Salutations, my friends! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Now that I work on the weekends, my family time is a bit more limited on Sunday. But Cameron did get her Easter basket, and we spent an hour outside blowing bubbles and running through the grass, so it was a pretty good day. Much better than the Easter the following children had, anyway.
Now, I’m almost certain that what I'm about to tell you is a true story. I wasn’t present for the drama that’s about to unfold here, but I know someone told me about this and I’m pretty sure it was my sister Michelle. I swear my sister told me this years and years ago, but when I brought it up a few years ago while researching this book, she swears that she doesn’t ever remember about this happening. But someone told me, and I’m going to attribute this to my sister and nephew anyway. Maybe it did happen to her and she’s just repressed the memory since then. But I don’t think I could make up something like on my own, someone must have told me about Red Easter. But whether it’s true or not, it’s a fascinating tale and I’m going to lay it out for you as I heard it.
This would have been fifteen years ago, when my sister was still a young mother, and my nephew Zack was five. They’re a very religious household, and I’ve always respected them for that. And on the occasion of this fine Easter morning, the family’s church decided to hold an Easter Egg hunt for the children of the congregation.
It was a very pleasant sunny morning, the perfect day for an Easter Egg hunt. It was a small church located by an old country road, with a huge yard of tall grass for the kids to run through. Easter eggs were hidden, along with hundreds of little plastic eggs containing candy and trinkets. Plenty of volunteers were on hand as well, to keep order and to prevent any of the youngsters from wandering too close to the road.
Among those volunteers was a guy named Bob. Bob was a man-child of guy, the sort of guy that kids love because he’s fun. He was also the sort of guy that parents didn’t want to leave with their children unsupervised, because that fun often included activities that involved slingshots, fireworks or testing the upper stress limits of merry-go-rounds. Bob wasn’t a family member, or ever a particularly close friend of the family. Nor was he, for that matter, a particularly clever human being. But he meant well, he was a nice guy, and he could lift heavy things. And he really loved kids, and kids loved him, so he was a great volunteer for these type of things.
So the kids were running around the tall grass of the church yard, looking for easter eggs, candy and other hidden treasures. Everything was running pretty smoothly, until a tiny pair of fuzzy brown ears poked up in the grass a few feet away from Bob.
If he hadn’t have noticed it, the story would have a more happier ending. If he had just had the foresight to have anticipate what was likely to happen, none of the sad details of this tragedy would have ended up being written about in a blog. But when that small rabbit made it’s presence known, a burning little light bulb illuminated within Bob’s head. He shouted out to everyone, commanding the attention of adult and child alike.
“Hey look! It’s the Easter Bunny!”
No matter where in yard these children were, they abandoned their quest and suddenly ran screaming towards this small rodent like a pack of hungry dogs. The field was suddenly awash in the combined sounds of childish giggles and parental reminders to stay away from the road. With Bob’s one innocent remark, the activity had turned into the sort of chaos only made possible with a few dozen toddlers on the hunt to meet one of their idols. What any of them planned to do with the rabbit once they caught him, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t think they were thinking that far ahead.
Bob was stupidly beaming with pride. In his point of view, he was the absolute hero of the Easter Egg hunt for spotting this bunny for the kids. For the children, this was the most magical day of their young little lives.
For the rodent, it was fucking Armageddon.
So the bunny ran, and it ran like an animal that didn’t want to be cornered. Every direction it went, another child was there ready to cut him off, pick him up and squeeze all of the candy, easter eggs and gold out of him. Do Easter Bunnies deliver gold? Who knows what these kids were expecting.
To make a long story short, these kids had no chance of catching this fast critter. But the animal knew that it would be better off being in a different area. So it ran for the road, hoping to flee the church yard and never come back. Thankfully, all the grown-ups were successful in preventing any of the children from going anywhere close to the road.
If only someone had been protecting the bunny. Or at least been able to warn the small truck that just....well, there's no other way to put it. The truck straight up smashed it in front of all the kids.
Every child stopped, staring at the truck as it vanished over the hill, taking their childhood with it. Then, in unison, each of them turned around, looked at their parents, and erupted into a unified tidal wave of tears and despair.
Bob just stood there, looking for all the world like he had just filmed a Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away" commercial. Every parent ran out to comfort their child with flimsy stories about how that particular bunny was just the real Easter Bunny's helper, and he's with Jesus now, or something like that. The rest of them just bore holes into Bob's head with their eyes. Those volunteers who didn't have children (or souls) tried not to laugh in front of the others.
It resulted in a combined cost of hundreds of dollars in therapy bills, several heartfelt official apologies from the church, and a polite but firm request that Bob not participate in any more youth functions.
Well, at any rate, hope you had a safe and happy Easter everyone. Thanks for reading!
John Yeo Jr. is the author of The King's Tournament and Mama Sauveterre's Curiosity Shoppe. His next book, The Infinite League, comes out in September.