SFPNN Special Edition - 04/18/03 Ė SeŮor Ming
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--- Thanks to author, Joseph Walker, for today's Special Edition



by Joseph Walker


To tell you the truth, Iíve never really understood the whole Easter Bunny thing.

Donít get me wrong. I understand Easter. I understand what it represents, both theologically and culturally. I even understand that many have chosen to remove its religious implications and celebrate it simply as a rite of spring.

What I donít understand is what any of that has to do with an oversized male rabbit that lays multi-colored chicken eggs.

Which is why Iíve always been a little Grinch-ish when this time of year rolls around. Iím all for celebrating Easter, but I believe the only good Easter Bunny is in a nice rabbit stew, with a multi-colored egg salad on the side.

As you might expect, Iím the only one in the family who feels this way. My children have always been big on Easterís benevolent bunny. Of course, theyíd be big on an Easter Slug if it brought them cheap plastic toys and chocolate. My wife Anita is an Easter enabler, filling the house with enough cute leporine Easter decorations to give Beatrix Potter a bunny buzz.

And Anita has gone even more hare-brained than usual this year, purchasing no fewer than three new decorative bunnies to help us celebrate the season. Her favorite is an 18-inch-tall pile of pink fluffiness with a purple vest and bow tie and a smile that reminds me of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." When you squeeze its hand it dances and sings: "Easter Bunny . . . Easter Bunny . . . Easter Bunny . . . Easter Bunny . . . goes hop, hop, hop." It hops while it laughs a sadistic, Caribbean voo-doo master laugh. Then it sings "hop, hop, hop" again.

At least, Iím pretty sure thatís what it sings. Itís kind of hard to tell. If you listen closely as this rabbit sings you can hear a little Spanish and a little Chinese in its accent. Throw in that Caribbean laugh and it is the United Nations of singing, dancing mechanical Easter toys.

But where, oh where is the Security Council when you need them?

Anita chuckles every time she hears SeŮor Ming (as Iíve decided to call him) sing. Elizabeth and Jon, ages 13 and 11 respectively, try to imitate his dance moves (if "Star Search" institutes a "Best Imitation of a Mechanical Dancing Bunny" competition, they are IN). And our three granddaughters go nuts over this thing. They love to play with it. They love to carry it around. But mostly they love to make it sing Ė and they donít seem to have any difficulty understanding the words (but then, they donít speak English very well either).

Personally, I donít think it can hold a candle Ė scented or otherwise Ė to our plush Christmas moose that sings "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," but thatís beside the point. The fact is, SeŮor Ming has suddenly become an important part of our family Easter tradition Ė for this year, anyway. As far as weíre concerned, Easter 2003 will consist of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and . . . "hop, hop, hop."

And thatís just as it should be. Holiday traditions are important. They bind generations together with tinsel, tissue paper and plastic grass. But traditions arenít necessarily static. Just as our families grow and change and evolve, our family holiday traditions can and should be dynamic. There is room at the holiday table for both the long-standing and the fairly new. The important thing isnít how long weíve shared them Ė just that weíve shared them. And enjoyed them. And celebrated them. Together.

Whether or not we understand them.

Hop, hop, hop.

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--- Joseph Walker


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