Holiday paraphernalia can consume isles of your local grocery: plastic eggs; baskets; chocolate bunnies—solid and hollow; jelly beans; chocolate eggs; chicks—edible or not; candy carrots; Peeps; Cadbury eggs—regular and caramel; teddy bears in bunny suits; bunnies sans suits; and even edible grass. A recent bombardment of all things pastel, combined with my annual departure to Arkansas, catapulted me to an awkward Easter past.
During a fire fighting contract in Arkansas, I found myself shuffling through a shopping mall one rainy day in Hot Springs. The mall was that of a small town; the kind where only two of the twelve store fronts are recognizable, say, maybe Sears and a book store. Fewer stores offer less to look at—in the way of goods, as well as people. The saunter did nothing to alleviate my boredom. But just when all hope vanished, I found my entertainment.
This Easter bunny was the largest rabbit ever. Seven feet of faux fur—excluding ears—paced within a white-picket corral. The caliber of his habitat equaled that of Santa’s North Pole; the color scheme and idolized character differed, but it was an empire just the same. The employees stood their posts, cameras on the ready, and the basket grass—a saturated green. But where were the children?
The scene was a mirage of nostalgia—tangible but absent history; like clam chowder without the clams. I’ve posed with Santa numerous times with documented proof of each embarrassment—even as an adult once or twice. But never the Easter bunny. What, I wondered, could transpire on the lap of a giant, disproportionate rabbit?
“I sat on the Easter bunny’s lap yesterday,” I proclaimed to my adorable friend Kim. “The Easter bunny,” I repeat—as if she had not yet seen such a sight.
“He sounds like a pervert,” Kim said, shattering my innocence.
She had a point. Judging from the line of, well, none, Kim wasn’t the only skeptic. For what reason would you dress yourself in a human size bunny outfit? The Playboys have done it for years, but then again they aren’t really bunnies, hairless or otherwise. And there must be a clause that only other Playboys are allowed on their laps. But I digress.
I never did sit upon the legs of questionable intent. Instead, I stood with a fixed stare, too perplexed to move. During what seemed like eternity, the money in my pocket was the closest of any to the bunny throne. Had I been on the road a bit longer, feeling a little more sentimental, or less vulnerable, that cash might have changed hands. For a shy twenty dollars I could send a full color glossy to my loved ones, proving my unfaltering state of mind.
I hope to travel to unreachable lengths by August for “sneak a zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” day. I know, Kim, I hear you. Those 5 x 7's will go for way more than twenty bucks.