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Published April 25, 2011, 04:45 AM

Color the eggs

TOWNER, N.D. — North Dakota is one of those special places where you can hide your Easter eggs in a snowbank, even when Easter falls toward the end of April.

By: Ryan Taylor, Special to Agweek

TOWNER, N.D. — North Dakota is one of those special places where you can hide your Easter eggs in a snowbank, even when Easter falls toward the end of April. Maybe the idea of coloring Easter eggs came from a country with spring snowstorms, since brightly dyed eggs were easier to spot than white eggs on snowy Easter mornings.

To look out the window as I write this, you’d think it was December, not April. I’m confident that spring will come eventually. That’s the promise of Easter. Resurrection and rebirth. There’s already plenty to pray for in church on Easter Sunday, but I’m going to throw in a small prayer for green grass and sunshine.

The weather is improving, so the snow may all be melted by Easter morning, but this year there’s always a chance for another snow squall and another few inches of snow to land on the ground.

More than likely, we’ll be able to hide some eggs in snowbanks and tuck a few in the mud, but there won’t be a lot of green grass to camouflage their hiding place.

Easter eggs aren’t what they used to be in our house. I grew up with the hard-boiled eggs that we would dip in dye. I didn’t even mind eating them after they had completed their festive tour of duty. I wasn’t wild about the hard-boiled yolks when I was little, but I could eat a lot of hard-boiled whites with a little salt and pepper.

I was always better at eating hard-boiled eggs, Easter and otherwise, than Dad. He lost his taste for hard-boiled eggs after his cousin “preserved” a whole bucket of eggs by hard boiling them when they were chasing a group of horses 160 miles to auction in the 1930s. He claimed he ate enough hard-boiled eggs as they camped out on that trip to last a lifetime.

Dad would be happy with our transition from real dyed eggs to the plastic eggs that pop apart and reveal a few jelly beans, a couple malted milk balls or a quarter for the piggy bank. The switch to plastic probably is a hardship for the farmers with laying hens, but a boon for the jelly bean sellers and the always-growing plastics industry.

Holiday warmth

It builds character in our children when they have to wear their winter coats to hunt for eggs on Easter and stretch their Halloween costumes over coveralls and snowmobile suits to go trick-or-treating. It doesn’t mean we don’t have some pretty nice weather after Halloween or before Easter, but our sometimes uncertain weather will give us different holiday memories than kids from warmer climates.

Sometimes the cooler weather is a benefit to the holidays that push candy onto our kids. When the temperatures dip below freezing, you don’t have to worry about the miniature chocolate bars melting in your Easter basket or trick-or-treat bag. That milk chocolate Easter bunny might look a little cold, but at least his whiskers won’t droop and drip a chocolaty mess on your jelly beans.

I’m a four-seasons guy, and I truly like living in a land that has all four very distinct seasons represented on the calendar. But, as much as I like and respect winter, spring is a welcome sight.

And Easter is a welcome holiday. With or without the green grass. With or without snow or hard-boiled eggs and pastel dye or frozen chocolate bunnies. It’s a spiritual thing found in church for many of us, not a commercial thing found on the aisle end cap of the local Wal-Mart.

It takes a lot more than a little snow to dampen that spirit.

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