We don’t have many keepsakes in my family. I’ve never really been handed down anything. Well my stepmother, Joanne, did give me her pearls which I love and if I ever have a daughter I’ll probably give her the diamond necklace my father gave me on my thirtieth birthday but as far as mementos go, the Rheels aren’t exactly the most sentimental people.
Save for this one thing.
Our chocolate Easter bunny.
Nineteen years ago my mom gave it to either me or my brother as an Easter present. How it was able to survive even the first couple of weeks in a house full of people with food addictions is beyond me but there it was, sitting atop the fridge, a whole year later.
I remember seeing it the following April and asking who’s chocolate bunny it was and my brother saying “Dude, I think that’s from last Easter.” at which point I felt like I couldn’t eat it. By then it was kind of a thing, like hey that’s that chocolate Easter bunny from last year, isn’t that funny?
As time went by, friends became familiar with it. “I can’t believe you still have that!” they would say if they hadn’t been to the house in a while. At one point my friend Matt said that if we held onto it for five years he would eat it. Five years came and went.
I graduated high school. Then college. There it was perched on top of the freezer with its beady eyes and paling skin.
My dad and stepmom moved like four times. I smile when I think of Joanne having to pack up the kitchen with each pilgrimage and my father saying “Don’t forget our decrepit old chocolate Easter bunny. That thing has been in the family longer than you have!”
Our Easter bunny has outlasted three dogs, and numerous boyfriends and girlfriends. It’s lived through holidays, snack attacks, bouts of the munchies and drunken binges. All that my family has been through for nearly twenty years, our Easter bunny has endured.
Last weekend dad and Joanne came to visit. She had an early Easter basket for me and tucked beneath the candy and cards and a brand spanking new kimono (!) was our family’s legacy; our beloved chocolate Easter bunny. I felt myself welling up with pride as I took it in my hands.
“Why me?” I asked her with tears in my eyes.
“Because I don’t want it in the kitchen anymore.” she responded.
I couldn’t be more proud.
It almost makes me want to have kids, just so I can disappoint them with their inheritance.
That lovely tale as some of you may recall was from last Easter. This Easter comes to me with great sadness as I’m afraid my stepmother’s decision to entrust me with our family’s most prized possession was one she may regret for the rest of her life. Or rather, only remember after being reminded by this post. Either way, I’ve proven that short of bestowing me straight cash, it’s best to leave the important relics of my family’s history out of my hands.
While my father and Joanne were able to hang onto our precious heirloom and keep it in quite an impressive condition for nineteen whole years, I’ve managed to reduce it to dust after only one. This is the sorry state of our bunny on its twentieth anniversary:
Jeff said the problem was that I kept it on top of my fridge and every time I would open or close the door, the bunny would shake a little bit, causing him to rapidly deteriorate. But I didn’t want to take him down and put him in a drawer! Plus, we always kept him on the fridge in my old house so that’s where I felt he belonged.
At any rate, it seems I have taken the liberty of slowly cremating our old friend and I suppose at this year’s Easter gathering we’ll have to decide where to spread his ashes. That’s if we were having an Easter gathering. We’ve all decided there’s some shopping we need to get done instead and we’ll catch each other next time around. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.
One more thing. My stepmother told me she never said she wanted our bunny “out of her kitchen”. While that’s the cheeky sentiment I remember her indicating, she tells me I took great poetic license by including that in my story, which is weird because I’ve never been known to exaggerate anything in my life.
(That was an exaggeration for anyone who missed it. I love my stepmother.)