Now that Easter Sunday has come and gone for another year, I want to tell you about the Phantom Easter Bunny.
We have a lot of traditions in our family, but they tend to vary greatly. Most of them make sense. Some of them offer teachable moments. Some drive me to distraction. But the one that involves the Phantom Easter Bunny is all of the above and then some.
Roughly a dozen years ago, Judine began receiving an Easter basket outside the front door of our Seattle home every Easter morning. The basket was filled with treasures that included flowers, small stuffed animals, spices and food stuffs, small pieces of art, and a chocolate bunny with chocolate eggs. There are always a few new things, too, and this varies from one year to the next. What matters is that the basket is always sizable and obviously is a work of dedication and love. There has never been the slightest clue as to who delivers the basket.
Now, understand. I rise early in the morning to write, usually between 5 and 5:30 am. After the first few years of the Phantom Easter bunny’s unannounced arrivals, I began checking upon rising to see if I could spot when the basket was delivered. I could not. Delivery took place while I was up and writing, but I was hearing nothing. This is not an easy accomplishment. The front door is inside a garden area that requires anyone entering to open a gate with hinges and a latch that make noises when put to use. So the Phantom Easter Bunny was doing its job very, very quietly.
We talked about this with various members of the family and friends, with our book group and the neighbors, but no one knew anything. Or so they claimed. Judine was entranced. She loves these baskets and the prospect of a Phantom Easter Bunny delivering them to her each year. She speculates on who it might be, but as far as I can tell has come to no definitive conclusion.
This Easter, I thought maybe I would try to find out once and for all. Secrets like this drive me crazy, and there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to uncover the answer to this one. So I made it a point to not write, but to sit on the couch close to the window that overlooks the entry and listen for the Bunny. I didn’t tell Judine, and I didn’t feel the least bit foolish about sitting up and waiting for an Easter Bunny to arrive with a basket, Phantom or not.
Sure enough, around 6:30 am, when the first light was revealing just enough for me to determine who the Bunny was, the gate creaked. The mystery was about to be solved.
Only I didn’t solve it. I hesitated, thinking about what it would mean. Judine never wanted to know who was delivering the baskets. She was the one who should have been sitting up to find out, not me. Was it really my place to discover the Bunny’s identity and tell her who it was? For that matter, did I really want to know and spoil the mystery? I sat there without moving and listened to the silence, and then the gate hinges creaked once more and the Bunny was gone.
I don’t feel bad about this. I feel good. I like having this mystery in my life. I like it that this is something I don’t need to solve. In a world where we work so hard to find out everything, to uncover answers to even the smallest secrets, it’s sort of fun to have at least one we can step back from.
Besides, not every secret belongs to us. Some belong to other people. At the end of the day, the Phantom Easter Bunny really belongs to Judine. If she doesn’t want to know who it is, who am I to interfere?
Hope your Easter was pleasant and rewarding. Hope the Phantom Easter Bunny visiting a few of you, too.