Often, the Easter Bunny wears boxer shorts

Easter dad in boxers Soon, in the wee hours of the morning, something magical will happen in backyards all across America as, one by one, each of them is visited by …

You guessed it! A half-naked father hiding Easter eggs.

That’s right, the same fathers who were stomping on the roof with sleigh bells Christmas Eve will be out in the yard in their boxer shorts with an arm load of colorful eggs not long after sunrise.

Their mission?

Keep this tradition alive while trying not to step in anything that could elicit a response deemed inappropriate for Easter morning.

This generally follows a week of preparation, most of which is spent looking for the latest advancements in egg-dying technology. My parents didn’t have to worry about this. When I was a kid there was only one kit available for making Easter eggs. This kit included four colored pills, which could be combined to make additional colors or, as I preferred, swallowed whole and used to freak out kids in the restroom at school. The green pill was particularly effective.

The red pill I tried only once because it gave me nightmares.

As I was growing up, there were a number of advancements in egg-dying technology. For example, the highly touted “wand” made of thin copper, which could be used for dipping eggs without making a mess. I know this because the back of the box showed a cartoon family making lots of eggs under the watchful eye of the Easter Bunny who was saying, and I quote,

Look, No Mess!

There were a couple of things that bothered me about this.

First, it always looked like the family in the picture was being forced into coloring eggs by a brooding, six-foot-tall rabbit blocking the only exit from the kitchen. Sure, everyone was smiling, but who’s to say they weren’t just buying time until help arrived? Mysteriously, this family appeared on the back of the box for several years, and then — poof.

Gone.

I was also bothered by the fact that despite what I’m sure must have been a rigorous testing and design process, the “wand” usually collapsed on itself and dropped the egg directly into the dye the first time you used it.

After becoming a parent, I took it upon myself to find out who was responsible for this tradition. As it turns out, Germans introduced it after settling in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the 1700s when, in an eager attempt to share their homeland’s annual spring celebration, hundreds of German children began running around yelling: OSCHTER HAWS! OSCHTER HAWS!

Not knowing it was a call for the Easter Bunny, Native American children fled, taking their breakfast of boiled eggs with them and inspiring the first Easter egg hunt in the New World.

Eventually, the Easter Bunny tradition was embraced by all parents who, like German parents, realized it could be used as leverage against their children.

Three hundred years later, little has changed. Good girls and boys still get a visit from the Easter Bunny, and fathers still stumble outside at first light to hide colored eggs.

That said, I’ll take this opportunity to apologize to my neighbors in advance of Easter, just in case I step in anything left behind by something other than the Easter Bunny.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com., or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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23 thoughts on “Often, the Easter Bunny wears boxer shorts

  1. You had a PAAS egg dyeing kit? You must have been rich. Us poor children only had whatever left over food coloring was in the cupboard, usually from some failed attempt at making icing for Christmas cookies — needless to say, there weren’t many green or red eggs in our Easter baskets.

    • Hahaha! My Mom would by the PAAS kits on sale after Easter, sometimes three or four, and save them until the next year. Maybe that’s why the “wand” always broke 🙂

  2. AHHAAA!!! I now know who is responsible for Easter egg hunts! When I came to the US I was very confused about all this looking for colorful eggs and their contents (candy and such). I came home crying to my mom asking her why we didn’t have an Easter egg hunt like all the other kids. Apparently we don’t do that in Peru. To my dear mother’s innovation she took the semi precious rocks she had in the shape of an egg and hid them all over the house. We never did get chocolate, but that was okay… I finally had an Easter egg hunt! I still make my mom hide them for the pure fun of it… although I add a glass of wine as a pre-requisite 🙂

    • When you think about it, the tradition is pretty weird. I mean, why a rabbit? Why not an Easter Chicken? That would make more sense. I think it’s supposed to have something to do with fertility, with rabbits being… well, you know. But not with chickens. That would just be weird. On another note, your Mom sounds amazingly sweet. What a neat tradition, and that you still participate in it just for fun. And the wine 😉 Imagine the frenzy if she started hiding bottles of wine instead 🙂 Here’s to finding those precious rocks, and the memories they bring…!

  3. Thank you for making me laugh today…I remember the PAAS egg dying kits…this year I looked up DIY crafty egg dying techniques and was thoroughly overwhelmed with the options. Some times less is more-which coincidentally is probably why my family only dyed eggs once (because if I had had less I wouldn’t have dyed more than eggs).

    • Haha! We’ve tried the “speckle” eggs, the “sticker” eggs and such, and they all still end up the same way: rotting in the fridge once they’ve been found. I mean, you can’t eat them after they’ve been sitting in the yard or around the house — not that the kids would eat them anyway! Lost an egg in the house once. Found it a few months later — and not because we were looking for it exactly… 🙂

  4. I always loved hunting for eggs on Easter. Actually, we’d color them then mom and dad would go hide them. But then a few always ended up missing. Where’d they go? That’s when our dog would show up—looking very guilty.

    Crazy where traditions come from, isn’t it? Great post!

    • We had the same tradition, and so did our dog 🙂 He looked forward to Easter as much as we did. I do remember one year, an egg was missing and it wasn’t because of our dog. We found the egg about six weeks later — and it wasn’t because we were hunting for it. We just followed the smell!

  5. I always wondered why chickens and rabbits had something to do with Easter, which is after all about Christ coming back from the dead. My MM1 cleared that up yesterday in her school Easter service by linking the Easter story to fresh starts and the birth of baby animals. Maybe I should have paid more attention in school.

    • Um…I’d never tell you that. I’m only saying that if you’re my neighbor, and you see me in my boxers with a basketful of eggs at sunrise, I’m just giving the Easter Bunny a hand because he’s, uh… running… or hopping… late?

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