Janet Harriett is often an editor, sometimes a writer, and always a lover of all things penguin. She is the senior editor at Apex Publications and editor-for-hire specializing in science fiction, fantasy and horror.

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Meeting the Easter Bunny

On the heels of the first woodchuck sighting of the year, I now have eyes on the first bunny. They hang around all winter, and I see tracks in the snow, at least when I have snow, but it's always nice to see the little furry bodies that go with the feet. They're going to be disappointed when they find out I'm not planting a garden. Bunnies being bunnies, they'll manage, though.

To commemorate First Bunny, I give you the 100% true story of when I saw the Easter Bunny:

It was the first Easter after my family moved from California, so I must have been a couple of months past 2-1/2 years old. I've heard conflicting stories for why we moved, but whatever the reason, we ended up within visiting distance of my maternal grandparents. Their house sat on a bit more than 3 acres out in the country between two cow pastures and a forested hill, not far off the side of Mt. St. Helens that was still there in June 1980. The prior owners had landscaped the front and side with sculpted topiary trees, a koi pond (which, as long as I remember, never had water, much less koi), and what we called simply the Grove, a circle of rhododendrons around a large oak tree. I don't know what the initial landscapers had in mind when they designed this particular feature, but it made a perfect Easter Egg hunting ground.

My sister and I stayed up at the house while my parents, or maybe grandparents, hid the eggs. It was quite obvious even then that Easter Bunny needed the grownups' help to hide the eggs. It was a bunny, after all; they're quadripedal, which doesn't leave many extremities free for carrying the eggs while hopping from hiding place to hiding place, and they can reach maybe a foot off the ground, tops. Once the eggs were stashed for the hunt, the adults came up to the house to get us. As we stepped through the gap in the rhododendrons into the Grove, a rabbit sat in the middle of all of the hidden eggs. The Easter Bunny wasn't any different from the wild cottontails that hopped around the rest of the year, but there it was, on Easter, sitting with the eggs.

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