ESCANABA - Peter Cottontail (AKA the Easter Bunny) put out a call for help!
With his bouncy brown hind foot, he sent out a text message. Tapping on the muddy ground, he wrote: "Big Cuz, Need your help. Snow still 2 deep in the U.P. Will U help deliver baskets to North Country kids? E-Bunny."
The eggs were decorated; the jelly beans; fudge, chocolate, marshmallow Peeps, toys and trinkets were all ready to be packed into the Easter grass-lined baskets. Peter Cottontail and his helpers spent many hours painting daffodils and butterflies on baskets, bonnets and flower pots.
Karen Wils photos
Peter Cottontail (AKA Easter Bunny) gets ready to go.
The Holiday Hare hopping down the muddy, snowy bunny trail.
But the weather looked more like blizzard time than butterfly time. Even the robins were reluctant to return to the north woods.
Easter Bunny's list was completed. So many good boys and girls in Upper Michigan were patiently waiting for a visit from him.
It was hard to think about spring when several feet of snow still covered the ground. Green grass would be just wishful thinking this year. The winter was like the winters of old with lots of snow and cold temperatures way into the end of March. The month was going to go out like a lion.
The hard packed, windswept snow that covered most of the U.P. had melted just a little to make its surface like glass beads. This "popcorn" looking snow was tough on paws. The icy shards cut and tore at the toe pads of wild critters.
Peter knew that after hopping all over the world making deliveries, his feet would be in rough shape to take on the North Country.
He waited for his cousin's reply. The Holiday Hare communicated by thumping his huge hind legs. His text read: "Happy 2 help. Snow cover no problem for my snowshoes. I will meet U by the edge of the woods on Easter Eve. H. Hare."
The bigger, longer-legged varying hare wore a blotchy fur coat. Some of the white winter hairs had already been replaced by earthy brown-colored ones. This camouflaged look blended well into woods, patchy snow and dead grasses where the hare would have to hop.
Quickly and quietly, the Holiday Hare made the rest of Easter Bunny's deliveries. No snow drift, muddy road, icy creek, or north wind could slow down or stop the snowshoe hare. He was at home in this briar path.
Teamwork and determination saved Easter. All the good kids got Easter treats. And all of the families of the north woods celebrated the true meaning of Easter.
Christos vos crese (Christ is risen) was a joyous greeting at some houses. The new life promise echoed through the woodlands and cottontails and the hairs carried on their traditions with a spring dance. Baby bunnies would soon follow and perhaps a few of them would grow up to be Easter bunnies, too.
Karen (Rose)?Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published each Friday in Lifestyles.