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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter to you!

Happy Easter to all of our readers. We all enjoy the fun of the little ones searching for eggs during the Easter Egg Hunts and the delight and joy in their faces when they find their Easter baskets on Sunday morning but please keep the true meaning and reason in mind why we have an Easter Sunday. He has risen and lives within all of us.

My favorite Easter story goes back quite a few years ago when I was a college student. Members of our fraternity volunteered each year to assist at a large Easter egg hunt at one of the local parks. Our primary duties were to help the youngsters find the hidden eggs, especially if they hadn't found any... and make sure no one got hurt during the mad scramble at the start. As I remember it, the Saturday I will tell you about was a bit chilly and we were dressed in coats and jackets. I noticed two small boys, walking a bit slower than most of the kids in the mad pursuit and I went over to them to help them in their search. As we hunted, we talked. One of the boys asked me if there really was an Easter Bunny and I told him that there was. He then asked why the Easter Bunny had skipped their house the previous year and why his mom said that he would be skipping their house tomorrow. The young boys were brothers and they both looked at me...waiting for my answer.

I told them that they could count on the Easter Bunny making a stop at their house on Sunday. That seemed to cheer them and they eventually found several eggs. I walked them back to where their mother was waiting. She was underdressed for the chilly weather and looked a lot older than you would expect for having two young sons that were preschool age. As we went back to their car, I asked for her address. She looked at me suspiciously and I assured her that all I wanted to do was make sure that these boys got an Easter basket. Tears welled up in her eyes and she explained that she could barely make ends meet each month and they were the victims of a deserted father and she was unable to find full time, steady employment.

"What I could really use, mister..." she mournfully answered, "is $50 to make sure they've got food next week." She did give me the address, though, and thanked me for caring.

I went to work when we arrived back at the frat house. Several hours later, a couple of us were headed to the drugstore down the street from us, armed with cash.

That next morning, I awoke early and drove to their house. I tapped on the door and she answered. I handed her two Easter baskets and an envelope.

"This is a gift from my fraternity brothers and me." I told her. "I hope it helps and that your boys enjoy the baskets. I'd also like you to call the phone number in the envelope. The man (an alumni fraternity brother of ours) you'll be talking to might be able to help you in finding a job that pays a little more."

She invited me in for coffee, explaining that the boys were still asleep, but I told her that I was running late for Easter church services and would have to decline. She insisted, though and I sat in the small, dilapidated house with her for a few moments sipping coffee and talking about how the boys were so excited that I had told them that the Easter Bunny would be coming. I left before they awoke and before she opened the envelope.

Several weeks later, I received a letter from her. She thanked the fraternity for the Easter baskets, the $150 in cash and the job lead. She had been hired, enjoyed her job and the extra money it brought in. She had also met a "nice, caring man" who worked at the factory and she had begun to date him.

I never heard anymore about her or the boys until many years later. A young man came up to me at an alumni/student fraternity gathering. He introduced himself and then related that he was the younger of the two boys I had met that Saturday years ago. He had enrolled in college and was pledging the fraternity that had helped him, his brother and mother that day. He caught me up on the years that had passed since then. His mother eventually married the "nice, caring man" she had been dating but she died several years ago of cancer. The step father raised the two boys, never remarrying and eventually became a vice president at the company. The older brother received an academic scholarship to attend Alabama and was majoring in biology, hoping to become a doctor.

He also told me that he had wanted to attend college and eventually join the fraternity that his mother had spoke so proudly of for years. We still talk occasionally. He now lives in Denver...married and with two young children of his own...working as an accountant. His older brother is a physician in Atlanta. He told me that he also helps organize the annual Easter egg hunt for the children of the church he attends.

Paying it forward.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Written by Paul

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