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An Easter candy kerfuffle

An Easter basket containing wrapped candies and a chocolate bunny,
Ralph Gardner Jr.

My wife and I had a disagreement the other day, though its minutiae might best qualify it as a tiff. But the simple fact that it happened in the first place shows how seriously I take Easter. At least its more secular aspects.

I’d visited Vasilow’s, an old-time tin ceiling chocolate shop in Hudson, NY and loaded up on Easter delights for my daughters. It’s my well-considered opinion that no village, town or city without a dedicated candy store has earned the right to incorporation. Doesn’t matter how many malls, gas stations, restaurants, courthouses, even historic landmarks a metropolis boasts. Unless it has a serious confectioner it’s by definition an inferior place to live.

By that metric Hudson is very much on the map. There’s also Verdigris, a tea and chocolate bar on Warren Street where I’ve stocked up on fruit jellies and dark chocolate covered orange peel. And for all I know Hudson has other venues shoveling out the sweet stuff. The city is considered trend-setting for good reason. Whether we’re taking about Generation X, Y or Z – vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or some other ism – I think we can all agree that accommodations in ones’ diet need to be made for the occasional chocolate bunny.

Displaying epic restraint I bought each of my children a medium-size milk chocolate rabbit with a jelly bean-filled sachel – the bunnies are made from antique molds – a package of chocolate-dipped peeps, and bags of both jellybeans and foil-wrapped milk chocolate eggs.

By the way, I bought nothing for myself. Nothing except for a bag of Vasilow’s always in-season peanut brittle. But don’t worry about me. The reason for my abstemiousness wasn’t because I’ve finally succumbed to the realization that I’m a grown-up with borderline glucose levels. It’s because I’d overbought chocolate recently and my freezer is filled with the stuff.

Indeed, if there was a subtext to my dispute with my spouse it may boil down to the belief that now, with two newly minted identical granddaughters, it’s about time I grew up. The pursuit of perpetual youth – childishness if you want to be churlish about it -- runs in our family. My mother told me she felt sixteen almost to the day she died in her mid-nineties. And she threw her four sons chocolate Easter egg hunts until we were well out of college.

I think of Easter as a family tradition and one I don’t feel my children should be deprived just because one is thirty-four and the other soon to celebrate her thirtieth birthday. The twins are still too young to appreciate a well-turned chocolate bunny; though I suppose it’s presumptuous of me to make such a blanket statement since milk – without which a chocolate hare would be a sorry little fellow – still constitutes the entirety of their diets.

The dispute wasn’t about chocolate per se. It was about the fake grass that lines the bottom of the Easter basket and serves as a poetic setting for the aforementioned treats. My younger daughter, Gracie, wasn’t going to be around for Easter so we gave her her basket early. Debbie, my spouse, wanted to take the grass back to use in her older sister Lucy’s basket– it wasn’t fake plastic grass but tasteful beige straw – but I balked, fearing that would destroy the bucolic bunnies-in-the-briar patch effect.

To save the marriage I visited my local drug store and bought a bag of “Happy Go Fluffy,” ages three and up, plastic Easter grass to replace her more organic basket liner. I could have gone with yellow or red grass but the last time I checked grass was green so I thought it best to stick with the most natural hue possible.

I’m not yet prepared to say that having grandchildren changes your perspective on things. However, there’s something about knowing that your DNA will hopefully persist well into the 22nd Century, as well as your sweet tooth, that gives one pleasant pause.

I’m proud to say that we raised our children well. Look no further than that they don’t think anything strange or embarrassing about me presenting them with fully-stocked Easter baskets at their advanced age. Their spouses, too. For us chocolate bunnies and jellybeans aren’t frivolous, holiday-themed treats. They’re annual milestones as well as felicitous additions to a balanced diet.

But even I’m willing to admit that the holiday will feel more relevant when the twins, Aggie and Faye, become ambulatory, as well as can talk ,and articulate their gratitude and delight over a solid milk chocolate bunny.

Ralph Gardner, Jr. is a journalist who divides his time between New York City and Columbia County. More of his work can be found be found on Substack.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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