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WOSTER: This bunny won't budge

Terry Woster

The granddaughters would be proud. I finally got the Easter bunny removed from the porch swing and stored away for another year.

A couple of the granddaughters felt a bit cramped on Easter Sunday after dinner. As is tradition, we left the table after the meal and moved to the porch to watch the egg hunt across the street on the lawn at the governor's residence. I had planned ahead and hauled patio chairs from winter storage in the garage out to the west porch. The chairs and the rockers that normally sit on the porch, along with the swing, gave us plenty of room to sit and view the mad scramble for eggs.

(The egg hunt is about three hours in the making on an Easter morning. The hunt begins at 1 p.m. The volunteers arrive much earlier to get a sound system in place, to mark areas of the lawn for various age groups and to scatter candy and prizes and other goodies around the early spring grass. This year, the goodies included those tiny orange-mandarin things called Cuties. The hunt itself takes about five minutes, countdown to last prize collected.)

As I say, we had chairs and rockers. The porch swing, though, is the best place in the world for viewing the egg hunt. Problem is, the rabbit takes up a third of the space.

"We tried to push it out of the way, but you have it nailed down,'' said Jordan.

Well, yes and no. I had it stapled in place, and the staples were pretty sturdy. Out in Lyman County years ago, I learned that if a guy is going to attach a strand of barbed wire to a wood post, he'd better use a dependable staple. Some lessons stick with you.

The whole Easter bunny on the porch swing thing is relatively new in terms of our more than 40 years of living in this house. For many years, the porch was empty. One of the pillars held a huge metal hook, and another was fastened to the corner of the house, just the right distance apart for an old-fashioned hammock. I never could find a hammock I liked, but I dreamed often of lying in the shade on the west porch in a gently swinging hammock on a lazy Saturday afternoon in June. That was before we bought a boat. After that, Saturday afternoons in June were still enjoyable and dream-inducing, just not lazy in my simpler-times sense of the term.

We'd been here several years before Nancy's folks brought the makings of a porch swing. I had to find the chains, and I had to drill the holes for the ceiling hooks. I had some difficulty finding studs or joists or whatever you call the sturdy wood that holds a ceiling in place. I drilled 25 or 30 holes before I found two solid spots for hooks. My father-in-law laughed his head off when he saw all the holes. I believe that struck him funnier than the time I used an oven pad as a makeshift hinge for the end of a furnace duct in my basement. (Hey, it wasn't so odd. The thing was insulated against the heat -- and it didn't require regular oiling.)

One Christmas, after reading an old newspaper clip that described how the previous owners of our house had lost (read "to a thief'') a Santa Claus figure that stood on their porch, we decided to bring back the tradition and put a Santa in the porch swing. I made a wooden frame, found a used Santa suit, hats and boots, and turned a Halloween mask into the face. Not too shabby. Then we got a scarecrow for the Halloween festivities and a bunny for Easter season.

The wood-framed Santa was rock solid. The other figures, being stuffed with fluff like Winnie the Pooh, tended to blow away in the wind.

Have you ever tried to explain to the neighbor across the street why you're rummaging around in his backyard late in the evening looking for an Easter rabbit? It only takes once before you bring out the big staple gun.