Many, many years ago (like, 59 years ago or so) there was no such thing as the Easter basket. Sure, there was Easter candy, in fact Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs date back to Shakespeare – they were totally his fave, and the candy that fueled his writings more often than even bread and water! But they were not to be found in a basket on Easter morning, rather they sat in a pile on the table. A pile that while delicious, left itself open to thieves. Candy thieves. The worst thieves of all.
Many children would excitedly scamper out of bed only to arrive in the kitchen just in time to see a Jelly Bean Bandit filling his pockets with their Marshmallow Peeps, and greedily stuffing Mini Cadbury Eggs into his big, thief mouth! The parents couldn’t handle it anymore, going to bed every year on Holy Saturday wondering if it might happen to their family. Committees were formed, meeting times were set, and business was most certainly gotten down to!
Like any idea in its infancy, some missteps were made. The Easter Sock lasted for exactly 1 Easter before they went back to the drawing board. Nobody likes to retrieve their chocolate Easter bunnies from that which usually holds their feet. Next came the Easter pocket; an oversized pocket stitched to children’s pajamas that was designed to hold their candy, which the parents would sneak in to fill while they slept. Well, it turns out chocolate melts pretty easily, especially if you sleep with it in your pocket. A big Easter oopsy! As luck would have it, the third time was the charm, and like so many great things it was an accident.
One of the committees had decided that it would be best to have a paper ballot so people felt free to offer ideas they otherwise might not. On her way out the door on the way to the meeting, the committee chairwoman grabbed a basket to hold the ballot. That night’s ideas for solving the Easter candy debacle were particularly varied! Now that people had the freedom to offer any off the wall suggestion they wanted without ridicule, they went a little crazy. One person suggested an Easter wheelbarrow. Another suggested burying the candy the night before and letting the children dig for it in the morning. Strangely, 2 people suggested leaving it out on the table. They apparently didn’t understand what this meeting was about AT ALL! It had become customary to close these meetings by enjoying a piece of whatever Easter candy you brought along – to end the night on a good note. But everyone was so frustrated that no practical idea had been born, that they threw their candy down on the table in emotional exhaustion. After all, Easter was just 2 days away, and the best idea thus far was an Easter wheelbarrow!
It was as if it happened in slow motion. Someone had tossed their Cadbury Crème Egg at just the right angle for it to bounce off the table and land squarely in the middle of the ballot basket. Everyone stopped talking. Everyone stopped moving. It grew so quiet you could hear a jelly bean drop. Slowly, they raised their heads from the basket to meet each others’ eyes. As quickly as it had become quiet, there began a celebratory uproar! Baskets! Of course, baskets! Women hugged, men high-fived, Old Man Murphy did a little jig in the middle of the table, holding what was once just a ballot basket, and now was oh-so-much more.
*If this bears any resemblance to the real way the Easter basket happened, it’s purely accidental. For realz.