I don’t think I ever went on an Easter Egg hunt when I was child. If I did, I can’t think of where it would have been held. I did a lot of things, but I can’t fish out a memory of hunting for Easter Eggs.
The playgrounds at my elementary school were virtually all concrete except for the slivers of dirt and shrubbery near a couple of buildings where we shot marbles. (If I have some young readers, email me; I’ll explain marbles to you.)
Still, Easter was a cool time back then. Most boys and girls would get a new outfit to wear to church or to be in the school’s Easter program. I remember some of the girls had these horribly wide dresses and still looked happy. For the life of me, I don’t know why.
I have a picture, hanging in my house right now, of me in an Easter suit. I looked like quite the dapper young man with a mischievous smile. My grandmother took me to Ott’s Clothing Store near the beginning of the school year to put that Easter suit on lay-a-way.
Easter in my early years was interesting. My grandmother had stopped accompanying me to church early on because of health reasons and some other stuff. On Easter, that was a blessing because it meant she couldn’t monitor my church attendance.
That was important because my plan was to get into my Easter suit as early as possible.
I wanted to leave early so that I could attend Sunday school in at least three churches on Easter before she would start to worry about me.
Since I had attended a lot of churches, many without her, near my house, I pretty much knew what time each Sunday school started and ended.
And why would I want to get to three churches? Well, Sunday schools in old South Baton Rouge would give kids chocolate rabbits or candy or bags of jelly beans — or all of that stuff.
I would hide my Easter stuff outside and then head into the next church. By nearly noon I would start back home with all kinds of Easter chocolates. I had no real love for jelly beans, except the black ones. They were awesome.
In addition to the sweet loot I brought home, my grandmother would have made sure that I had a chocolate Easter bunny. I would unload my haul of chocolate candy and little chocolate Easter bunnies and announce that I had gotten them from just one church.
My dad would bring my chocolate Easter bunnies to me and my grandmother. I know it made her smile, but I was of two minds about it. On the one hand, it meant more chocolate for me. But it wasn’t necessarily a good thing for my grandmother.
Even though I was very young, I knew that sweets like chocolate were not good for my grandmother because she had something called “sugar,” and for some reason, sweet stuff was not good for people with “sugar.” Go figure.
By the time I was 10 or so, I had become less and less a fan of the chocolate bunnies and candies. I had seen my grandmother have a couple of health episodes caused by her “sugar” requiring that she be hospitalized. Each time would scare the heck out of me.
On a couple Easters, I stopped putting my candy in our refrigerator so that she would not be tempted to get it. My grandmother would ask me if I got Easter candy from church and I would say, I ate it or that I gave it to a girl. Well she knew that didn’t happen.
I think my grandmother knew I was lying about how I got my extra candy, but she never challenged me. Actually, what I did was leave chocolates with my dad and stepmom in their refrigerator, or I would hide it under some clothes in my closet.
Over the years, I loved that my wife would give our children chocolate everything and would spend time dyeing eggs with them. It was so cool watching how much fun it was. I usually pitched.
Concerning the chocolate, of course they all liked chocolate rabbits. I liked the Gold Brick eggs. I really didn’t care for the rabbits — too much history there — but would happily accept one if given.
As for you, take the chocolate rabbit and have a Happy Easter.
Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column, at firstname.lastname@example.org.