Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Money for the Bunny

An innocent little Easter bunny caused me to inadvertently act like a young kid last Saturday, and as a result, I humiliated myself in public.

It all started a couple days beforehand, when I decided to run a few errands and pick up some groceries. Before I left the house, I took the cash out of my wallet and counted it to make sure I had enough to cover everything I had to do. There was $120.

On the way to run my errands, I decided to stop at my mother’s house to say hello. We chatted for a while, and then I decided I’d better get going. I fished through my purse for my lipstick so I could do a “touch up” before I left. That’s when I noticed that my wallet, which was wide open, had no money in the bill section!

“My $120 is gone!” I cried. “I must have left it on the table when I counted it at home. I could have sworn I put it back in my wallet!” My voice quickly turned into a whine. “Now I have to go all the way back home and get it!”

“Don’t be silly,” my mother said. “I’ll lend you the $120. Just give it back to me when you find your money.”

I accepted her offer, all the while hoping that my $120 would indeed be lying on the table when I got home and not at the bottom of a puddle somewhere out in the driveway, or even worse, blowing down the street. Visions of my $20 bills hanging from tree branches made me want to forget my errands and just make a beeline for home.

As it turned out, the money had been in my wallet all along. I’d accidentally shoved it into a different compartment.

That Saturday, my husband and I took our mothers out to dinner at a restaurant in Londonderry. The minute my mother climbed into the car, I returned her $120 (well, actually, she had to remind me about it first, and then had to pry it out of my clammy little hands…but she got her money back).

The four of us enjoyed a nice dinner, and then decided to browse in the restaurant’s large gift shop. I drooled at the candy (Sky Bars, jelly beans, Necco wafers, chocolate fudge), tried on a few sparkly rings, fiddled with a music box and read a bunch of greeting cards.

And then I spotted it, sitting all by itself on a shelf…the most adorable Easter bunny I’d ever seen. Actually, it was a large baby doll wearing a fuzzy, bright- yellow bunny costume with floppy ears. The baby’s porcelain face was incredibly realistic looking with chubby pink cheeks and huge blue eyes with long lashes. For me, an avid doll collector, it was love at first sight.

Without thinking, I grabbed the bunny doll and rushed over to my mother, who was at the register, paying for some candy.

“Mom!” I called out to her, more loudly and excitedly than I’d intended. “Look at this Easter bunny! Isn’t it the cutest thing you have ever seen? And it’s only $24.95! Boy, I sure would love to have it!”

After I said it, I realized just how much I sounded like a little kid in a department store, begging for a toy. Unfortunately, the employees at the register also realized it…and so did several customers, all of whom turned to smile at me.

“Aw, Mommy,” one of the employees teased my mother. “Aren’t you going to buy your little girl that bunny for Easter?”

My mother burst out laughing.

As I stood there, my face growing hot as I heard other people also start to laugh, a female customer approached me and eyed the bunny, which I still was holding in a death grip. “You going to buy that?” she asked me.

I glanced at my mother, who was chuckling and shaking her head. “No, I guess not,” I said, frowning.

“Good!” the woman said and immediately grabbed the bunny around the neck. “Then I’ll take it!”

I resisted for a moment, not loosening my grip. But the woman seemed more than ready to engage in a tug of war for it, so I finally relented and let go of my precious bunny doll. After all, I didn’t want to be responsible for its decapitation or its bunny ears being savagely ripped off and left lying in a yellow heap on the floor.

As my husband and I and our mothers walked back out to the car, my mother asked me, “Out of curiosity, why did you come show that bunny to me instead of to your husband?”

“Because I knew you had $120,” I said.

She couldn’t argue with that.