Hiding Our Hats

On Easter eve, before bed,
we gathered hats: a baseball cap,
my winter hood with pompoms, one of Mom’s
veiled pillboxes she never wore, or paint-
spattered headgear borrowed from Dad.
We hid our respective chapeaus
so the Easter Bunny had to search for them.
We had favorite spots: the oven, the brass bowl
of our antiquated light fixture above
the dining room table, in the piano bench—
any place out of the dog’s reach
so she wouldn’t nose out our plunder
before we had a chance. We did this
by conditioning, almost by instinct,
never questioning why or trying to make sense.
One or both of our parents had done the same
as children, and that was enough for us.
Apparently the Easter Bunny appreciated
the challenge. Maybe he waited
all year for this game. In the morning
we saw that wily bunny
had switched hiding places;
now we had to scour the downstairs
for our hats turned nests, stuffed with
cellophane grass, colored eggs and chocolate hares.
One Easter, though, my youngest brother
was determined to stump the rabbit.
He discovered a replacement hat, filled as usual,
next to his basket, and our mother explained
the Easter Bunny was never able
to locate that one hidden cap. Oh,
Mr. Bunny, so patient and kind,
so adventurous, and a good sport besides—
thank you for your spirit of play and forgiveness.
You could have left rotten eggs
or forsythia branches to use as switches.
You gave us marshmallow eggs and chicks instead,
sweet reminders that life’s hunts
are always worth the effort and plenty of enthusiasm.

Nudge: Write about a spring holiday tradition. Did you enjoy it or was it something you hated to do? What did it teach you? Have you passed it on? Or has it morphed into something new over the years?

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This entry was posted in Easter, Holidays & Celebrations, Looking Back, National Poetry Month, Nudges & Nudgery, Poetry-Related, Rabbits, Things I Like to Write About, Writing Prompts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hiding Our Hats

  1. Peggy says:

    I am so glad I found your post. We did the same thing as children. My children hid hats too. Now they are grown and asked me why we hid hats. Never knew why just accepted it. My I ask your nationality? I am of Hungarian decent.

    • NancyB says:

      Hi, Peggy. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your comment. I’ve been away from my blog a lot over recent months. I’m thrilled to find someone else who hid hats for the Easter bunny as a child. I’m mostly Irish and German. I did ask my mother how the hat-hiding tradition made it into our family; she said my father’s family had done it, too. I did some searching online and found that German kids (especially in Pennsylvania in the 1700s) were encouraged to make “nests” in which the Easter Bunny could lay eggs, and they often used hats. Eventually baskets replaced the hats; however, I couldn’t find any references to the practice of hiding the hats for the Easter Bunny to find. Thanks so much for sharing your Easter memories, and I hope you had a wonderful Easter this year!

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