Don't let Bethany Beck's upbeat manner fool you. Behind that cheerful smile is someone who has had her share of misfortune and hard times.
"I had an experience when I was younger when all six of my cousins everyone but me won a prize at the family Easter egg hunt," recalls Beck, recreation coordinator for the Payson Parks and Recreation Department. "I don't think it scarred me although everyone has a dark side."
Perhaps, it was this early childhood tragedy that drove Beck to her current career, one that involves putting on Payson's annual Easter Egg Scramble.
The event held in Green Valley Park Saturday, April 14 will give children eight and younger the chance to out-scramble each other for 5,000 eggs filled with candy and gift certificates. Kids nine and older are out of luck unless they can snitch some chocolate from their sibling's basket. Apparently, nine is the age when it's time to hang up the Easter basket and move on to other things. In our youth-oriented culture, a nine-year-old has as much chance of getting in the Easter scramble as an over-40 actress has of landing the romantic lead in a film. It's all downhill after eight.
This year's hunt will be a little bit different, Beck says, because the younger kids are going first.
"In the past, we started with the bigger kids," she said. "But someone suggested that we start with the little guys so that they don't get so anxious."
Nothing worse than a bunch of anxious, screaming toddlers once again, youth wins out.
Another change in this year's scramble is that volunteers from the Payson Elks Lodge and a local Girl Scout troop helped stuff the 5,000 eggs (for the much sought-after egg-stuffing badge).
Beck says that the best thing about Payson's annual Easter egg hunt is that it retains a small-town flavor. Now in its fifth year, the event has gone off without too many hitches, except for the snowstorm that hit in 1999.
"It started snowing on Thursday, and it didn't stop," she said. "It kept snowing and snowing. So we went ahead and canceled and held it the next weekend."
This year's prizes include lots of huge stuffed rabbits, Mad Hatter hats and even Cornelius the Dancing Chicken, who performs what else? the chicken dance.
Although the Easter egg scramble is usually a jolly, festive occasion, tragedy can still strike, as it did last year.
"Last year, every little kid had their eyes on the black duck," Beck said. "A lot of these kids wanted the duck because it stood out. When one little boy won the duck, the boy waiting behind him went nuts. It was sad but also kind of funny,"
Oh, how quickly we forget.