Seniors, parents, kids find fun along with the treats at egg hunt

NEIGHBORS

April 03, 2001|By Betsy Diehl | Betsy Diehl,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT SEEMS that you can never be too old or too young to enjoy an egg hunt. At Owen Brown Senior Center last week, guests at a holiday egg hunt ranged in age from 1 to 100.

Sixteen preschoolers, dressed in Easter finery, came armed with little baskets for collecting hidden eggs with about 18 senior citizens. The children and their parents are part of a parent-toddler group called Parents At Home, or PATH. They visit the senior center once a month for activities such as making crafts, sharing stories and holiday parties, said Long Reach resident Gretchen Morton, who serves as the group's secretary.

The purpose of the visits is to foster interaction between generations. Jayne Kaiser, organizer of the egg hunt, has been bringing her daughter Juliana, 4, to the center every month for nearly two years.

"Both sets of grandparents are out of state," Kaiser said. "I wanted Juliana to have a relationship with multi-generations."

The toddlers are not the only ones who benefit from the visits. Vivi Provine, director of the Senior Center Plus program, said that the tykes remind the seniors of their own grandchildren.

"They get to be substitute grandparents," she said. "They get a chance to get a hug."

Parents also enjoy interacting with their elders. "I don't have grandparents any more. I love them," Kaiser said of the seniors. "When I leave, I feel like I take so much more than I give."

There was plenty of give and take at the egg hunt. The seniors watched the youngsters toddle around the room in search of plastic, candy-filled eggs. Some eggs, labeled with dots, were especially designated for the seniors. Trevor Larner, 3, not only relinquished his dotted eggs - he even let senior Virgie Bryan pluck a purple egg from his basket because it is her favorite color.

Many seniors could not resist scooping up the toddlers and holding them as long as the children would allow. Some seniors made specific requests to hold some of the littlest ones on their laps, such as Cole Sandlin, 1, who looked adorable in a mint green sweater adorned with Peter Rabbit buttons that his mother Robin knitted.

The festivities continued with refreshments, including jellybeans and bunny cookies baked by Kaiser.

Excitement was high, but the seniors didn't mind. "It's like a beehive, everyone talking at once," Bryan said. "I just love them."

Emu eggs-hibit

It won't be hard to find festive eggs at the east Columbia branch library this week. Starting Thursday, about two dozen emu eggs will be on display, along with other emu-related products to celebrate National Emu Awareness Week, which begins Saturday.

Diane Brown of Carlhaven Emu Farm in Highland said that the exhibit will feature the winning eggs from an emu egg-decorating contest held last month at the farm, as well as some plain emu eggs. Emu leather, feathers and oil will also be on display.

Brown hopes to educate the community about emus, a flightless bird from Australia that's similar to the ostrich. Besides providing people with oil believed by some to cure many ills, eating emu meat can be beneficial as well, Brown said. "Emu is higher in protein and lower in fat" than some other meats, she said.

The exhibit will be at the library until the end of the month.

Information: 301-854-3915.

Happy Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22, but the east Columbia library will celebrate a little early with a craft and story session from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 10. Children ages 11 and older are invited to recycle scraps into sculptures using manufacturing "leftovers," such as bits of plastic, metal and paper - all provided by the library.

Information: 410-313-7700.

Parting words

Each spring, Marshall Peterson, principal of Oakland Mills High School, surveys his garden for damage caused by the winter weather. Peterson, a shade gardening buff, lamented that he does not always have the time to properly tend to his rhododendrons, hostas and azaleas.

"One of the problems with a principal's schedule is that you have no time to garden," he said.

Daylight savings time is a boon to Peterson, who cherishes that extra hour to garden after school. He also looks forward to spring break, which he intends to spend firmly planted in his garden, weather - and temperature - permitting.

"Just let that week be 75 [degrees]!" he said.

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