When I was four years old [going on five], I was already afraid of things like the dark, burglars and the boogie man [and I'm not talking about scary images of a disco-dancing dude]. But I was also old enough to be excited with anticipation the night before Christmas and Easter.
This one Easter Eve, we left a carrot and some milk for the Easter Bunny. We read some kind of Hallmark Easter story and I reluctantly went to bed, thinking I wouldn't be able to fall asleep. More than likely, I zonked out immediately. It's just what kids do [oh how I long for those days].
I woke up bright and early that Easter morning, presumably around sunrise. It was light enough to see images in my room but not quite bright enough to identify them... especially the enormous dark shadowy monster hovering over me at the foot of my bed.
I let out a scream of terror and zoomed past the creature. I ran to my parents' room and never looked back. I kept screaming.
My mom shot out of bed, "What is it? What is it?"
Teary and obviously freaked out, I insisted, "There's something in my room."
My dad flung himself out his bedroom door, to inspect my room.
Cautiously, I warned him, "Careful daddy."
My mom held me in front of her, both of us facing her bedroom door, waiting for my dad to capture the intruder. "Hon, I don't see anything."
I called out to him, "Right there daddy. On my bed!"
With that, my mom chuckled and let out a sigh of relief. She took my hand and tried dragging me to my room.
Confused, I tried to resist, "No mama, no!"
She picked me up in her arms [her 40-lb prisoner] and brought me to my room. I resumed screaming and crying. I buried my face in her shoulder.
She got to the foot of my bed, shifted me into one arm, used the other to reach for something and said, "Is this the monster?"
The sounds of cellophane got louder and louder. Still crying, I refused to look. She compassionately insisted, "Honey, it's your Easter Basket."
* * * * *
When I finally was able to look at it, with the help and support of my parents, it was still scary! An abundance of dark red cellophane covered the biggest Easter basket I'd ever seen. With the basket on my bed, it towered over me! I don't even remember what was in it. I was traumatized for quite a while. After that I was afraid of the Easter Bunny [the meanie!].
Thus began the traditional Easter Basket Hunt in our family.