‘Is that an Easter Bunny on the corner?!’ I thought as I drove through the nearest small town on Friday. Add that to my list of “Things You’ll Only Find In A Small Town”. It’s been six years since I’ve moved from the Chicago suburbs to outside Peoria, IL, and I’m still in awe at the things that take place in small town USA versus those that don’t in busy cities. The big, white bunny was standing at the four way stop outside the new corner doctor’s office in town waving to the cars driving by. In all my years, I’ve never seen the Easter Bunny find his way to a street corner to hail the passing cars.
While I’m still not quite sure why the Easter Bunny was there, I noticed that the bench outside of the doctor’s office had a colorful rug underneath it. He could have just wanted to wish Friday commuters a happy Easter, or he was there for families to stop to take pictures with him, courtesy of the new doctor’s office. I’ll assume the later for the correct answer. I regretted that my own toddlers weren’t with me in the car; I definitely would have stopped to have them sit on his lap to take a yearly picture with my own camera, free of charge, and without having to wait in a line.
My first experience taking my first baby to see the Easter Bunny consisted of standing in line for two hours at a mall in the Chicago suburbs. While visiting my family before Easter, my mom insisted that I had to have my son sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap so that I could have a keepsake picture of his 1st Easter Bunny encounter. Not only was the wait incredibly long for the less than 30 seconds my son was on the Bunny’s lap , but it was not cheap to get a set of pictures to take home for his baby book and all the grandparents.
Suburban and city families share in this annual adventure to see the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus at local shopping malls. I remember years of putting on a holiday outfit to go to the mall with my mom and and grandma, only to stand in a long line of other impatient children to get a picture with Bunny or Santa. I now have years of these pictures to look back upon, and they make for some good laughs, especially those where myself or my brothers want nothing to do with either holiday friend.
This tradition now carries into my own family, but because I now live in outside of a small town, I’ve found that there are multiple opportunities to engage in holiday festivities that the local communities, schools, and businesses support. Not to mention, activities that are usually free of charge and without a two hour line. This week’s Weekly Post newspaper reported, “There is no shortage of Easter egg hunts schedule for this weekend,” followed by a listing of eight different activities in local towns. While we ran out of time to catch a photo-op with the Easter Bunny this year, next year, I’ll definitely keep my eye out for the Bunny on the corner. You can bet it’ll be free with no wait.Kristen Strom
Kristen is a city-gone-country girl after her marriage to her husband, Grant, who is a full-time farmer. You can follow her stories and adventures on her blog at Little Dahinda.