Vicki Wentz: Gracie, look down! It's right there! Look down!

Mar. 29, 2013 @ 11:34 AM

Happy Easter to you all. I wish you peace, love and a basketful of jellybeans! No, I’m not in the bourbon, I’m on Spring break…FINALLY! And, in honor of this wondrous holiday, I began the following poem:


Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Happy school vacationing!

Far from all those students’ eyes

Rolling, and those heavy sighs,

“We know SO much more than you!”

“Please don’t speak!” and “Get a clue!”

Time to read, and time to sleep,

Time to eat a yellow Peep!

Chocolate bunnies, caramel eggs,

Counting age spots on my legs.

Time to use my Sit-n-Reach,

Time to ponder why I teach…


As you can see, it deteriorated somewhat, and I was a tad concerned about where it would end up, so I decided to write about what I do for Easter, like a good, sane columnist ... not that I’m not a good, sane columnist.

Every year, I go to Huntersville to spend Easter with my daughter, son-in-law, and three perfect grandchildren. (When my son complains that I always go there instead of to Wilmington to see him, I reply that if he’d give me grandchildren, too, I’d be there all the time ... which may explain why he’s still single.)

And, every year, the children hunt for their baskets and eggs in their front yard, as well as at the big neighborhood-sponsored hunt. It is hilarious.

There are three different age groups for these hunts - the toddlers, the 4 to 7-year-olds, and the 8 to 10-year-olds - and luckily they do them one-at-a-time, with about a minute in between.

First are the biggest kids. Charlie is 8 and rarin’ to go at the starting line, looking out across the giant field where the Bunny dropped about 7,000 colored eggs. He had his strategy ready: go for the far away eggs ... okay, it’s not the strategy for the Yalta Conference, but it’s still a strategy.

The horn sounded and off they went. Elbows flew, deliberate tripping was engaged in, and intense language was used ... of course, the children weren’t as bad. Unfortunately, several other kids had the same strategy, which was extremely unfair, in my opinion. But, Charlie ran like the wind and snatched like a pro, and came triumphantly back with 11 plastic eggs filled with prizes. Biggest smile you ever saw. It was a proud, proud moment.

Next, we raced to the 4 to 7-year-old field. Georgie, 6, had decided that his brother’s strategy was pitiful, and planned to hit the eggs closest to him, and hit them hard. When the horn blew, he took only about eight steps to the first egg, and I gotta admit, as the other kids charged past him, Georgie picked up 13 eggs as easily and calmly as picking dandelions. When his basket was full, he simply stopped and came happily over to us. Piece of cake. It was awesome.

Finally, we all dashed over to the toddler hunt. Gracie, age 2, in a pink sticky-outie dress, white patent-leathers and a giant pink bow, held her basket at the starting line with all the other little ones, the eggs scattered across an area no bigger than half a basketball court.

At age 2, you’re never really clear as to why your parents put you in certain places, and some of them wandered over to the petting “zoo,” which seemed much more promising, but Gracie stood her ground. There was a starting horn, but really, these kids couldn’t have cared less. Some were already wandering around the field, ignoring the eggs completely and really not seeing the point.

Gracie stood grinning at me and her mother, who were jumping around like fools trying to point out an egg right next to her foot, until finally Louise went to her and nudged her into the event. Louise would indicate an egg, and Gracie was happy to oblige by putting it in her basket, but after three of those, she sat down. It was obvious that she had gotten all she could out of picking up eggs. Whatever, let’s open these babies up!

And, on their own, her big brothers went together and sat down with her, and helped her pry each one open. When a little plastic mermaid popped out, they ooh-ed and aaah-ed over it with her, and if one of their own eggs had something in it they weren’t fond of, they’d give it to her.

And, for a few minutes, the three of them - my beautiful, perfect grandchildren - sat there in that sun-filled field, oblivious to the chaos around them, and took care of business as brothers and sister. Yes, I cried. So, I guess it wasn’t ALL hilarious.


Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at, or visit her website,