Through a Glass Darkly: White eggs one of many Easter traditions

When I was growing up, we had chickens that produced brown yard eggs.

Last week, the coming of Easter made me remember that once a year my mother bought a dozen white eggs.

Easter had two special rules for my mom.

The one about buying white eggs for dyeing was secular.

She considered the other one religious. The rule wasn’t that we go to church. We did that every Sunday. Her second rule, which applied to both Easter and Christmas, was that my father and I couldn’t hunt or fish.

With the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus on one hand and manger scenes and sunrise services on the other, Christmas and Easter have an interesting secular and religious mix.

Part of Saturdays before Easter was devoted to the fun of boiling and dyeing the white eggs.

My mom and I did the dyeing at the kitchen table, and I looked forward to coloring a couple of the eggs sky blue, which was the neatest color I’d ever seen.

Over night, the Easter Bunny would slip into our house, leave a basket containing Gold Brick eggs, a hollow chocolate rabbit and a few other treats.

The bunny also would raid our refrigerator, take the dyed eggs and — for some rabbit reason — hide them outside.

He favored the patches of clover that my father always left uncut until after Easter.

I’ve never been a particular fan of boiled eggs, but that didn’t diminish the fun of recovering the ones the Easter rabbit had swiped.

I soon learned we’d need them for egg salad a couple of times in the coming week.

As my children grew up, we developed our own egg-hunting and religious traditions for Easter.

Sunrise services next to one of the LSU lakes always provided a spiritually moving moment for me. We’d watch the sun slowly rise over the lake. As it reached full view, the Rev. David Lange would say “Christ has risen,” and the service would begin.

The egg dyeing was done at grandparents’ homes along with a lot of picture taking.

A couple of times we had to alter traditions because we took Easter trips to the beach where there’s not a lot of clover for hiding eggs.

With my older son, Dobin, the improvisation was unique.

Each year, APBA Game Co. sent out the packs of new baseball cards for a game he and I played. Instead of hiding eggs I’d hide the packs of cards. He enjoyed finding and looking at those more than he liked finding and eating boiled eggs.

On one Easter beach trip we combined the religious and secular by going to a church that had an Easter egg hunt after the service.

Apparently the church didn’t plan for the number of tourists their egg-hunt sign would attract and each of the kids found only a couple of eggs.

As we left, my exasperated daughter, Sarah, said, “That sure was a rotten egg hunt.”

I hope she got more joy out of the spiritual side of that Easter morning.

Advocate Florida Parishes bureau chief Bob Anderson welcomes comments by email to banderson@theadvocate.com.