Updated: Nov 14, 2021
We were all gathered around the wooden kitchen table. Mom had just removed the eggs from the pot of boiling water atop the old gas stove. Dad pirated one of the eggs from the lot, removed its shell, and devoured it with a touch of salt and pepper. The distinct aroma of boiled egg hung heavily in the steam laden air as the ritual of egg dying commenced in the Braswell household. Mom cautioned us, “Please don’t make a mess this year,” as she laid out the little plastic teardrop shaped bottles of colored dyes and glass bowls. Dad took to the phone to finalize the details on some upcoming job. At least that’s what he seemed to have been doing. More than likely, he was just avoiding involvement in the inevitable mess that was sure to follow.
Mom was in charge of boiling the eggs and mixing the dyes. Then the time came for us to do our part. My sister liked to use the wax crayons to draw designs on the white eggs before carefully lowering them into the dye. My brother preferred to just get it over with and skip the crayon step. He gently dipped the warm eggs into the dye and laid them back into the carton to dry. Big brother was no doubt in a hurry to go fishing in one of the lakes around our house. He was always in a hurry to go fishing.
My sister and brother were very neat and never made a mess. I, on the other hand, was a little high strung and rambunctious. Not wanting to be overshadowed by my siblings, I was always trying to find unique and innovative ways to do things. Coloring Easter eggs was no exception. Needless to say, there were a few cracked eggs on Easter Sunday at the egg hunt. My hands were always multicolored on Easter Sunday as well. That dye back then took weeks to wear off. That old kitchen table which now resides at the lake house still to this day bears witness to my attempts to be creative. Green, red, and orange stains linger in the battle-scarred wooden tabletop. They compliment the unique design from where I decided to ignite a firework called a ‘Spinner’ on top of our table one Fourth of July. Of course, there was a mess during the dyeing of the eggs; it was obligatory when I was involved.
That night, we went to bed at the usual time. It wasn’t like Christmas where we couldn’t wait to go to bed early in anticipation of getting awesome gifts. Yes, we did look forward to finding the brightly colored woven straw baskets full of treats the next morning. We knew, however, that the Easter Bunny was pretty cheap compared to Santa. It wasn’t like we might get a bike or something. “Don’t get too excited. You ain’t going to get nothing much, just some stinking jelly beans and a hollow chocolate bunny,” my brother told me just before we went to sleep. I recall being incensed that the Easter Bunny was a cheapskate and thought about not even accepting his stinking Easter Basket. That’s when I decided to bribe that danged ole rabbit. After all, we always left Santa cookies and milk. I knew what rabbits liked. I crept silently into the kitchen and liberated all of the carrots from the fridge. I placed them under my pillow. Surely that cheapskate bunny conversed with the Tooth Fairy and knew to look under pillows for stuff. When he found the carrots, he would most certainly reward me.
Nothing doing! The next morning my basket wasn’t any fuller than either of my siblings’ baskets. The scoundrel bunny hadn’t even bothered to take my bribe. The carrots were still under my pillow and slightly wilted now. I sneaked them back into the fridge, minus the bag that they had originally been in. I was never questioned about the carrots, although I noticed them in the trash later that evening. I think Mom pretty much figured out that I probably had done something with the carrots but didn’t want to force me to lie about it on Easter.
Easter was bittersweet. We got all this candy, but we could only have one piece before church. I wanted the chocolate bunny, but I knew that if I ate it before church, I wouldn’t have it after church. Life was unfair like that. I settled, instead, for a marshmallow peep. I wasn’t at all satisfied; it was like eating air with a little sugar sprinkled on top.
Now came the worst part of Easter! We had to take baths and get all dressed up so that old ladies at church could hug and kiss us and tell us how cute we were. Yuck! That’s when I was hit with a stroke of genius! I developed and carried out a plan. When my brother was in the tub, I took the bunny from his basket, gently unwrapped the foil from around the ears, and rendered the bunny deaf. The ears being the filet mignon of chocolate bunny, I savored every tender morsel! Then, with great skill, I reformed the foil in the shape of bunny ears and placed it back in the basket. It looked pretty convincing after I covered the slightly misshapen bunny ears with some of the green faux-grass in the basket. This worked so well that I did the same exact thing with my sister’s bunny ears too. Two sets of bunny ears before church and I still had an entire bunny for myself for later!
Following church and a great Easter feast came the Easter egg hunt! We hid and found the eggs over and over. Each time, there were less of them. Some were eaten, some were lost. All were thoroughly enjoyed one way or the other. Too soon, darkness crept over the horizon. Another Easter Sunday had come to an end as we made our way into the house and said our goodbyes to family and friends who had joined us in our egg hunt. After supper, Mom let us have some of our remaining candy from the Easter baskets.
I was a little apprehensive at first when my brother and sister came into the dining room and placed their baskets on the table beside mine. They immediately noticed that something was amiss. They both complained that their bunnies were earless and looked toward me accusingly. For a moment, I was sure that I was sunk. Then, Mom took the two bunnies from them and inspected the treats closely. “Oh, it looks like that it was a mistake at the factory. That happens sometimes.” Phew, I was off the hook. I happily devoured my bunny, ears first of course.
Mom tucked me in later that night and read me a bedtime story. She then walked over to the light switch and blew me a kiss. With a click of the light switch, the room went dark. I could just make out Mom’s silhouette framed by the hallway light as she spoke a few last words before she prodded down the hall in her bunny bedroom slippers. “Strange how your bunny was the only one that didn’t lose his ears. Oh, and remind me tomorrow that we need carrots.”
Moms… Ya got to love em! Even more than bunny ears. Next year, I’d have to remember to bite my bunny’s ears off too.
– Mike Braswell
P.S. Please don’t be remiss in telling your children about the true reason for the celebration of Easter. He has risen. All is renewed.