GAYS MILLS - It may come as no surprise to my weekly readers that I wasn’t really raised a very religious person.
So, for me, the focal point of Easter has always just been the excuse to be jubilant in the spring sunshine and gorging on ham–all the while enjoying the company of my family and occasionally friends.
Now that I have my own kids, I am responsible for molding their traditions completely. Chasca is pretty nontraditional and carries little sentimental value to tradition, so on this stuff he is happy to have me take the lead.
The tradition of the Easter Bunny is probably by far my favorite. Something about the mischievousness of a fancy rabbit that hops from house to house to steal your eggs and leave you treats seems right up my alley.
Growing up, the Easter Bunny never left me plastic eggs filled with treats. Rather, my brother and I would beg my non-egg eating parents into boiling endless amounts of chicken (standard and bantam!), duck and even occasionally goose eggs for us.
Marching out to the chicken coop in our dilapidated barn hoping to find the Mother Lode to color for the Bunny is a very early and very clear memory in my mind’s eye.
We would painstakingly place elaborate decorations on them with our little white wax crayon before plunging them into the vinegary solution tinted with colorful little pellets or tiny bottles of food coloring.
This year, we didn’t go the route of the prepackaged kits. To be completely honest, amid the pandemic, Easter kind of snuck up on me. I was without the typical fare of small plastic cups, metal dipping spoon and other PAAS-approved accessories.
But, lucky for me our community has everything an Easter bunny needs to succeed.
Much to my surprise, Johnson’s One Stop still had tiny bottles of food coloring on their shelves. Combined with the dozens of eggs I had gotten from my Best Friend Stephanie’s brother’s Mississippi River De Soto Hens, we were set for phase one of Easter enjoyment.
This is the first year that Thatcher was able to dye his eggs with total independence and purpose. We’ve been attempting it since he was still in utero, but finally the moment had come.
It was all just as I had remembered. The sharp smell of vinegar the expanding drops of color. The sloppy mess all over my table top. Luckily for me, I’m a woman of the newspaper so I had plenty to spare to lay down across the top for protection.
After we finished our mere 10 eggs, we put them back in the carton to dry and wait for old Mister Bunny.
When I told Thatcher that we needed to round up our baskets to leave out for the Bunny to fill with treasure, he decided he wanted to go big this year. Quick as a wink he ran off to the bathroom to retrieve the red plastic laundry basket he uses for his bath toys. With a loud crash that only a child dumping a massive pile of toys makes, he was padding back up the basket–all ready as could be.
He was disappointed when I sent him packing back to the bathroom in lieu of his regular grapevine woven basket.
The Bunny didn’t disappoint however, he stayed local when collecting his treasures and found all sorts of great stuff.
He must have waited until Jess and Faye had gone home for the night before he wiggled under the fence to the Village Greenhouse to retrieve one of their beautiful petunias. Hopefully, he left cash on the counter though. He also slipped into the Kickapoo Exchange Natural Foods Co-op and retrieved a ripe red pear, big bright oranges, fuzzy kiwis, fruit leather and even a giant milk chocolate bar. I can’t confirm though if he made off with any of their organic carrots.
All was well with our egg hunt, as we were able to get out in the morning and retrieve them all while it was still warm and a little sunny. To top things off we even received a socially distant ham delivery from the editor himself, Charley.It wasn’t exactly a traditional Easter in any sense of the word, but it certainly wasn’t half bad.