This week’s disclaimer comes at the beginning of Syd’s story, and isn’t really a disclaimer so much as a fair warning. This is indeed a memory of Easter. And it does in fact deal with a fluffy creature. However, be forewarned those who are squeamish—you will never look at synthetic Easter grass the same.
Wherever possible, I try to keep up with the holidays and seasons and write articles that are pertinent to them. So this week will be all about Easter and its traditions.
I have very fond memories of Easter from my childhood. Every year on the Saturday evening before Easter, my mother and I would cook and dye multiple eggs. I’m still not sure why this ritual was so enjoyable, or how it ties in to Christ being sacrificed for us, but the memory makes me happy nonetheless.
Somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the Easter bunny would come to my house and hide all of these eggs for me to find when I woke up. The weather would dictate if the eggs would be hidden inside the house or out in the yard. The bunny would also prepare for me, an elaborate Easter basket, which was also hidden somewhere in the house. I vividly remember how excited I was every year on Easter morning, to wake up and begin my hunt for these treasures. Thankfully, at some point over the years the tradition of hiding real eggs gave way to hiding plastic ones filled with jelly beans and such. It only took one year of finding the last missing decorative hard-boiled egg in a sofa cushion in mid-July to tweak that fun little ritual. I was only about seven or eight at the time but I still recall the smell as if it happened this morning.
Now that I’m older with children of my own, I’ve passed along these same holiday traditions in the hopes that my kids will one day look back on their childhoods with the same fondness that I do. Several years ago, when my son was about six or seven-years-old, the Easter bunny came to our house over night to partake in the annual ritual of hiding eggs and a well-stocked basket. The basket consisted of the usual supplies—a heaping pile of artificial grass (I still don’t know why), a chocolate bunny (which would be found in the back of the freezer in six months time with only his ears missing), some Peeps (designed to keep dentists busy for the coming months), a bunch of jelly beans, a few Matchbox cars, and so on. On this particular year, the bunny was very tired, ill prepared, and not heavily motivated. He failed to wrap the basket in colored, decorative cellophane as he had done in years past. This seemingly minor oversight will come into play later in our story.
Sunday morning, my young son awoke and ran downstairs with the eagerness and excitement of…well—of a child on Easter. He immediately saw that the carrots he had left out had been eaten, and a thank you note addressed to him had been left in their place signed with a rabbit paw print. He knew right away that the fuzzy icon symbolizing a really messed up event in religious folklore, had come to our house while he slept. The hunt for the basket and the eggs immediately ensued. It didn’t take long for this excited little boy to round up all of his treasures. He could never understand why I asked him to count the eggs as he found them. I think that he thought I was helping him to learn his numbers, when in fact I was just flashing back to a mildly traumatic oversight from my own childhood. When my son discovered his basket that had been cleverly stowed in the shower of the guest bathroom by the bunny, he was elated. I noticed immediately that the basket was in a state of disarray, and not at all how it looked when it was hidden. I thought little of it at the time. This too shall come into play later.
Our family pet at the time was a very mischievous cat named Sebastian. He, like every pet I’ve owned since I began procreating, was named after an animated Disney character. To say that this feline friend was a colorful character would be a gross understatement. He was very unique in every way—particularly his odd behavior. This cat had a penchant for sitting on my shoulder like a parrot as I did housework, or cooked, or watched T.V. He had no interest in any human food or beverage except for beer. The cat never responded to any command or sound, but he could hear a beer can or bottle being opened from about 200 yards. This would immediately invoke a Pavlovian response that would send him at break neck speed toward the source of this tasty malted libation. Often, in his excitement, he would fail to prepare for the transition from carpeted to tiled floor. All four appendages would come out from under him and send him sprawling across the dining room like a cartoon moose on a frozen pond.
On the morning of Easter Monday, I noticed that my normally hyperactive pet was very lethargic. He had a very pathetic look on his face and was repeatedly making sounds that I’ve never heard any creature make, let alone a cat. He had a convulsive tremor when he walked like a criminal still trying to escape after being zapped with a policeman’s tazer. I was concerned for my pet, as he had become a genuine part of our family. There seemed to be nothing I could do to console him.
At this point, I noticed something shiny and green protruding from his posterior opening. I moved in for a closer look. In an effort to assist my pet with the passing of this unknown substance, I grabbed a tissue and got a grip on the end of it. I gave a slow gentle tug—which made every hair on his body stand up—and he let out a lengthy howl the likes of which I’d never heard. This is when I realized that I was holding the end of a strand of green, plastic, artificial Easter grass. I continued to gently pull on the grass thinking the ordeal would be quickly over. The cat looked at me with a combination of gratitude and agony. He was in extreme discomfort, but he instinctively knew that I was a necessary evil at this moment being the only active participant with opposable thumbs.
As I continued to pull on the fake grass, suddenly it became a magician’s handkerchief. It just kept coming…and coming…and coming. Apparently all of the grass the cat had consumed had fused itself together in its journey through his digestive system into one, extremely long piece. For the first time in my life, I was now experiencing a unique combination of emotions and bodily reactions. I had sympathy and concern for my four-legged family member, while simultaneously laughing hysterically and gagging violently. As the turf continued to emerge from kitty’s hind region in one long, clumpy strand, eventually I had to stand on the coffee table to remove its entire length. So there I was on the day after Easter standing on my coffee table like a moron with my arm fully extended toward the ceiling holding a heavily soiled strand of plastic grass that nearly touched the floor. It was almost six feet in length. Sebastian collapsed to the floor in shear relief. I continued to laugh like a buffoon in between bouts of vomiting.
Retrospectively speaking, perhaps a trip to the vet would have been more prudent. But I hadn’t realized as I gave my initial tug that this idiot cat had consumed about two acres worth of fake grass. An entire basket full of completely undisturbed candy, and this dumbass had a belly full of artificial turf. Now before you start thinking that I’m a monster, I did, in fact take him to the vet to get checked out. The cat was fine. He went on to enjoy a healthy, lengthy, and very mischievous life. And he never went near an Easter basket again. So there you have it, some of my fondest holiday memories. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Thanks for playing along.
Until next week,