My family believed in celebrations because those always came with food. And while the food itself was scrumptious, the whole scenario of sitting around, catching up on each other’s week, and relaxing with a cup of coffee and a slice of key lime cake was the real draw that partnered well with holidays. But even my mom had limits on the merrymaking, and one of those involved the Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bunny was a festive icon that was never embraced in the Carver household. Even as a child, I always knew that the chocolate covered marshmallow rabbits that crossed the door were the compliments of the Dollar General and never the bounty received from an overgrown hare capable of bipedal locomotion while carrying a wicker basket filled with plastic, green grass. Sure, he was cute, but as the product of an agrarian society, he was also a tough sell. I mean, come on. Rabbits don’t lay eggs, and if he was peddling stolen goods, then he would have needed the help of a raccoon or a fox since those were the miscreants that farmers had to chase out of the henhouse. Bunnies never did much more than sneak into a garden and work over your squash blooms before their time, and you didn’t see them laden with multicolored vegetables.
But I do remember one Easter egg hunt that lives on in that file I have marked “Childhood Memories.” It was the year I found the prize egg. As an eight year old, I was at the peak of my egg-scouting skills, since I was still childish enough to run without fear of being labeled “uncool,” and yet, I was also smart enough to realize that the best eggs weren’t going to be perched on the church sign out front. If you wanted any chance of landing that Holy Grail of poultry products, you had to be willing to crawl, to dig, and to elbow when the chaperones weren’t looking. And I wanted that prize egg in the worst way. The year before the kid who had landed the prize egg received a blow-up bunny that was almost as tall as I was. You could hold its paw and take walks with it or simply bring it along and recount your victory to all of your friends who stood there coveting your carbon dioxide friend. So you can imagine my feelings of triumph when I fought my way into the bowels of a behemoth Cedar tree and wrapped my little mitts around that champion’s egg. I clutched that plastic trophy, formerly packing for women’s pantyhose, and wiggled my way back out, a little scratched for the effort but reveling in my glee.
The moment was short-lived. When it came time to take the winner’s podium, I was informed that the prize was inside the egg itself. I cracked open that egg to find a lousy five dollar bill, and my dreams of the giant bunny died. My great prize was fated to slip through the slot in the top of my owl bank, and a part of me felt the injustice of dozens of scratches all for something as ignominious as money. Prize egg indeed.
So I think between the egg hunt and faulty logic behind the Easter bunny itself, my focus will have to remain on the spiritual aspects of the day. But I’ll still buy lots of discounted chocolate bunnies the day after.
© 2014 – Traci Carver