep the authentic origins in mind. Our recent coverage of a debate about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, itself an event with a serious basis, yielded some eye opening perspectives.

It’s with gratitude in this free society that Americans truly are left to bow in prayer, or hunt down plastic eggs, or both, or neither.

Kirby Neumann-Rea
Managing Editor


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