Journal entry: March 26, 1978 (age 8) – Easter
“Your Easter basket fell out of the sky.”
The penciled note, in my mom’s blocky print, was waiting for me on the kitchen table this morning. Another note left a clue for my older brother, Dan. His read, “You may not have to dig all the way there.”
Within 30 seconds, Dan raced into the dining room, grabbed a chair, and found his basket on top of the china cabinet. Within 30 more seconds, he decapitated a chocolate rabbit and started shouting garbled suggestions to me. “Loog in da chimmy!”
Indignant, I replied, “Shut up, Dan, I already looked in the chimney! And I want to find it myself.”
I was glad my basket wasn’t at the bottom of the chimney. I scrunched up my face at the thought of ash flakes falling onto my Cadbury buffet. Now my mind was racing. “Where else in the house could something fall from above?” Thinking of the clue in purely gravitational terms didn’t really narrow the search.
Then I remembered something. Upstairs, where all the bedrooms are, there’s a linen closet in the hallway. Inside the linen closet is a shelf with a small knob and two hinges on it. Opening that little door reveals the coolest thing in our house – a laundry chute. I never leave any dirty laundry in my room, because it’s way too much fun to send it hurtling toward the basement two floors below. The chute itself is metal, so when Mom and Dad are out, I like to drop big, noisy things down there. Boots are great.
I ran down to the basement and into the big, dreary laundry room. I headed straight for the laundry-bag-hamper-thingy that sits below the chute. Suddenly, the thought dawned on me that there are worse things to have fall on your food than chimney ash. A pile of clothes smelling like my older brothers and my father could really put a damper on the hamper. Happily, my mother is too much of a neat freak to ignore that fact. My Easter basket was under a pile of laundry, but it had been covered with cootie-resistant plastic wrap.
By the time I brought it back upstairs to the kitchen, Dan’s fingers were all the colors of the jelly bean rainbow. Except black. We both hate those licorice bomblets. Yuck. Like every year, the first thing I did was get rid of all the fake plastic grass in the basket, making sure that no stray pieces of candy were hiding in the fluorescent fauna.
Then I picked up the two big chocolate bunnies. I ate the hollow one right away, using a more surgical approach than Dan’s. First, I do an ear-ectomy. Then I turn the rabbit’s eyes away from me so it can’t watch me nibble away at its head. Then I just go to town on the thing. Over the next week or so, the solid chocolate rabbit will suffer a more gruesome fate involving knives, the refrigerator, and post-Lenten, late night choco-binges.
But now it’s off to church. Dan and I are serving as altar boys for today’s 11 o’clock Mass. We’re both a little wired, so I hope nothing gets us laughing. It’s hard to be inconspicuous when you’re two short redheads in cassocks.