“What are you doing for Easter?” I asked our school secretary. Rita’s grandchildren lived far away, and her closest family members were in Florida for the holiday.
“Oh nothing. It’ll just be Al and me,” she sighed. This would be the first holiday without family for the two of them. “No chocolate bunnies this year.”
Sharing this conversation later with my husband, we both came up with the idea at once. Ever since our own children had grown up and left, we had visited selected friends’ houses and hidden Easter eggs in the predawn hours of Easter. Perfect. We’d add Rita and Al to our list. They needed to be Easter-egged.
Coloring eggs, we added messages-- “YES AL THERE IS AN EASTER BUNNY,” and “SOME BUNNY LOVES RITA”--with white crayons before dipping the eggs into dye. Sorting eggs by family, we set out with our baskets at 4:30 a.m., wearing Wellingtons for wet grass, hoping we would not be discovered by daylight.
We finished our task, went to church, and drove to relatives for the day, feeling smug about our little surprises and—remembering the neighbors’ pesky Schnauzer—hoping that no animals had eaten our eggs.
Greeting Rita the next morning, I said, “How was Easter?” expecting to hear how they’d found eggs in odd places around their home. “Oh, not bad,” she said, repeating the sad fact that they had been alone. “No chocolate bunnies.” I went away, puzzled, but returned a few minutes later to be more direct. “Didn’t the Easter bunny come to your house?” Again, she reminded me that there had been no grandchildren, so no bunny. “But,” I persevered, “Didn’t you find the egg on the windshield of your blue station wagon?”
“What station wagon?” she responded. My heart sank.
“Or in the window box by your kitchen?” I went on desperately.
“We don’t have a window box. Our neighbors down the street do.”
Blurred memories returned in rapid succession. Turning off headlights to assure that we wouldn’t be detected. Cutting the engine and coasting to the house. Slipping up the driveway in our silent boots. But something was wrong. The house.
We had actually left eggs at the wrong house—the home a block away from Rita and Al’s. Occupied by a family they did not know.
Wondering what to do to ameliorate the situation (knock on the door, introduce ourselves as the Easter bunny and...? No—it would be hard to explain, no matter what.)
Before we could agree on a solution, a “FOR SALE” sign went up on the house.
We may be the only ones who know the real reason they were moving.