Editor’s Notebook: Dashing out a few ways to keep everyone a-prized, and happy, at Easter

As 40-yard-dashes go, pro football’s got nothing on the Easter egg hunt.

With that, a few thoughts on egg hunt events after witnessing the generous and community-based events at Down Manor and Jackson Park this year:

First: The safety fair that happens at the same time has grown in size and constitutes one of the best examples of community cooperation all year, and that says plenty, given the record throughout the year of outreach efforts by law enforcement, safety agencies and other community groups.

Second: Recycling plastic eggs in exchange for a goodie bag is a new tradition, and a good one. But the egg hunt and goodie bag combo needs some tweaking.

Third: Jackson Park is getting too small for this event. The egg hunt rivaled August’s Family in the Park for biggest crowd in that welcoming green bowl of lawn and oak. The crowd of kids and parents waiting for the 11 a.m. sharp egg hunt bell to sound veritably bulged the plastic cordon they all stood behind.

And when the bell sounds, what ensues is a 40-yard dash for colored eggs, a spectacle clearly enjoyed by (just about) everyone. It is a little surprising that more kids didn’t do a face plant with their basket in hand.

So, short of moving the event, a few suggestions:

Declare an upper age limit, say age 10.

Do a semi-closure on May Street from 13th to 17th, with parking allowed in the Aquatic Center lot and the north side of May, and the rest of the area reserved for crowds and what turned out to be a logjam for goodie bags.

The question should be asked: how many eggs do volunteers need to put out?

The two-piece plastic shells come in multiple colors, so how about inviting kids to find one color of each: pink, yellow, blue, green, and purple. Each kid gets five eggs, no more, no less, and they still get to turn them in for a goodie bag.

Put a special item in all eggs of one color, ensuring each kid of one such prize, for a little thrill-of-the hunt feel to the event.

For kids 5 and under, sure, parents might go along with them, for safety and the security an adult can provide.

Beyond that, the kids should be on their own for the 40-yard dash. Fewer dads and moms pointing to plain-as-day eggs on the lawn gives more room for the kids who believe in the Easter bunny.

The most remarkable moment at Saturday’s event was the moment at 10:55 a.m. when two kids, age 8 or so, slipped under the cordon and went and started picking up eggs. The remarkable thing was that ONLY two kids did so. They were marshaled back by an adult, but credit to the hundreds of other kids who stayed put.

Easter fell on April Fool’s this year, and from my observation there was precious little foolin’ going on to detract from the sacred day.

But a couple cultural notes, scientific and social, put some weird twists on the day of spiritual observance:

Lice Clinics of America has used early April to suggest parents go on “a different hunt ... for head lice.” In Portland, the clinics open on April 7 to give families the opportunity to eliminate lice and nits during their third annual Head Lice Egg Hunt.

The clinics’ press release added, “Families are guaranteed to go home lice-free, just in time for the holiday.” (They do not say which holiday.)

News item: “After much fanfare, the rogue Chinese space station Tiangong-1 finally plunged through Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over the southern Pacific Ocean at 8:16 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. It burst into flames and tiny pieces as it made its long-anticipated descent …”

So the burnt remnants of a Chinese space station fell “safely” into the south Pacific Ocean Sunday instead of on land, as was alerted last week.

Reminds me of the point made by John McPhee in his book “Waiting for A Ship,” about the life of merchant ships and the people who staff them; they are justifiably bothered by newscast statements about hurricanes or other severe weather that say “the storm moved safely out to sea.” What about maritime travelers who might be in harm’s way? Not so safe for them.

I suppose mariners in the south Pacific were watching their heads while on night watch Sunday.

It had been posited that parts of Tiangong might come down somewhere near Medford and greater southwest Oregon, based on the debris’ trajectory and other factors.

By the way, Tiangong translates as “Heavenly Place,” in one of the great bilingual ironies of our time. Which led me to envision a strange kind of egg hunt somewhere down in Jackson and Josephine counties.

“Okay, kids, when the bell sounds run out and gather up your eggs — and a special Easter prize to anyone finding a charred piece of the Tiangong!”

According to news reports, the reentry of space debris into Earth’s atmosphere is a phenomenon that occurs dozens or even hundreds of times each year, with just under 200 such events in 2017, but odds of a person being hit are about 1 in 1 trillion. The one known case in the United States occurred in 1997, when Tulsa resident Lottie Williams was walking in a park with her friends and felt a tap on her shoulder. A charred, lightweight fragment of the U.S. Delta II booster had landed on her, so lightly that it didn’t injure her.

As to Lottie Williams’ experience, it happened at 3 a.m., so clearly, she was not in the park for an Easter egg hunt.



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