Thinking of Easter, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today. Remembering frilly dresses of lace, bonnets of blue and baskets filled to the brim. My mother loved to celebrate holidays like no other I knew.
When I was a child, there was a family owned candy story where everything was made the old-fashioned way, by hand. Large copper kettles could be seen behind glass windows of tall in the back of the store. To the front were rows of bins filled with hand-made confections plus tables where candy bars sat together with boxes of penny candy.
Easter time was my favorite in the store and my mother’s too. Pastel decorations plus row upon row of individual cases held delectable delights. Milk chocolate eggs, ‘sea-foam,’ caramel covered marshmallows and bunny rabbits in every color imaginable plus little lambs, baby chicks and rainbows of jellybeans.
Before the big day arrived, Mother always had the ruse of taking us into this most expensive candy store for something sweet, just for a treat. She needed ‘Bunny’ ideas. Our eyes lit at the sight of giant pastel rabbits hopping on top of tall cases every which way we turned.
On Easter morning, all of the children in the family woke early to hunt for Easter baskets. It was a race of sorts to see who was the first to find his or hers. Somehow we always knew the moment our own basket was discovered. No names were ever displayed, but still we always knew. If by accident we came across someone else’s basket, the secret was kept until all were found. Sometimes it seemed to take forever, but miraculously a basket suddenly ‘appeared’ where once it had never been!
The Easter Rabbit filled each basket to the brim with our own special favorites, the same that had previously been seen at the expensive candy store. The baskets would take our breath away, so big and beautiful they were. Like magic, each one was enclosed in our favorite color of cellophane before being topped with a special fuzzy chick of yellow or soft white bunny at the top. For years and years, I always wondered…. “How did the Easter Bunny know?”
For my mother who had grown-up as a child of poor, each and every holiday became the Christmas she had never known. Easter was no exception. Through no fault of my own, I’ve inherited many of her traditions. Some may be needless but all are treasured. Pictures of my own children at Easter time are glued into scrapbooks while last year, I had an egg hunt with my first-born grand-daughter on the back of my lawn. She too, found an Easter basket. The Easter Rabbit had carefully hidden it under a blanket between spindles of her nursery crib.
This year four more little ones are added to my brood, like bunnies in a nest. No, not all will understand the meaning of the season or hunt for colored eggs beneath my birch tree of peeling white. Yet, baskets for each one will be wrapped in colored cellophane, filled to the brim just like my mother would have done.
“How did the Easter Bunny know….?”