My life has been very blessed with family traditions. I savor each and every one, especially now, as the time for my kids to leave the nest gets closer. From the time I first met Scott’s family, his parents have lived in an incredible home on a beautiful hill, in a plush valley of Oregon. When Scott and I got engaged they were living in a trailer on the property, as their dream home was being built. It sits on five acres and looks out and over a beautiful farm land, and then the hills on the far side. The sunsets and sunrises fill my photo albums as I can never resist the chance to record the beauty that is displayed.

It is here in this idyllic setting come rain or shine, and often it is rain, we have our annual Easter egg hunt and birthday extravaganza. Mary Ellen and Gale stuff what seems like thousands of plastic Easter eggs with change they have been saving for the year and candy. It takes a couple of hours to fill the eggs, and they are always ready and waiting to be hidden when we arrive. The highlight of the egg hunt is the GRAND EGG, a special egg that is filled with a twenty-dollar bill. This is the coveted prize for all egg hunters and the bragging rights of finding it last a whole year!

We also celebrate all the birthdays that we have missed since last seeing each other. The Johnson family was very busy in the Spring and so we have an abundance of birthdays to celebrate. We gather at the house on the hill, and eat, drink, laugh and catch up. We have had as many as thirty gathered and almost all of us participate in the egg hunt. Adults and children alike are allowed to hunt for the Grand Egg. This is what makes it even more fun. We all get to be kids again, and fight to find the elusive egg.

Alas, I have never found the Grand Egg but it never stops me from trying. There have been talks of conspiracy between grandparents and grand children but nothing has been proven. There have been animated attempts to sneak a peek while the hiding is going on and lots of smack talk between family members. It is hidden very well and in most cases, is the last egg to be found. Maybe this year will be my lucky year.

We then gather around a table of fabulous food brought from each of our homes, and share a meal together in the beautifully decorated house . There are always fresh flowers, lots of chocolate, good Oregon wine and sparkling cider for the kids. There is usually a new colt in the field next door, reminding us of the fragility and newness of life. Scott’s parents have done an amazing job with this tradition, keeping it fun, relevant, and family focused.

Now the grandkids are teenagers, and young adults, and our lives spread out across the Western United States. Still they do not want to miss this special time. I think that is a true reflection of the success of a tradition, when even as teenagers they look forward to this weekend. They are willing to drive long distances, miss sporting events, and as college students home for just a short time, make family a priority. We all look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they have lots of traditions of their own. Yet, there is something about this unique spot on the hill, looking for a GRAND EGG, and celebrating life that makes this tradition hold a very special place in my heart.

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I did not find the egg this year, my daughter Jessie did and this year it had $50.00 in it. Next year its all mine

Comment by Kari

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