Children make ‘Manny’ Easter memories

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, April 24, 2011

Candy, colored plastic eggs and other holiday delights coveredthe yard at Mary Manny’s Zetus Road home Saturday afternoon for her20th annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Manny carried the white wicker basket she has used for all theevents as she and daughters Sherry Burns and Shelley Griffithorganized the eager young visitors and spread the last of theEaster surprises around the yard. Saturday’s crowd was a far cryfrom the first gathering years ago.

“It started with six kids,” Griffith said.

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Recalling her own humble upbringing, Manny said the hunt beganas a way to give children something she did not have as achild.

“When they left the house, they were all happy because they weregoing to have Easter,” Manny said.

Now, children of all ages and backgrounds come to the home. Lastyear attracted more than 90 visitors.

“Just to see their eyes and smiles makes my Easter brighter,”said Manny, who’s also known for decorating her home at Christmasand Halloween.

The yearly event has begun to cross generations, with someparents who hunted as children now bringing their children toManny’s house.

After the death of a daughter a few years ago and some healthconcerns, however, Manny was signaling that Saturday’s hunt wouldbe her last and that she would be passing the white basket on todaughter Shelley for her to host the event at her house down theroad. Griffith sounded a little skeptical of her mother’sintentions.

“Don’t hold your breath,” Griffith said about her mother givingup the tradition.

If, indeed, Saturday’s was the last for Manny, the sounds oflaughter and cheers and smiles of joy will stay with her into thefuture.

And a few lucky children were able to take home some tangiblekeepsakes from the event. In addition to the obvious prizesscattered throughout the yard, there was an award for most eggs andother prizes donated by local businesses.

Highlighting the afternoon were rabbit and duckling chases inwhich the child who caught the animal got to take it home. Mannykept the rabbit aspect in the family as they were donated by hergranddaughter’s farm, J.W. Bayou Bunnies, in Alexandria, La.

Earlier, David Livingston and his 6-year-old son Jake counted up51 eggs to claim a monetary prize for the most eggs found.

David Livingston said the Brookhaven family has been coming tothe Manny Easter event for several years. He said his daughterAllison is now 13 and they started coming when she was 8.

“We come out here for the fellowship,” the father said.

And Allison proved she was not too old for the hunt as she and afew friends scoured the yard in search of prizes Saturday. She wasappreciative of Manny and her family for the work they do.

“It’s a pretty cool thing they do for the kids,” Allison said.”It takes a lot of effort and they’re really nice to do it for thekids.”