Since I can remember I have spent the Easter holiday with my family on the farm north of Canton.
Initially, Grandma and Grandpa Vogts lived there. Now, Uncle Stacy and Aunt Brenda own it, but the tradition has remained regardless of who lives there.
A meal always takes place, and lots and lots of conversations are had. It is a Vogts function after all.
But the main event is always the hunting.
There is an egg and pop hunt for children through age 10, and this takes place in the front yard around the house.
That is fun to watch, but it still isn’t the main event . . . really.
The big show takes place after the youngsters have had their fun. That’s when all the older children, ranging from age 11 and up and including the adults who act like children, who is everyone in attendance basically, head outside for the great pop hunt.
Uncle Stacy hides the cans of pop all over the property, and everyone stampedes out in hopes of being the first person to get their allotted number of sodas.
Sometimes it takes a shovel to fully uncover the hidden gems of soda, and other times it requires tree-climbing skills. Regardless, a fun time is always had by all.
I love spending time with my family, and this type of event is very important to me.
I’ve written before about how I am slightly bothered by the commercialism of other holidays, and that’s the wonderful aspect about this particular celebration. It isn’t about gifts whatsoever. Sure, I won’t say no to a bag of Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs, but I still prefer the fact my family’s Easter celebration is about togetherness.
Easter in particular, much like Thanksgiving, is about being together. Isn’t the reason for the holiday indicative of this? Didn’t Jesus rise from the grave as a way to bring everyone together?
I believe that to be true, but whether you agree with me or not, I hope you kept those you love close on this Easter.
There is one person I was not able to keep close this Easter, though. It was my cousin Debra Shaw. She died March 6 in Moundridge. This was quite unexpected, especially since she was only 57 years old.
Honestly, it still doesn’t feel real that she is gone — that Cousin Deb is gone.
She and I were extremely close, and I know whenever I go visit Moundridge, a place I consider to be home after running the weekly newspaper there early in my journalism career, it will feel strange.
She had a larger-than-life personality, and everyone in town knew her.
She was most well-known for working at Moundridge’s Goering Hardware, and I don’t know if I will be able to go in there again for a while.
It will be so strange to walk through the doors, hear the bell clang above my head, and not hear Deb shout hello from behind the counter.
It will be nearly unbearable not to see her run from behind the cash register and come give me a giant hug.
However, I am taking solace in the fact she is in a better place.
In fact, I believe she is smiling down upon me right now, sitting next to a bonfire, as was one of her favorite pastimes, while enjoying a nice cold brew.
Cousin Deb will be missed, but she won’t be forgotten. Her mark on the people she encountered will live on for generations.