Many years ago in my early thirties, soon after I moved to town, I joined a quilting group comprised mostly of older women. One of those women was Thelma French. She was vivacious and fun loving, with a rough, gravelly voice and a mischievous sense of humor. She was kind and thoughtful, and possessing a can-do attitude, did lots of volunteer work around town, particularly with the church. Everyone loved Thelma.
One of her annual traditions was hosting an Easter egg hunt on her front lawn. She gathered older kids and friends together to dye dozens of eggs, which were then hidden under bushes and in the gentle slope of tufted grass in her yard.
Young children of the town were invited to join the hunt and prizes were awarded, but everyone went home with something, usually chocolate candy eggs, which were more popular than the hard-boiled ones! I brought my children there when they were small and recall the fun, watching the dash and search for eggs, particularly the coveted “Golden Egg,” which yielded a special prize to the finder.
Those of us who knew Thelma still miss her friendly cheer and speak of her fondly. In her honor, the church has kept up the tradition she started so many years ago. The Annual Thelma French Memorial Easter Egg Hunt no longer takes place on her lawn, but at the Town ball field, where volunteers hide hundreds of dyed eggs.
The young children of the town gather at the appointed time and with great excitement, hunt for eggs hidden at the base of trees, in tufts of grass and even around the play structure, dugout and bleachers.
This particular year, over 300 eggs were hidden and 23 children participated, in three age categories.
The winners for the most eggs collected were: Age 0-3 years – Finn, age 3, collected 17 eggs. Age 4-6 years – Gus, age 5, collected 39 eggs. Age 7-10 years – Patrice, age 8, collected 42 eggs. The golden egg was found by Ben, age 10.