My five-year old brother and I were fervent believers in a number of things—Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny being three important ones. One Easter morning before we went to church, my brother was looking out the window and musing, “I wonder what time the Easter Bunny will show up this year. I’ve never seen him before, but I sure like the chocolate he leaves.” That’s one thing my brother and I could agree on, the gifts these magical beings would bring us, every year without fail. I got up and stood beside my brother while we peered out the window. We didn’t see a thing. And then, suddenly there was this flash of white in the bushes.
“What’s that?” my brother whispered. “I don’t know,” I whispered back. I adjusted my glasses on my nose—I detested them, but at least they allowed me to see well. I looked and there was that white flash again. Suddenly it jumped into view, and it was a giant white rabbit!
We were dumbstruck. “Mom!” I hissed. “The Easter Bunny is in our yard!” She came over and looked, too. “Why, you’re right,” she exclaimed. “I’ve never seen such a big rabbit in my life.” She looked out the window again. “Maybe we shouldn’t interrupt him,” she suggested. “You two need to get your Sunday Best on. Church is in an hour or so.” We both groaned. It would be so much more exciting to keep an eye on the Easter Bunny. But, of course, we knew if he thought we were spying, he might not leave us any chocolate eggs. We shuffled upstairs to our respective bedrooms. Neither room looked out over the yard where we had seen him, so no more peeking out.
Once we were dressed, we hurried down stairs hoping for another glimpse of that wonderful Easter Bunny. There was no sign of him. Sorely disappointed, we moped around until it was time to go to church. “At least we’ll be able to look for his eggs when we get back,” my brother whispered. We sat in the back seat of the stuffy old car that our Dad drove and thought about seeing the Easter Bunny for real. “I’ll bet none of our friends have ever seen him,” I offered, trying not to hide my disappointment. “That’s true,” our Dad said and grinned his big goofy grin. We folded our hands and sat quietly for the rest of the trip.
On the way home we could hardly contain ourselves. “You need to change your clothes first before you go outside,” our mother admonished. So we flung ourselves up the stairs once more and changed as fast as we could. I waited for my brother—I was faster than him. Our mother had dug out our Easter Baskets, and we tore out the door with them. “D’you think we’ll see him again?” my brother breathed. “Probably not,” I guessed, as I spied a fat chocolate egg under a bush. “At least he left us some eggs!”
When we finally came back in our mother asked us to come sit at the kitchen table with our baskets of eggs. “I have something to tell you,” she smiled. “I’m afraid that big rabbit wasn’t the Easter Bunny after all.” We crumpled in disappointment. “What did we see then?” my brother quavered. He was close to tears. So was I, but I wouldn’t let them spill out. “That was Mr. Pratt’s rabbit,” she told us. “He came and took the rabbit home with him.” Mr. Pratt was a farmer next door. He had cows and chickens, but we didn’t know he had a rabbit too. “Anyway, wasn’t it fun to imagine that being the Easter Bunny?” she asked. My brother and I exchanged glances. “You’re right, Mom,” I said. “It was fun to imagine!”
The next day Mr. Pratt showed up at our door with the Easter Bunny tucked under his arm. “I have a gift for you,” he said, as he handed the squirming rabbit to our mother. “He likes your yard a lot better than mine,” Mr. Pratt laughed, reaching outside for a small wooden cage. “You can put him in this ‘til you build something bigger,” he said. As it turned out, hte Easter Bunny, whom we renamed Mr. Primrose, lived a long time with us. He had a special fondness for nasturtiums and would eat them stem first. We loved him because he restored our belief that magic is always waiting to happen, even when it’s disguised in reality.