The Sum of All Fears…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …

If I say “Easter”, what comes to mind?

Sunrise church service? Good Friday? Maundy Thursday? Easter baskets Colorful eggs? Candy ?

Whatever comes to mind, in most cases, I suspect the thoughts are comforting, pleasant, reassuring.

But there’s a percentage of us who, to borrow a phrase from the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, break out “In a Cold Sweat”.

For some there’s “paschaphobia”, the actual fear of Easter and for others, there’s “leporiphobia”, the fear of Easter bunnies or rabbits.

Much like some of their winter relatives, the department store “Santas” can spook some folks out so it’s reasonable to believe some costumed “Easter bunnies”, especially the ones with the full head gear might even make me a bit uneasy.

In 13th century pre-Christian Germany, there was the goddess “Eostre”.

She was the spokesperson in those days for spring and fertility.

In the 15th century, Roman Catholicism worked the egg into the Easter picture as it became the symbol of the resurrection of Christ.

In the 1600’s, there were stories about “Oschter Haws”.

This “guy” bunny would “lay” a nest of colored eggs for the children.

German immigrants to America brought the story of “Oschter Haws” to us.

We added the chocolate and other sweets to the colored eggs of the tradition to be laid in a decorated basket on top of a nest of fake grass.

My Mom always told the story when she used one of those Paas coloring kits to dye some eggs.

I was fascinated by the bright colors but soundly disappointed when I bit into the blue egg, shell and all.

Later on in Mansfield, Ohio our family tradition for Easter always involved my 3 sisters getting new dresses and I got a brand new blazer.

My sisters usually got Easter bonnets, too.

Now, I’ve learned that this whole “new clothes and bonnet ritual” is in harmony with the renewal of the season.

The original Easter bonnets were a circle of leaves and flowers.

We also used to get chicks or bunnies on occasion.

One year, the chicks got big enough to “crow” in the morning while one group of bunnies wound up in a hutch in the backyard and some tiny rabbits thanks to Charcoal and the two ladies he lived with.

My sister Charlene used to sit on the backyard swing while holding her rabbit and would come inside with “rabbit raisins” in her coat pocket.

It’s fairly obvious we had no cases of “leporiphobia” in our family.

We all had big Easter baskets that would be filled with colored eggs and lots of candy and at least one of those hollow milk chocolate bunnies.

Sometimes, there were other “gifts” that couldn’t fit into the basket.

Easter sometimes resembled a toned-down Christmas.

Now, the candy is a pretty big business in America.

On average, we spend about $3B on “sweet stuff” in the Easter season.

Twenty-nine states say Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are the favorite choice.

About 2 out of 3 of us will buy those solid milk-chocolate eggs while 61% of Americans will purchase those hollow, milk-chocolate Easter bunnies.

I’ll bet you bit the ears off first, didn’t you?

My Father-in-law really liked the yellow Peeps.

Those marshmallow treats rank about 8th in the nationwide surveys on the top Easter candy.

For Easter dinner, the top choice seems to be ham.

The Foster repast always has rolls, butter and jelly and a huge pot of mashed potatoes.

Wife Geneva makes a ham gravy that is to die for.

After Easter dinner, while the dishes are being done, Fosters sometime grab a soup spoon and sneak a “potato-sicle”.

You load that spoon with some mashed potatoes and dip it into the leftover gravy.

Even as our family ages, wife Geneva still puts together little packets of treats for the grandkids.

This year, they were fabric “carrot pouches” packed with candy.

Fortunately, we have no family members dealing with “leporiphobia” or “paschaphobia”.

However, I still remember the Palm Sunday tornadoes on April 11th and 12th in 1965that raked parts of the Midwest and South.

That was scary!

If it’s really spooky for you, you might have “lilapsophobia” which is the fear of tornadoes or hurricanes.

Breath deeply and have a piece of chocolate.

Maybe a chocolate bunny ear.

That should calm you down.

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