When I was a little girl not yet tall enough for rides at the fair but big enough to know better, we had a visitor. The warm spring sun had chased away most of the snow and tender green blades of grass peppered the lawn, promising a summery green carpet for our bare feet to run on. With four young children, Mom was usually too busy to listen to my stories or run around with me and dad was usually away at work so I often spent my solitary moments in the living room. Standing on my knees, backwards on the couch I would lean against the window and spend ages just looking at the back yard. The old clock on the mantel tick-tocked a regular slow beat I could match by slowing my own breath. The bird feeder out back would be humming with new arrivals. Every day was magical as new birds flocked to our feeder from climes much warmer than our own to feast on the seeds dad had set out. It was such fun to watch them dancing around the pole on the ground, hopping this way and that, searching for scattered seed on the prickly brown lawn. Sometimes I’d sneak out the back, closing the door so softly you’d think it were made of tissue paper. Then I’d creep toward the bird feeder and try to get a closer view. Those birds always knew when I was coming and it didn’t take them long to flap away from my prying eyes and curious hands. One day as I approached the bird feeder I noticed something different. There were little round balls sprinkling the lawn beneath the bird feeder. They were poop- yuck! and mom told be that they came from a bunny.
‘You mean a bunny like the Easter bunny?” I excitedly asked. Like most children, I had Easter on the brain. With it’s colored eggs, chocolate rabbits and mini eggs, what kid come spring time doesn’t obsess over the finer points of a one-day sugar overdose?
“Why don’t you keep watch and see if the bunny comes back?” Mom said. Her suggestion had the expected effect and I spent the next week glued to the back window at my usual post on the couch. The rabbit droppings continued to accumulate beneath the bird feeder and I just knew that the Easter bunny was living somewhere near our house. Every now and then I would tour the yard, peering under bushes and creeping down on my hands and knees to get a look at what might be underneath the shed…and then I saw him! A tiny brown bunny, nose wiggling, whiskers vibrating, huddled in the dark space below the tool shed. I gingerly address the frightened creature.
“Hi Mr. Easter bunny! Don’t be scared, I won’t hurt you.” He met my earnest eyes and then lickity split lopped out from under the shed and disappeared down a hole in under the fence.
I was heart-broken. My parents consoled me as best they could. I still remember how scientific my father was as he explained that it wasn’t really the Easter bunny hiding under our shed. It was just one of the thousands of rabbits that lived in the area who had simply discovered an easy meal of bird seed in our yard. I remained unconvinced but steeled myself to the fact that I was never going to get close to this enchanting creature, whether it was the Easter bunny or not.
That year Easter came and went and we lucky children enjoyed the sugary thrills that came with the holiday. For many years afterwards I remembered that rabbit and kept special watch for signs of bunny activity in the early spring. I never entirely believed my father’s matter of fact explanation of why the bunny had come to our yard…the proof, after all, was in the pudding. Somehow as if by magic while our yard was usually starkly bunny-free, each spring around Easter if you looked really hard you could see a little brown bunny hop across the grass and disappear down the hole underneath the fence.