Some rambunctious youngsters in Anacostia learned a hard lesson of spring yesterday: You can't run in the three-legged sack race and hold your Easter eggs, too.
"Would you watch my eggs?" child after child implored adult bystanders before carefully laying their bags of brightly colored hard-boiled eggs along the walkway of the Frederick Douglass Home in Southeast Washington. Assured their treasures were safe, they dashed off to the sack races, the tug-of-war and the farm animals display.
These and other activities were all part of the fourth annual Frederick Douglass Easter Egg Roll, an event sponsored jointly by the National Park Service and Share Network, a children's charity in Anacostia, and held at Cedar Hill, the famed abolitionist's home overlooking the city.
"This is just a way for the community to see to it that for one day a year this hill is theirs and not just part of a national treasure," said Le Eckles, a spokeswoman for Share Network.
About 135 dozen decorated eggs, some donated by local merchants, were strewn about the Douglass home grounds in obvious and not-so-obvious places. The 11 a.m. hunt drew more than 100 children, and by 11:20 a.m. the pickings on the hill were slim, even with an adult-imposed limit on egg collections.
"The older kids know every nook and cranny of this hill," said Eckles. To give the younger children a chance, she said, those who take more than 10 eggs can't get a ticket to other prizes.
Sevan Bartlett, 9, and his friend Dameon Bostick, 10, only found four eggs between them yesterday. But any disappointment vanished with their victory in the three-legged sack race.
"We moved our feet at the same time," said Bostick, proudly clasping a bag of candy each won in the contest. "And we didn't fall once."
Kim Walker, 7, an Easter basket slung over her tiny shoulder, seemed mesmerized by the fenced-in farm animal yard set up for the day near the Douglass home. The rooster, baby goat, lamb and especially the fuzzy chicks delighted the city youngster, who has never owned a pet or seen a farm.
"I petted it," a bashful Walker reported after her encounter with a chick. "It's cute."