The Night Before Easter
the Easter Bunny and I go way back
I know Easter is still a month away, but for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about something that happened to me while I was visiting my grandparent’s house one Easter a long time ago. And by “happened” I mean to say “I’m not really sure if this actually happened, but the mental imagery it produced has stuck with me for over 20 years.”
I’m pretty sure what happened was just a dream fueled by excessive amounts of fluorescent colored jelly beans and whatever chemicals they use to make Cadbury Egg “creme.” I’m 99.999999% sure of this. However, a tiny part of me – the part obsessed with weird, unexplainable things like ghosts, mystics, and why they cancelled Firefly – wants to believe something truly strange happened.
How does a bunny even grasp an egg with its tiny paws? How can such an obese man fit down our little chimney, let alone back up when gravity is against him? Why would you squander your vast financial resources on used baby teeth?
Anyway, one Easter when I was an adorable little kid, I was staying at my grandparent’s old farmhouse house in rural Wisconsin with some of my cousins. The night before Easter Sunday, we all went to bed, fantasizing about hunting for hard-boiled eggs around the farmyard the next day and searching for our Easter baskets.
I believe I was at the age you start questioning things like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. How does a bunny even grasp an egg with its tiny paws? How can such an obese man fit down our little chimney, let alone back up when gravity is against him? What kind of gruesome, ancient purpose would motivate a fairy to collect children’s teeth for hundreds of years? Seriously, why would you squander your vast financial resources on used baby teeth?
So, we all went to bed with a good sugar buzz firmly in place. I was on a mattress on the floor of an upstairs bedroom. My cousin Myron was in there, too, slumbering on a twin bed. I think I woke up a lot that night, strung out on good ol’ fashioned childhood anticipation. I kept peeking out the old window near my bed, looking out at the yard. It was lit by a super bright halogen light perched atop a telephone pole near the old water pump. Nothing was moving out there. The sky was dark and starless, and the shadows beyond the barn and the old garage were inky black.
I imagined seeing a twitching rabbit nose poking out of darkness by the milk house. I imagined an entire bunny cautiously stepping out into the hazy yellow light, wildly sniffing the air. He was wearing a bonnet and somehow carried a big Easter basket. With all my might I imagined this, desperate to get a glimpse of something elusive – to have the amazing luck of witnessing something none of my cousins or friends back home would ever see in their entire lifetimes. But I never saw anything other than the old dirt driveway and our cars parked by the garage. So I just laid back down on my mattress and stared at the wall until I fell back asleep.
And then, right before dawn, it happened.