Well friends, it’s that time of year again, and I’d be remiss not to regale you with some fun story about Easter. This won’t be anything deeply religious, meaningful in any way, or insightful about the true meaning of the holiday. Though I have always been fascinated by how we morphed from Jesus on the cross for our sins to colored eggs and giant rabbits. This won’t be as colorful and entertaining as the story about the time my cat ate, processed, and expelled all of the plastic Easter grass from my son’s Easter basket. How that one slipped through the cracks and came away with no literary awards will forever remain a mystery. No, this one is simply about some of the trials and tribulations associated with being the Easter Bunny.

There is not one among us who is without fault. Even the Supernatural beings that dwell amongst us have their foibles. Despite what we’ve all believed since the earliest memories of childhood, these superlative, mystical beings who manage to enter and leave our dwellings and leave behind their respective gifts and calling cards have on the job problems just like the rest of us.

Let’s start with the almighty Santa Claus, who has indeed had his share of slip ups. He has made some careless mistakes during his late night breaking and entering forays. There was the time that he failed to eat his cookies and drink his milk, yet he did leave behind an empty wine glass. That took a little explaining. Then there was the year he carelessly left his wrapping paper in the back corner of my closet so it looked like we had used the same paper as Santa, once again a little awkward. One year, he just got lazy and careless. I can only assume it’s because he had been up all night long putting together a Barbie bicycle. When he wrote the thank you note for the cookies, milk, and carrots, he was so exhausted that his sleepy handwriting looked almost identical to mine. Sometimes people with dumb kids don’t realize how good they have it.

Now let’s get right down to it… what this week is leading up to, that infamous icon who annually heralds in Easter. Christ’s emissary who comes to us in the form of a grotesquely oversized hare in a matching silk vest and bow tie but oddly enough, no pants. He arrives while we slumber on Easter Eve and litters our yards and houses with freshly painted chicken embryo containers and miniature edible idols of himself made from chocolate. Interesting translation of a once deeply meaningful day.

This hulk of a rabbit has a much more difficult job than you would think. First of all, many of you don’t realize this, but the Easter Bunny moonlights as a bartender. He has no choice, you know what they say about bunnies and their procreative habits. So as you would imagine, he has a house full of kids who will have to go to college one day, so he has to supplement his income by slinging drinks. Despite what you might think, there is no retirement plan in place for religious holiday icons.

All of that being said, it’s also commonly known that Easter always falls on a Sunday, which means that Mr. Bunny always get home from work really, really late on the eve of egg day. Then, his annual tradition commences. He first goes room to room to kiss each of his children goodnight and watch them sleep for a few minutes. This is his decompression time between jobs. He will then give a big kiss to Mrs. Easter Bunny who hopefully is still awake and ready to assist. He pours himself a cocktail, grabs all necessary supplies, finds a room with nobody sleeping in it, and gets to work. The next few hours will entail sitting on the floor stuffing approximately 150 plastic eggs with various candies, coins, stickers, and even some paper money, depending on how good Saturday was at the bar. Then, baskets will be meticulously filled, arranged, and personalized for each individual child. Once complete, the baskets will be strategically hidden around the inside of the house. Once we’ve gotten to this point, it all depends upon how close to sunrise it is and what the weather report for Sunday morning is.

If rain or snow is on the docket for Sunday morning, the synthetic colored eggs are hidden throughout the inside of the house, and Mr. and Mrs. Bunny go and get a few hours of sleep. If lovely spring-like weather is in store, and sunrise is close enough, the process moves outside. If it’s too early, they’ll get a little sleep, and make sure to be up at least an hour before the children. On the years that the egg hiding process has moved outdoors, the Easter bunny has encountered a host of problems. His job, believe it or not, is a constant learning process. About 4 years ago, there was only one child living in the house at the time. Two didn’t exist yet, and one lived elsewhere. The one who lived with there had spent the night at her grandparents house the night before Easter. This bought Mr. Bunny some time and a little much needed sleep. This would prove to be the year that he learned to check the weather report for the whole day, and read the forecast thoroughly.

When he started that morning, it was pretty heavily overcast. So naturally, he turned on the Weather Channel to see if it was expected to rain that day. When he saw that it was going to clear up early, he failed to check any other nuances about that day’s weather and went to work hiding eggs outside. What he failed to see was that the temperatures for the day would be unseasonably high and that it would be into the 80’s before noon. You needn’t be a scientist of any type to imagine what happens to chocolate, marshmallows, and gummies tightly packed into plastic eggs and left outdoors for roughly 4 hours in 80 plus degrees. The little girl had stayed at Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s much later than usual to have an egg hunt with them. So by the time she returned home to me (I mean The Bunny) standing on the front porch beaming with pride and happiness, the eggs had already been in place hours longer than anticipated. I didn’t think anything of it until she started running around the yard retrieving all of these colorful eggs. Then one at a time, she opened about 60 portions of various warm, sugary soups. I won’t live enough Easters to forget that look on her face or the sound of her tears. I was just relieved at the moment that this debacle was being blamed on a Bunny and not me. But make no mistake, a valuable lesson was learned that year and the same mistake will never be made again.

Just last year, Bunny had a particularly busy Saturday night in the bar and got home even later than usual. Mrs. Bunny had gotten her 3 girls to sleep at a reasonable hour and decided she would be more than just an assistant this Easter so she got an early start on filling eggs and baskets. In fact, by the time the Easter Bunny got home from work, his lovely bride had already hidden the baskets inside the house and more than 100 eggs outside. On the surface the Easter Bunny was thrilled and relieved, but he couldn’t shake the deep down feeling that something about this was very wrong. His last thought before he drifted off to sleep that night was that he didn’t have a good feeling about this process.

My wife and I awoke on Easter Sunday really excited. This would be the first Easter for our youngest, the second Easter for our next youngest, and one of the favorite days of the year for our daughter who was old enough to be emotionally scarred. Out to the front yard my lovely wife led the girls as I followed proudly with video camera in hand. It was only a minute or two into filming that I noticed the faces of my wife and 2 of my girls were shifting from elation to panic. As I zoomed in, I quickly realized that Mrs. Bunny in her eagerness to have everything done early had grossly underestimated the motor skills and ambition of the local raccoons.

My entire front yard was littered with empty plastic eggs and candy wrappers. It looked like the warning track at Dodger stadium on a windy day. The only eggs still intact were the ones filled with money. Fortunately the local wildlife uses a different means of currency so we could salvage Easter just a little. Though it kind of loses something when your daughter is going to buy her own candy with her Easter money. I was so conflicted at the moment based on what I was witnessing and the subsequent reactions of the people I loved most. The 2 little ones didn’t really care they just thought the shiny wrappers blowing around the yard were cool. There was still hope for their psyche. My bride and older daughter both looked completely mortified. I didn’t want to keep filming, but I couldn’t stop myself. It wasn’t quite the Abraham Zapruder film, but in my family’s video library, it would prove to be just as tragic. The other thing I couldn’t control about myself at that time was the hysterical laughter that was building and now spewing from me. It was definitely too soon as no one but me was prepared to find the humor in it just yet. But it will always be one of my favorite family holiday memories, and another priceless lesson learned by the Easter Bunny and his wife. Happy Easter! Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols.

Share your thoughts and opinions with me at sydnichols@yahoo.com