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Up the hill: Remember to squint when photographers say 'Cheese' on Easter

Easter Weekend is one of those blessed, family times to be savored.

Who doesn't have pictures of their brothers and sisters standing around Mom and Dad with everyone wearing their Easter Best? Or pictures of their Mom or Dad (or Grandma or Grandpa) when they were youngsters modeling their new Easter outfits?

Most of their time there was some kind of Easter bonnet for each of the gals and a new brim for the guys. And pastels were everywhere: in the dresses, the jackets, the ties, the shirts, the hair bows and even the socks. Except, perhaps, the white anklets as they were called in the day when they were worn with black or white patent leather shoes.

The colors, except for the blacks and whites, aren't always visible since many of those Easter photos are holdover from the Black and White Period, as in color had only become part of family photography in limited amounts.

One thing that's almost always present in those photos, regardless of which generation is playing the role of youngster ready for the Easter Parade is the squint. As in "Everyone look this way and smile," says the photographer trying to capture the perfect shot. That means the sun has to be behind the photographer as the subjects are blinded by the harsh light of the early spring sun. Hence, the squint.

Some of the youngsters might be fake squinting, trying to be funny by delivering a sassy smile of some sort. But by and large, those are honest squints delivered by folks who don't want their picture taken and who certainly don't want to be staring into the sun as part of the torture of being photographed.

But everyone's Easter Finest, as captured over the decades by the eye of the camera, isn't why Easter is one of those blessed family times to be savored.

The holiday weekend is fun in Havre de Grace. Most recently, the big event, other than the obvious Sunday full of observances, is the annual Easter Egg Hunt the day before Easter in Havre de Grace. It's more of a stampede than a hunt, but the kids, or at least their parents who dragged them to Tydings Park for the craziness, seem to like it.

"Promptly at noon," as the pre-event publicity says, is when the Easter Egg Hunt begins. It's over almost as quickly as it began. The egg hunt is one of the many community events courtesy of the Havre de Grace Recreation Committee, Karen Green and/or the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation to note the passing of the holidays in Havre de Grace.

At about the same time, in another park just a short distance south of Tydings Park, the annual one-day Harris Tournament for Havre de Grace High School's baseball and softball will be played.

Some years back, friends, family members and others started the Harris Tournament to honor the late Jim Harris, who had recently died way too young.

Mr. Harris was the high school's athletic director, who was so highly regarded by his colleagues and friends that they got the school's football field named after him. Some years later, the high school's new football stadium a couple blocks away was named after him. Mr. Harris was the head coach of the football team when in 1978 it won the school's first state championship.

Simply put, Mr. Harris saved football at Havre de Grace High School, somehow holding things together in the fall of 1972 when fewer than the 11 players needed to play a game showed up for the first week of practice.

He not only save the high school's football program, but also built it into a state champion in 1978. This weekend's Harris Tournament, though he is remembered more for football than for baseball or softball, is a worthy tribute. And it's a lot of fun.

If it's a beautiful, sunny Saturday, it will be the perfect prelude to Easter Sunday, especially if that also turns out to a beautiful day.

Around town, regular churchgoers like me, who never miss an Easter or Christmas service, will fill houses of worships. Then they'll be off to breakfast, brunch, dinner or whatever Easter meal they share and whatever family rituals they observe.

As you joyously celebrate Easter with loved ones, just remember to squint when the family photographers say "Cheese."

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