Easter Greetings, NYPL Picture CollectionAt this point, I find myself taking another strategic break. We’re a little over one-third of the way through the nineteenth century. A holiday is coming up, undeniably the most important event of the Christian calendar. But it’s not religion I want to talk about. No, there’s a secular element to this holiday that weighs greatly with me. You see, I am a rabbit owner, and the Easter Bunny lives with me 24/7.
Popular culture has a way of imprinting itself on us. All my life, I’ve looked forward to Easter because of the delight its furry patron creates. How many of you have painted Easter eggs, put together or received an Easter basket replete with phony paper grass, or, best of all, gone on an Easter egg hunt? So important is this event, that the White House for years has sponsored an Easter Egg hunt on its East Lawn. I got my first pet bunny from Woolworth’s at the age of nine. My mother, who’d raised rabbits for meat as a child during the World War II years, had an offhand attitude, “Oh well, if it doesn’t work out, we can always eat it.” Sure. That rabbit was my best friend and companion for eight years. Minnie Bunny had an endearing habit of jumping up on my bed in the afternoon to watch her favorite television show. As soon as it was over, she’d jump down and go off on her rabbity business.
They’re connivers, these rabbits, with a way of worming themselves into your heart. Artists have long understood this quality. Among various cultures, too, the rabbit is a trickster. In our pop culture, the personification of this is Warner Brother’s cartoon character, Bugs Bunny. Other people think of Beatrix Potter’s rabbits, since the noted author and illustrator was well aware how to depict her pets’ innate qualities. If you need visual proof, just check out YouTube. How many of you have read—or watched the animated film version—Watership Down? Take my word for it, every rabbit is a riddle, finished with a tale (tail)! p.s. The Tudors Season 3 started on Showtime this past weekend. Henry is looking taut and mean as a whipsnake. Keep your eye on his costumes. He’s wearing black more than ever and that means – look out!