This is the story of a mouse with a sweet tooth, a basket of Easter candy and a mother who tiptoed downstairs. It starts with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg and it ends with one, too. There were also jelly beans involved, but since I’m not a fan of those, I’m leaving them out.
“Do you remember The Easter Debacle of 2002?” I recently asked my husband. Mark raised an eyebrow and shook his head no. He had repressed the memory, as he often does with events involving rodents.
“You remember,” I said. “The basket I hid in the basement? The one The Easter Mouse got into. C’mon. You have to remember.”
“I do now,” he said. “You just can’t let it die, can you?”
Nope. Not any more than I could let the mouse die. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our son, Sam, was almost 5 at the time and, like his mother, he was really good at sniffing out candy. I had assembled his Easter basket a full week early that year, hiding it deep in the bowels of our basement.
Every night, I would sneak downstairs and gobble up some treats. The Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs were my personal favorites — and apparently someone else’s, too.
“It looked like a tornado had hit the basket,” I told my best pal, Lydia, on Good Friday. “There were shredded wrappers everywhere.”
“You’re sure it was a mouse, Shell?
“Oh, yeah, I recognize the tiny teeth marks.”
When Lydia stopped gagging, she started to laugh. The thing is, I have a long history involving mice. In college, I rescued two baby mice from the university’s biology lab and turned them into pets. Those two mice multiplied and became… well, lots more mice. It was a rather dark period in my life.
Years later, a field mouse set up housekeeping in the trunk of my Volvo. Unlike Lydia, my husband did not find this funny.
“I’m not telling Mark about the Easter Mouse — and don’t you either,” I said.
“Oh, no. Don’t tell me you’re going to try to rescue it?”
“Hey, if all that chocolate didn’t kill him, he deserves to live.”
I baited a humane mouse trap with cheddar cheese before heading out to the store the buy more Easter candy for Sam. This time, I hid the basket way up high up on a closet shelf. Little did I know, The Easter Mouse could climb.
“He did it again!” I told Lydia. “He must have slipped under the closet door.”
“Either that or he was already inside and you locked him,” she said and groaned.
It was Holy Saturday and I was running out of time. Once again, I bought more candy — but this time, I sealed the treats inside mouse-proof plastic eggs. Sam was delighted by his basket the next morning.
As for the Easter Mouse? Well, he was delighted, too. I replaced the cheese in his trap with a Reese’s Peanut Butter egg. He took the bait hook-line-and-sinker.
“Who needs an Easter Bunny when you can have an Easter Mouse?” I said, as I introduced the trapped rodent to Mark and Sam. Sam clapped his hands and Mark rolled his eyes. We released him in a field after church.