Value Speak – by Joseph B. Walker

EASTER WITH SEÑOR MING

To tell you the truth, I’ve never really understood the whole Easter Bunny thing.

Don’t 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 (including – brace yourself – “spring spheres” instead of Easter eggs.  I kid you not.)

What I don’t understand is what any of that has to do with an oversized male rabbit that lays multi-colored chicken eggs.

Which is why I’ve always been a little Grinch-ish when this time of year rolls around.  I’m 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, of course.

As you might expect, I’m the only one in the family who feels this way.  My children were always big on Easter’s benevolent bunny.  Of course, they would’ve been big on an Easter Maggot if it brought them cheap plastic toys and chocolate.  My wife Anita is an Easter enabler, filling the house with enough cute leporine decorations to give Beatrix Potter a bunny buzz.

I’ll never forget the year Anita went even more hare-brained than usual, purchasing no fewer than three new decorative bunnies to help us celebrate the season.  Her favorite that year was an 18-inch-tall pile of pink fluffiness with a purple vest and bow tie and a smile that reminded me of Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.”  When you squeezed its hand it bounced up and down and sang: “Easter Bunny . . . Easter Bunny . . . Easter Bunny . . . Easter Bunny . . . goes hop, hop, hop.”  Then it laughed a sadistic, Caribbean voo-doo-master laugh.  Then it sang “hop, hop, hop” again.

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it sang.  It was kind of hard to tell.  If you listened closely as this rabbit sang you could hear a little Spanish and a little Chinese in its accent.  Throw in that Caribbean laugh and it was the United Nations of singing, dancing mechanical Easter toys.

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

Anita used to chuckle every time she heard Señor Ming (as I decided to call him) sing.  Our then-pre-teenagers Elizabeth and Jon tried to imitate his dance moves (if “Star Search” had had a “Best Imitation of a Mechanical Dancing Bunny” competition, they would have dominated).  And our grandchildren went nuts over this thing.  They loved to play with it.  They loved to carry it around.  But mostly they loved to make it sing – and they didn’t seem to have any trouble understanding the words – but then, they didn’t speak English very well then, either.

My personal opinion was Señor Ming couldn’t hold a candle – scented or otherwise – to our plush Christmas moose that sings “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” But that was beside the point.  That year Señor Ming suddenly became an important part of our family Easter tradition.  And now in 2012, with our children now all grown and gone, Easter around our house still consists of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and . . . “hop, hop, hop.”

And that’s just as it should be, I guess.  Holiday traditions are important.  They bind generations together with tinsel, tissue paper and plastic grass.  But traditions aren’t 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 isn’t how long we’ve shared them – just that we’ve shared them.  And enjoyed them.  And celebrated them.  Together.

Whether or not we understand them.

Hop, hop, hop.

~ © Joseph B. Walker


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