Growing up in Western Pennsylvania was pretty special. All of the holidays were celebrated with great enthusiasm. It didn’t matter if it was a national holiday, state holiday, school holiday, personal holiday, birthday, or religious holiday. We celebrated them all.
Being of Eastern European descent, our family celebrated Easter with the ethnic and cultural traditions of our religion and our heritage. However, we also got to experience the other part of the Easter holiday, the Easter Bunny. And we enjoyed the decadence of all the chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, jelly beans and marshmallow peeps.
Of course, the Easter Bunny is famous for leaving baskets for each child at every house he visits. But, he never left baskets for me and my sisters. We must have been last on his “to do” list, and by the time he got to our house at the end of the street and at the top of the hill, things began to go awry.
Every year he developed a small hole in the bottom of his bag, probably from dragging it around all night as he went from house to house. As a result, he left a small trail of jelly beans on the walk leading up to the door of our house. The trail became bigger the closer he got to our front door. By the time he used his magic key to unlock the door to our house, jelly beans and brightly colored chocolate eggs began to litter the floor.
At that point he must have given up. Since candy was already falling out of his bag, he must have decided to go with the flow. So he did. And he made an incredible mess. He threw candy all over the dining room and living room floor. At least he neatly lined up the packages of colored peeps, large chocolate bunnies and big eggs on the fireplace. Maybe he stole that idea from Santa Claus.
Every Easter morning, we woke up to that beautiful, colorful mess. My sisters and I crawled around, gathered up the candy, and put it in the bowls and baskets that our mother pulled out of the cabinets. Yes, indeed, once a year we ate candy right off of the floor! Good thing our mother was a meticulous housekeeper. And, we rarely used the living room and dining room anyway. It was only for company.
Every year, our mother would complain about that darned Easter Bunny for messing up her house. And, every year she would plot how to stop him from doing the same thing the following year. We always hoped the Easter Bunny didn’t hear her. That rascally rabbit was one funny bunny. It would sure be a bummer if we started getting boring baskets like the other kids. Where’s the sport in that?
Fortunately, our Mom never did stop him in his tracks. And every Easter Sunday we were treated with the sight of all that candy thrown all over the floor. Although, it wasn’t as much fun picking up candy off of the floor as I got older, especially since my two older sisters and I got to help our Easter Bunny throw the candy around for our younger sisters when it was their turn to enjoy the magic. But, it was still okay to eat candy right off of the floor.
The truth is, I still believe in the Easter Bunny. And Santa Claus. I believe in the magic of childhood, and I believe in the power of healing and comfort that sweet memories provide. I believe in the mystery and the reality of things that cannot be explained, but that we know in our hearts exist. And, I learned a few important things along the way. It’s important to keep your floors clean. You never know when something sweet might land on them. Second, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You may want to throw them around a bit, and share them with others. At least, that’s what our Easter Bunny would recommend.