“The Great Belmont Park Egg Hunt Heist”

Tomorrow at the First Christian Church of Greeley we have our annual Easter Egg Hunt. We will have a few dozen “hunters” who will show up with their baskets, sacks etc. There will be a few kids in their Easter Best but the rest come dressed for combat. The whole event takes about four minutes. I always find myself trying to coach the less aggressive kids to the eggs that I have spotted, yet to be grabbed. Invariably, witnessing this event takes me back to the “Egg Hunts” of my childhood.
There were two Pumphrey families in Pueblo. There were the four Paul Pumphrey kids (my dad’s brother and lifetime business partner). They were ‘North Siders’ and Country Club people. Then there was the Bill Pumphrey kids—we were from the East Side and members of that not nearly so prestigious Belmont Club. I could never get my dad to explain how we ended up on the left side of the Pueblo Social Status Bell Curve. They were “co-equal” partners in the business, but this 11–year—old knew the difference between a golf course and an elegant restaurant, and a basic swimming pool and a snack bar.
One year, my cousin Jailee found the “Golden Egg” at the Country Club egg hunt. Her reward, if I remember correctly, was a real duckling and a giant chocolate egg. Our egg hunting was relegated to the giant community egg hunt at Belmont Park. This event brought in 100’s of kids to a park which was part park, and park flood drainage—replete with Goat Heads and Sand Burrs. The local merchants peppered the park with lots of eggs, which included those horrible marshmallow eggs covered with hard candy coating. As much as I loved to eat—those eggs covered your mouth with red, blue, yellow or green dye and they were pure sugar. I would gladly give mine to my sister Rita Jo. We did have a few prize eggs at our blue-collar eggstravaganza. These eggs could be redeemed at the “Shopping Center” at places like Duckwalls and The Belmont Bakery
When I was in about 6th grade, I gathered with my buddies for the right of passage. I was there with Jim and Bob, and am not sure how we did it, but we spotted a winning egg by a tree in the center of the park. We cooked up a plan. I was not fast but I could block. Jim and I were to get as close to the tree as we could, and then throw a ‘downfield’ block on an approaching egg grabber. Bob, who was plenty fast, was to grab the prize

egg and we would split the prize. The kids lined up everywhere waiting for the horn to blast and start the chaos. It went off right at 10am and our plan went into action. I took out not one, but two kids, with a well executed “clip” and Jim nailed a very fast girl. Bob scooped up the egg and sure enough, it was a winner. We went on to pick up a few remaining eggs. All this was done in faster than a long stop—light.
Our prize was a giant Easter Egg Cake from The Bakery. We took it our homes to show it off to our parents and then we gave it a proper consumption… which took about as long as the ‘egg hunt’.
Ah Teamwork!!! Onward and Upward, Mark

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