About a year and a half ago (March 23, 2008 to be exact), in the wee hours of Easter morning, the Easter Bunny's helper (moi) went about his annual task of hiding little treats and things for the kids & grand kids to find. One of those treats was the Pink Easter Bunny (pictured here).
This Pink Easter Bunny has been a tradition in our home for at least 30 years. We started hiding the Pink Easter Bunny in really hard to find places when our kids were small, and we continued with this tradition after our children started getting married and having children of their own. We always put the best things in the Pink Easter Bunny to make it worth finding. Early on, we started placing money in the bunny. That amount grew as the kids got older - and sometime during the last five or ten years we somehow settled on about $50 dollars.
We have hidden the bunny in inside of a telescope, in the inner-tube of a mountain bike hanging in the garage, inside of the base of a lamp, a lot of really hard places. One time it was hidden inside of the brick facing of our fireplace - hanging by a piece of fishing line. Once it was hidden inside of a frozen loaf of bread in the freezer.
Whoever found the bunny became hero, really, in the eyes of the others. More than the money, it was the bragging rights over who finally found it that became valuable.
As the kids got older, the hiding places seemed to get more and more tricky. It often took two or three months before someone would finally find it, taped up under the kitchen sink or somewhere really hard. The kids would often beg for clues - and I was as stingy with the clues as I could possibly be. It really took effort to piece the cryptic clues into any kind of meaningful idea of where to look. Only in retrospect would the clues seem to have any meaning at all. I guess that I was getting proud of myself as just being ever so clever.
In the last few years the kids weren't really look as hard as they had before. The older kids had grown up and were married, leaving fewer at home. The younger ones, as last to leave the nest, had sort of grown accustomed to not being the ones that ever found the bunny.
Well, on Easter morning, 2008, the bunny was dutifully hidden - and for a few days the kids that were visiting us for Easter looked around trying to find the $50 in the bunny. They knew it would pay for a nice date or something if they found it.
Shortly after Easter, the visiting kids all returned to their homes and to school and whatnot. Those kids and their families that remained in the area would occasionally look for the bunny, but after just a few weeks the 2008 bunny's hiding place seemed pretty secure.
At Thanksgiving, the kids all came back home and we even had family pictures taken. (That was so painful with twelve grandchildren that I'm not sure that my wife is up for that again any time soon.) There was a bit of a curiosity about where the bunny might be hiding, but what with kids in town for just a short time it was soon forgotten.
Around Christmas time some of the kids started coming home - and I thought that I would just verify where the bunny was. So I checked, and it wasn't where I thought it was.
I distinctly remember taping to the back of a drawer, and it wasn't where I thought it would be. Now, even I was getting concerned.
Finally, about February 2009, I confessed to my wife and the kids in the area that I couldn't remember where I had hidden the bunny. After suffering all sorts of ridicule for having forgotten (and being accused of having Alzheimer's and just plain of having lost my own marbles), we all started looking in earnest. Since I had this vision of having taped it to a drawer, we looked everywhere. Everyone in the family, including me, tore the house up (and that is more than just a metaphor), anxious to find the bunny so we could hide it again for Easter 2009.
Finally, in early March of 2009 while I was traveling, I had this thought come into my mind. I called my wife and asked her when we had traded in a certain piece of furniture. Back in February of 2008 my wife bought several pieces of furniture, including a large buffet or credenza that she had in our entry way. After a couple of months she decided that she didn't really like that style, so she traded it in for a different model.
Anyway, I asked her about the timing of this trade, and sure enough, we had purchased the original before Easter 2008 and traded it back in after Easter 2008. Mystery solved, so I thought.
My wife called the furniture store and found that they remembered the model we bought and returned, and after my wife explained the urgency of finding the 79 cent bunny that was part of a family tradition, the store gave my wife the number of the two other people that had purchased that same model of buffet. My wife dutifully called them and had to explain our tradition and the importance of them looking behind the drawers in their dining room credenza. Both looked and reported that nothing was found. My wife and I even went over to one home ourselves and helped the woman take the drawers out and look. Still no bunny...
Easter 2009 came and we had no Pink Easter Bunny to hide. It was a sad day, and I suffered no end of abuse for having "forgotten" where the bunny was, and for letting the furniture get out of the house with the treasured bunny taped inside.
Move the clock forward to today, July 30, 2009. My five year old granddaughter used one of the guest toilets today and after she flushed (and thank Heaven she does that!), the toilet continued to run water. My wife hollered in that I needed to find out what was wrong, so I came outside of my office and went into the bathroom to see what I could do to fix the running water.
My first action was to take the little knickknacks off the back of the toilet and open the tank.
Unbelievably, it was the bunny. After 16 months of neglect the bunny, it seemed, had become untaped from the inner side of the toilet tank and fallen into the water reservoir. When my granddaughter flushed the water out, the bunny got stuck in the flapper valve and was right there, plain as day, waiting for me to rescue it.
Obviously the money had become wet and covered with mould, but treasure of treasure, the bunny was ours again at last.
The truth finally flashed into my mind. On Easter morning 2008 I HAD hidden the bunny in that credenza, but then thinking that the drawer was too easy of a hiding place, I moved the bunny to the inside of the toilet tank in the guest bathroom.
The lessons learned? From now on, I am writing down where I hide the bunny. Along with old age comes failing (and false) memories. I don't want to go through this again. Also, I think its time to start hiding the bunny in easier places. There was a time when the kids were motivated to look and they were old enough to persist. Now, the searching is going to fall on the next generation, which is much too young to look in the "hard places" and their parents just won't spend the time to look anymore.
We will do our best to keep the tradition alive - but traditions have to be adaptable. If they don't suit the the capacities and interests of those involved they will soon die.
Welcome back, Pink Easter Bunny. We are glad to have you back with us at last.