Audrey called. Her four-year-old wants to know where the Easter Bunny lives and how he gets into the house to leave eggs and candy. Good question.
Little is known about the Easter Bunny (and other seasonal characters, such as the Tooth Fairy). Children don't often query their elders about the Easter Bunny's hometown, what he does in the "off season" or what sort of magic allows him into a snug house locked for the night. Unlike Santa Claus, whose life is an open book, celebrated in stories and songs, movies and television shows, music videos and tweets, the Easter Bunny is a mystery.
All we know about the Easter Bunny is that he is "hopping down the bunny trail." Not much of a life, kids think. No Mrs. Bunny waiting at home? No elves to dye eggs, or magic reindeer — or perhaps possums — to carry him around the world on Easter Eve?
The Winona Post, ever alert to opportunities for investigative journalism, has decided, with Audrey's urging, to pursue the mystery of the life of the Easter Bunny.
We started where all good journalists begin — Google and Facebook. The Easter Bunny himself seems not to have a Facebook page. How strange. On Wikipedia, we found out that German Lutherans were the first to discover and tell the tale of the Easter Hare. Ah, this gives us a few clues.
With more digging, using secret journalism methods, we found out that the Easter Bunny lives in rural Spring Valley. His parents, who are from Egg Harbor, over in Door County, migrated to Minnesota when the residents there evicted the rabbits to make way for the Pumpkin Patch Festival and put Lapin on the menu for Breakfast with Santa. The other branch of the family, from Egg Harbor, New Jersey, and Coney Island, New York, migrated to a town in Kentucky, now named Rabbit Hash. 'Nuff said.
The Easter Bunny is one of 100 (or so) born to Buck and Honey. Many of the Easter Bunny's family were lost on the long trip to Spring Valley along I90. Some settled along the way when they found greener pastures, and others didn't make the trip for other, not-to-be-mentioned reasons. In Bunny lore, the trek is called the "Trail of Tires." In fact, the Easter Bunny began his career partly in memory of those ancestors.
The Easter Bunny has not let fame go to his head. He still lives with his family, in the same nest where they settled those many years ago, although it has been expanded greatly over the years. In fact, it is where this reporter found him.
His wife, he said, suggested moving to their own nest, but he just couldn't bear to part with the extended family. Not only are they loads of company, but are part of the family egg coloring business. They are busy most of the winter preparing for the Big Day. The rabbits are divided into two groups, the right-brains and the left-brains.
The right-brained rabbits are given the task of designing and executing the Easter eggs for the season. The left-brained rabbits are responsible for mapping routes for the Easter Bunny, scanning the media for mentions of the Bunny, sending out press releases, and getting a fair price on Peeps.
What about the rabbits who don't fit into one group or another? They, said the Easter Bunny, are employed as look-outs and decoys when predators — cats, dogs, coyotes, foxes, raptors, snakes, and the occasional snowmobiler — approach the nest complex. Being in the Easter Bunny business is not easy, he told me.
What does he do after Easter, I asked. Well, he said, he likes to kick back for a while before thinking about next year. He and his wife play with the new kits, and try to get away for a night out now and then. He said he's a sucker for a nice fruit salad and a cup of weak coffee, probably his Lutheran background. "I like to see the bottom of my bottomless cup!" he joked. And he loves any kind of bars, especially carrot cake, but his wife tries to keep them away from him, so he doesn't get too out of shape in the off season.
Training is big for the Easter Bunny. He works on his stamina all the time, and tries to never encounter a hunter, as he has lost too many good friends to the shotgun or a heart attack from being scared to death.
He needed to wrap up the interview, but I had to ask him one last question. How does he get into houses that are locked? Most of the time, he says, he simply knocks and one of the pets will let him in. If there is no pet, he looks for the key under the mat, and if he has no luck there, he has to resort to the chimney or the stove vent, although he'd rather not have to do that because of the hazard of cracking the eggs. I left the Easter Bunny to his work.
There you have it, Audrey, the story of the Easter Bunny.