I’m sure I’m not the only who noticed that Easter and April Fool’s day fall on the same day this year. So in the spirit of the two days coming together, as it were, I’ve concocted something a bit different for this year’s contribution. It’s part whimsy, part nonsense and maybe a part … worth pondering. I’ve entitled this bit of “word – processing” “Interview with The Easter Bunny” or “Session at Pete’s Hutch”. (With a nod to Henry Mancini)
Scene – A well appointed study, with all the accoutrements that befits a successful individual -- Nothing shabby about these surroundings, to be sure. My interview subject is seated behind the large, impressive solid mahogany desk. Well dressed in his casual best, smoking a pipe, very much at home in this setting – almost reminding one of a kind of … (wait for it) “Playboy” bunny, if you will. (Or maybe not.)
Mr.Gee – So, Mister Cottontail or would you rather I address you as the Easter Bunny.
Peter – You can just call me Pete – no need for formalities when I’m not out on a gig.
Mr.Gee – Okay, Pete. Tell me, what’s it like to be the Easter Bunny. To have kids all excited about seeing you come around every year – maybe even leave an Easter egg or two.
Peter – I’ll tell you, the kids are the best part of the job. (Pause) Well that and all the benefits I get from folks like Hallmark, Whitman candies, Hershey – you know the ones that I endorse year after year. I didn’t buy this hutch with a bushel full of carrots, I’ll tell you that.
Mr.Gee – Yes, I can see you’ve done quite well for yourself.
Peter – Yes, but not nearly as well as my cousin, Eric. Man, he struck it rich when they decided to use him as the mascot for a certain magazine. But let’s not talk about that. (Leans down to whisper) After all I’m sure some of your readers might care to “go there”. Know I mean?
Mr.Gee – Yes, Pete, I do. And I appreciate your sensitivity to such things. Speaking of sensitivity, I need to bring up something that hope is not a sore spot.
Peter – A sore spot?
Me -- Well I’m talking about the rivalry between you and you know who?
Peter – You mean Bugs?
Me – No, I’m not talking about Bugs Bunny. I was referring to … um, Jesus.
Peter (Reacts) Jesus Christ? You think we’re rivals, do you? Well, pal let me set you straight on that right now. WE ARE NOT RIVALS.
Me – Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you though I did warn you it might be a sore spot.
Peter – Oh, I’m not sore. I’m just dumbfounded how anyone could consider us, would consider us rivals. I’m at best a fun distraction for kids mostly – playful, entertaining and some might say I’m cute. But Jesus … (long pause) Jesus is much more than that. (Leans back in his chair) Listen most of the guys that know me would say I’m not much of religious type but come on, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Jesus did something no else had ever done before, will ever do or can ever do.
Me – You’re talking about coming back from the dead.
Peter – Exactly. No one but no one has every done that before – because no one else can.
Me – Well, Mr. Cotton … I mean, Pete, how is it that you’re as prominent in some people’s mind as Jesus is when it comes to Easter.
Pete Okay, I’ll try and answer that as briefly as I can since I don’t want to bore you with history – I don’t have time for that anyway but here’s a crash course in the origins of how I came to be associated with Easter.
It started back in ancient times with a pagan holiday and folks paying tribute to the goddess of spring. They felt led to set aside a season to celebrate this time when new growth happened- in other words a time to celebrate fertility. Well we rabbits have been identified with that sort of thing for while now and so it was only natural later on that they chose to use my tribe as a symbol. Later after church decided to use that same pagan day to recognize the resurrection of Jesus my ancestors sort came along as part of the package. And we’ve been a part of that particular season ever since.
Mr. Gee – Yes, I know that the same sort of scenario has been played out when it comes to Christmas.
Peter – Same thing. Pagan holiday, that’s a big deal, the church comes along and says let’s choose that day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Saint Nicholas becomes identified with the season and the birth of Jesus winds up getting lost in all the hoopla. Mr. C and I have spent many evening talking about this. But hey, it’s a money maker (shrugs his shoulders) whatcaha gonna do. Folks seem to have a way of making the significant insignificant and vice versa. Of course I can’t complain, I’ve done alright by it.
Mr. Gee – Indeed you have. Anything else you’d like to add?
Peter – Only this – I’m all about pretending. All about imagination and fantasy – about wishful thinking, as it were. Jesus is not about any of that. To get the two of us mixed up is … Hare-brained (winks) if you know what I mean.
Mr. Gee – I do. Thanks for your time, Pete.
Peter – You’re welcome.
Soon it will be Easter Sunday – Resurrection or Foolishness? You get a very clearly defined opportunity to emphasize one or the other this Sunday—which may well be like a kind of living parable, I think. This kind of dividing line puts me in mind of an old quote I remember, which seems appropo’ this year and it goes something like this “I’m a fool for Christ, who’s fool are you?” I’d say that sort of goes along with Dylan’s song “You Gotta Serve Somebody”. Indeed we do. Resurrection – faith or fairytale. It’s always up to us to decide.