Well…maybe not “Biblical Times” long ago. But from my childhood. My “I thought it was pretty normal until I started telling others and they looked at my oddly” childhood.
I was the youngest of a set of three. My brothers were ages 3 and 2 when I was born. My oldest brother J1*. was always the natural born leader – J2 and I just sort of followed along. I’m not sure why…
J1 was also a very early riser. Especially on holidays. It wasn’t a problem on Christmas because Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve, while we were at the 5 p.m. Christmas Vigil mass (proving once again what innocent little children we were – we never questioned why Santa made a special trip to our house on Christmas Eve afternoon.)
Easter though – Easter was a no-holds-bar thing for our eldest sibling.
Now, I don’t know if it’s because he wanted company or because our parents told him he couldn’t go for his basket until we were all up. All I know is that sometime in the darkness one Easter morning, I awoke to “Phoebe…psst…Phoebe…are you awake? Huh? Are you? Phoebe are you awake?”
And there were my brothers standing over my bed – J1 all bright-eyed, J2 looking not as bright-eyed.
My brother could be most persistent. So I got up. Because going back to sleep was not an option. He had a plan, and we were all going to be part of it.
Of course, THAT was the year my parents decided to hide our baskets. Thus began what turned out to be pretty much a three hour tour of our house. One was found on the basement steps. Another was found under some fabric on my mom’s sewing desk.
But one was missing.
We searched. High, low (my job, I was the short one), in cabinets, on top of the refrigerator, behind the couch…I’m not kidding when I state we looked for hours. And then we noticed something odd….our terrier, sitting perfectly still in one spot.
If you have ever owned a terrier, you know this is strange.
There he sat, in front of the dining room window, perfectly still, looking up. We looked up. There, in plain sight, hanging off the end of the curtain rod, was the final basket.
At that point the sun began coming up. And I was cold. So I crawled under the one boxy chair we had that sat in front of the hot air vent, and curled up like a cat as the heat came on. I could have cared less about the freaking Easter basket. I was cold, tired and slightly miserable. I don’t know how long I stayed under there – I remember the heat coming on, blowing, warming me up, going off, me getting cold again, only to have the heat come back on. Why I didn’t just go back to bed, I don’t know – I was about seven years old and let’s face it, you’re kind of stupid at that age.
At some point my parents woke up (at a reasonable hour) and came downstairs and discovered us in various states of sugared and tired. I may have still been under the chair at that point. I don’t know. I do know that my parents made the rule that you could not get out of bed on a holiday until the sun rose after that incident. I can only imagine what a cranky bunch we were by the end of that Easter Sunday.
Of course there was that other Easter that my mother thought she could sneak carob bunnies past us. She was wrong. So very wrong. The carob bunnies were replaced the next day with milk chocolate ones. Eventually we forgave her.**
*Names of brothers have been shortened to initials for the sake of some privacy.
**My mother sends good chocolate, Jelly Belly’s and lots of Peeps for the grandchildren.