The sky flashed for a moment and the children looked around for the source of the sound but in another moment, it seemed to be revealed – a pastel pink balloon a little girl was holding had exploded. The little girl whose balloon it had been looked around at the dozens of children, their eyes all on her as she stood in her best dress, and for a moment there was only stillness and then came the tears, and the sobs, and down fell her basket with the plastic eggs and off ran the girl towards her parents, who had been sitting at a picnic table talking. They looked up and saw her in time to open their arms to her and embrace her. The children looked around and then the game was afoot again and they were off chasing hidden eggs.
The man on the bench behind the bushes watched as a little boy slowly made his way to the balloon girl’s abandoned basket. He looked around at the other children as they raced back and forth, then he looked to the adults, who were gathered near a folding table where the snacks and drinks were, then he looked back at the basket. He took a few more steps forward and then seemed to look up and straight at the man on the bench. The boy cocked his head to one side and put a hand on a hip as if trying to make sense of what he was seeing. It was almost as if he was trying to decide his next course of action when another loud pop spun him around and another child’s balloon had popped off near the bounce house. This child didn’t cry but still threw his basket down and crossed his arms. An older man came over to pat the boy on the shoulder while another man hurried over and bent to pick up everything that had fallen out of the basket and put it back within it.
The little boy turned back to the bushes but then turned his attention immediately to the balloon girl’s basket and he ran over to it and dropped to his knees and right into a patch of mud and began scooping everything back into the little basket and then he stood up and looked inside it and frowned. He then took his own basket and put the two together and dumped everything he had in his into the girl’s basket until it was overflowing. He surveyed the baskets, nodded his head, and then ran off towards the balloon girl and her family. The man in the bushes watched him go, racing across the damp grass and weaving between kids and adults alike. When he got to the family he held his arm holding the girl’s basket out and when she looked up a smile erupted from her face and she pulled away from her parents and wrapped her arms around her little brother and squeezed him.
All was right with the world.
Off at the refreshment table the pastor raised his bullhorn and started calling everyone in for snacks and games. The adults couldn’t help but laugh as they watched all the of the children as they made their way back to the tables and the inflatable attractions, each of them covered in mud, be it just their Sunday best shoes or their whole body. But there was soap. There was water. And with some scrubbing the clothes would get clean. On a morning this beautiful, under the glory of the Lord, it was hard to be mad about a little mud. Mud would come clean. What mattered was here. What mattered was now. The sound of screams of joy and laughter silenced for a moment as the pastor read a blessing over the snacks and asked for a thankful spirit among one and all and then the sound exploded and was even louder, filling the park and rolling down the lane towards the nearby church and the town beyond.
Today was a day of revelation and glory.
Praise to Him.
Away on the bench sat the man behind the bushes, slumped to one side and silent as he watched the Easter fun. The man wore an old Easter Bunny suit he had had since his first child was born. A suit he had worn every Easter for his daughter and two sons until the day that they weren’t around anymore and he was living out of a suitcase in a hotel. How long was it now? How old were they? He wasn’t sure. It had all become a bottle-blur anymore. He just knew what today was, and today was Easter, and that meant it was time for the bunny. But he was so tired, he just needed to sit for a bit and think, and watch the children. And there, was that, uh…um…he couldn’t recall his oldest son’s name. Yes, it had to be him. And was that…uh…the twins, the twin girls, yes, that had to be them. Yes, of course. And there was his wife. Or ex-wife. He wasn’t sure. He hadn’t seen her in an awfully long time. Ten years? Twenty? He couldn’t remember. But that was her, with their kids. All three boys laughing. Singing. Dancing. Playing. It was glorious. He laughed but threw a paw up to cover his mouth. He had to be quiet. Yes. If he was going to surprise the children. If the Easter Bunny was going to make his grand appearance. The man reached over and took his basket by the handle and with his other paw, which was really just his bare human hand, he pulled something black and heavy out and he smiled. He looked out to his family, his wife and their son, and he decided that yes, this was the day. This was their day. And up came the black shape to his bunny head, to the place around the eyes where the fur had worn off, and POP went the shape, and down went the basket full of red eggs, and down went the heavy black shape and that was that.