With Lenten season in full swing, and asked sit down with the illustrious Peter Cottontail to find out the state of Easter, I quickly said, yes. Being a Christian, a chocoholic, and a fan of Elmer Fudd, I especially wanted to know if Peter was a “Wascally Wabbit.”
We met at a Starbucks, next to a Pet Smart, Peter mentioning over the phone that with the proximity to other animals, Starbuck’s awareness of animal issues, “Having the best freakin’ latte,” plus, being outdoors, he feels most comfortable. He was wearing a very colorful vest over his snow white fur, his voice much lower than I expected, resonate, and hauntingly persuasive.
Larry: Thank you so much for meeting with me, sir.
Peter: I always love it when I can talk to my “Peeps.”
Larry: Ha! That’s a good one, sir…
Peter: Oh, please, call me Peter.
Larry: You’re much taller than I expected, Peter.
Peter: Yea, I get that. That’s another reason I selected the outdoor patio. These ears can get in the way.
Larry: How tall are you?
Peter: It varies. I can control my ears and then by dipping my head or pulling my feet to my chest I can become much smaller. It helps when going into smaller homes.
Larry: You brought up feet. Having, what I would think, the luckiest rabbit’s foot, has that ever been a problem, someone trying to get a leg up, so to speak?
Peter: In the southern states I’ve run into it a few times, but being magical, I can easily persuade.
Larry: How do you mean?
Peter: Well, it was Easter morning, early. I was finishing up in a section by the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There I was, hippity-hoppity, you know, down the bunny trail, keeping Easter on its way. I ran into some frat boys shooting guns in the back of a house. It was twenty-somethings having fun. Well, I had to get in that house. I had to get to the baskets. I don’t leave anyone out. So, this guy was drunk and yells to his buddies something like, “Hey look the Easter Bunny. Let’s cut off his foot.” I thought hell, I ain’t got time for this but he approached me pointing the gun so I grabbed it, turned him around and stuck my foot up his ass. It wasn’t pretty. He screamed. His fraternity brothers screamed. Hell, I even screamed. My foot was pretty far up his ass.
Larry: It wasn’t his lucky day, huh?
Peter: Not by a long shot, my friend. Not by a long shot.
Larry: So, tell us, what’s the best part of the job?
Peter: Oh, I love my job, especially the kids. You gotta love the kids, their excitement; it’s the next best thing since Christmas. Then there’s the bright colors, the clothes, I do like the spring clothes, families dressing up, my wife likes that. She looks forward to wearing white after Easter. Actually, this is the most enjoyable job in the world. It’s important, yes, stressful yes, but such a pleasure. Look, I’m a rabbit yet I get to bring joy to people, young and old. I’m the luckiest bunny in the world.
Larry: Anything tick you off?
Peter: Nothing really gets me mad. Are there things that I wish people wouldn’t say, do, or not do, that sort of thing, of course.
Larry: What are some?
Peter: The joke about me and the chicken getting together to get Easter eggs, lame, very lame. My wife doesn’t care anymore but my kids hear those jokes and believe me, I got more than a few basket loads of kids. Hell, I breed like a…well, like a rabbit.
Larry: Anything else?
Peter: Changing my name to “The Spring Bunny” is kind of strange. I wish people wouldn’t do that.
Larry: What’s your favorite song?
Peter: Sammy Davis Jr. “The Candy Man.”
Larry: Favorite thing to bring children?
Peter: Jelly beans for Tommy and colored eggs for Sister Sue, although, I do enjoy bringing toys. That started with the Baby Boom. The economy was better. The economy, situations in the household, and people’s outlook on life has a lot to do with what materializes in people’s baskets. One’s Easter basket can be a metaphor for one’s life.
Larry: Favorite Movie?
Peter: Fatal Attraction.
Peter: No, I’m just messing with you. I don’t watch a whole lot of movies. I do like Willie Wonka when he’s in the candy garden. I guess with the family life I end up watching a lot of TV. I like “Idol”, less now because Simon is gone. He doesn’t sugar coat like I do. It’s refreshing.
Larry: What has changed for you through the years?
Peter: Wow… Plenty… Too much to go into but I will say this. I’m the Easter Bunny. You may not believe in me and that’s fine, that’s your loss. The same with Santa, it’s your loss. But do you remember when you woke up on Easter morning with not a care in world, fixed on nothing but seeing a basket of candy, running to the den or living room, your mother or dad, family, whatever, following, anticipating your reaction? That is magical. That is me. That is the Easter Bunny.
Larry: Thank you, Peter.
Peter: Thank you and Happy Easter.