Finding the Easter Basket

It’s only a week after Easter, and in fact the Orthodox churches are celebrating the holiday today, so this post is not yet untimely.

This is the tale of an Easter past, when all three kids, in their early teens, were still living with Sandra and me in Honolulu. So … what does a part-Jewish, thoroughly irreligious family do on Easter? Why, of course! Hunt for Easter eggs and Easter baskets (one basket for each kid), which, with a few other goodies, had been carefully hidden late the previous evening by certain adults who prefer to remain anonymous.

The eggs and baskets had been secreted away in a lot of obscure spots around the house, and while the kids were tracking them down, Sandra got to work on a festive holiday breakfast.

I don’t remember what we ate a little later that morning. What I do recall is that as Sandra was starting her preparations, she set the oven to “preheat,” then went bustling about the kitchen, pulling things out of the refrigerator and moving in her usual efficient, purposeful way between sink and counter.

After a while, someone detected a peculiar fragrance. What could it be?

A keen nose followed it to the kitchen … and then to the oven.

When we popped the door open, one of the Easter baskets – filled with chocolate eggs, bright-yellow marshmallow “chicks” (“Peeps,” still in their cellophane wrapping) and foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies nestled in a bed of unnaturally green plastic “grass” – was smoldering inside. No, the “grass” was not yet aflame. It was just melting, browning and shriveling up. The bunnies and chicks didn’t look too cheery either. The Peeps’ cellophane had contracted from the heat, shrink-wrapping and contorting their happy little faces. And the acrid smoke, now billowing out, promptly set off the smoke alarm.

Sandra – God bless her! – somehow salvaged the meal, and we all had a good laugh and a happy Easter.

The last Easter, I should add, where the adults hid the goodies!

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