Life handed her Easter eggs

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Jean Kratzke reties a plastic egg blown off a tree in her yard. With the help of two neighbor children, she decorated trees throughout her neighborhood in time for Easter. (Karen Tolkkinen / Echo Press)

What do you do with hundreds of plastic Easter egg shells and no Easter egg hunts?

If you're laid-off worker Jean Kratzke, you blitz your neighborhood with Easter egg trees for all the homes with young children.

“I got the neighbor girls to help me, and their mom," she said. "With everything going on and it’s so sad, we thought we’d spread a little joy."

The eggs are empty, because candy-filled eggs might cause excited young children to get too close to each other amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But they provide a festive reminder of Easter to the Eagle Landing development north of Garfield on County Road 6.

Kratzke is in her second week of being laid off from Voyager Industries of Brandon, which makes Yetti fish houses. She figured she might as well make good use of her time until the company can hire her back on. The eggs came from her husband, a maintenance worker who found the stash destined for the trash and saved them for her. The couple is big on decorating their yard for holidays, including Halloween and Christmas.


Several residents have also been lighting up their big trees at night, to provide hope, comfort and a touch of beauty for their neighbors, Kratzke said.

Nicole Munsch was at home with her children, ages 4 and 2, who had just woken up from their nap, when they saw Kratzke walk into their yard. She sent her kids out to investigate. They came running back inside, saying, “She’s putting Easter eggs on the tree, Mom!”

Now they check them every day, picking up eggs that have blown away. On walks, they point out all the Easter egg trees they pass.

“I thought it was so cool that she did that for the neighborhood and the families,” Munsch said.

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