When I was four years old, during the Easter of 1958, I was officially the Easter Bunny’s Helper. No joke. Actually, they say that you can’t remember anything from when you were four years old, but I do remember having had this job. In fact, I remember it very well. Very well. It’s etched into the sinew and fiber of my inner being.
Mom had made me my outfit that I was to wear to be the Easter Bunny’s Helper. My job was to give all of my relatives either a hard boiled egg, a small malted Easter egg, or one of those marshmallow yellow chicks; whatever each relative wanted. It’s funny, I remember very well that I had asked my mom if I could put on the Easter Bunny’s Helper outfit earlier that day, in order to rehearse the bit before all the relatives came over for Easter supper.
So, when the relatives began coming over, I suited up in my Easter Bunny’s Helper outfit. I remember my dad gave me a pep talk that I had been assigned a very serious job. I remember him telling me that the Easter Bunny couldn’t make it to everyone’s home, that he only visited the homes with children on Easter eve. So, there were special children who were appointed to bring Easter joy to the adults who didn’t have children at home. And, I was chosen the high honor of being one of the Easter Bunny’s Helpers.
I still remember hopping into the living room, with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all sitting in the living room. I was carrying my Easter basket filled with colored hard boiled eggs, small malted Easter egg candies, and of course those marshmallow yellow chicks. As I hopped into the living room, a roar of laughter came at me like a raging tide. Comments like, “isn’t he cute?” flowed from my relatives’ lips. I didn’t get it at all. What was so funny? I was performing the role of the very serious responsibility of being the Easter Bunny’s Helper. Why was one of my uncles holding his gut while laughing so hard?
I know the serious, earnest, reverence of Easter. Truly, I do. But still to this day, when I see the drawings of the Easter Bunny in newspaper ads and on store displays, I still tremble just a little bit. I know, still today, there are hundreds of children who will earnestly carry on the role of the Easter Bunny’s Helper this Easter Sunday. I hope they don’t face the tide of roaring laughter. I hope the adults will realize that the young child carrying out this role, is hopping and hopping with pride. As funny as it may look, if you are blessed to be in the presence of one of the Easter Bunny’s Helpers, seriously try your best not to laugh at the poor kid in the Easter Bunny outfit. Remember, one year the Easter Bunny may choose you to be one of his Easter Bunny Helpers!