One memorable Easter when I was a kid was very similar in many ways. My two little brothers were really into the Easter bunny and all the goodies he brought with him.
To my brothers, the Easter bunny was not much more than a fur-covered, springtime version of Santa Claus. Instead of arriving with eight tiny reindeer pulling an overloaded sleigh, the Easter bunny simply hopped into the house with more than enough sugary treats to send my brothers on a sugar high until Halloween. In addition, he also hid dyed hard-boiled eggs in all corners of the house and the yard.
The night before the arrival of the Easter bunny, my parents had to convince my brothers that the Easter bunny could not appear until they had gone to bed and were in a deep sleep. After successfully putting them to sleep, my folks would color the eggs and hide them all over the house and yard in anticipation of my brothers’ search for their bunny booty. There also were Easter baskets made up for each of us to discover in the early dawn of Easter Sunday.
After working to desperately quell my brothers’ early morning zeal to begin the annual Easter egg hunt at the crack of dawn, my parents would finally relent and allow them to set off on their quest. After the boiled and dyed eggs had been unearthed, they could dive into the Easter baskets that they had received from the furry denizen of the Easter eve night.
The anticipation of the hunt would last an interminable length of time compared to the length of time it actually took to conduct the hunt itself. The brother who found the most eggs had bragging rights as the year’s top egg gatherer — a title that would last as long as it took to get ready to go to Easter services at our church. Somehow between home and church the best egg gatherer title had lost its punch.
Upon getting home from Easter church services, we all changed out of our Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and got ready to consume the delicious Easter dinner mom worked so hard and long to prepare.
One year, mom had roasted a turkey for our Easter meal. It smelled so good in the house as we arrived home from church that day. My younger brothers were still giddy about the events of the early morning foray as we sat down to our Easter dinner.
There in the center of the family table was this beautifully roasted turkey all browned to perfection and smelling so good. It really made your mouth water. As we sat down to eat one of my younger brothers finally shifted his concentration from the Easter bunny goodies and focused on what was in the center of our dining room table.
He innocently asked my grandfather, who had lived with us for 10 years, what that was in the center of the table. My grandfather just as innocently replied, “Why, that’s the Easter bunny, I shot him in the back yard early this morning.”
Both my brothers began to cry uncontrollably as soon as the words left my grandfather’s mouth. There was a lot of leftover turkey from that meal for some reason, and it created a lasting memory of Easter Sunday long ago.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.