Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Easter Stories

As I write this, Easter weekend is upon us, and I find myself remembering aspects of Easter when we lived in Vero Beach, Florida.

One of my memories was of the parking problem at the Catholic church a block away. Attendance Easter morning drew two or three times as many worshipers as a typical Sunday, and their usually ample lot quickly filled up, and cars parked on both sides of the street and then overflowed onto our street.

My first year in that community I learned that the parking situation was also a problem for me. When I looked out the front window that first Easter morning, I saw cars parked on my lawn. I could only guess that since God had called them to this very special service, it must be OK to use any available lawn to park their cars.

The Higher Power may have brought them to my yard, but I'd have to repair the ruts in the turf by myself.

In subsequent years on Easter mornings we erected a makeshift barrier along the street. In the afternoon, we took it down. Problem avoided.

My other memory involved a bona fide, card-carrying Easter rabbit.

One day in early May, I went to our curbside mailbox to retrieve the mail, and on the way I noticed a large rabbit looking at me from the property line. My first thought was that considering traffic and predators, this was a perilous place for a rabbit to be.

But this rabbit had a clueless look on his face, and sure enough, he didn't run away when I approached him. Filled with feelings of compassion for the rabbit, I resolved to remove him from harm's way.

It was easier than I thought. I scooped him up, stuffed him into my shirt, hopped on my bike and headed for the nearby park. The north side of the park was still wild, and I placed him inside a thicket there.

Later that day, there was a knock on my door. It was a mother and her small child. "Have you seen a rabbit? My daughter's pet rabbit escaped and we think he's somewhere close by."

This time I wasn't filled with compassion. I was looking at a woman who had given a real live rabbit to a child who was too young to know how to care for it and through negligence had allowed it to escape.

I didn't favor her with the truth. "No, I'm sorry. I haven't seen it," I lied. "But I'll help you look for him. You keep looking around the neighborhood, and I'll get on my bike and look elsewhere."

As I headed for the park, I felt angry that a mature adult would think that a pet rabbit was the ultimate expression of Easter spirit. As a result she had put me in the position of being responsible for separating her kid from her pet forever.

I went straight to the bush where I had abandoned the rabbit, and guess what...the rabbit was still there - in the exact spot I had left him! I walked up to the clueless rabbit, scooped him up, stuffed him into my shirt, got on my bike and headed back to the neighborhood.

I knocked on the family's front door. When the mother and child appeared, I said, "I've got great news. I found your rabbit in the park. And here he is." I reached into my shirt and handed over the rabbit. When I looked into the mother's eyes, I realized what had happened. The expression on her face wasn't one of relief. She was crestfallen. She had thought she was rid of the rabbit for good, and now it was back. She had underestimated what was involved in caring for the animal, and she had turned it loose.

"Happy Easter," I said, smiling at the daughter.

Tomorrow we go to Austin to celebrate Easter with family. Parents will have stuffed plastic eggs and distributed them around the back yard for an Easter egg hunt. With any luck, there will be no ultimate Easter gift. Just kids looking for eggs, a pot luck dinner, and family members enjoying some time together.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use image purchased from

1 comment:

Sarcastic Bastard said...

The poor rabbit. I can just see you, peddling around with a rabbit on your bike, Denny. Laugh.

You are a good guy.

Please give my love to Kathleen.