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Reflections March 2015

A Clever Easter Basket Gone Wrong

By Teresa Ambord

When I saw the colorful small cans, I realized, that was the perfect Easter basket. I picked out a bright purple one, and congratulated myself on being so clever and thrifty. Then I shopped for things to fill the can: new socks, pens, a CD, a gift card for pizza lunch, and of course, a variety of candy.

When it comes to housekeeping, my greatest pet peeve has always been overflowing trash cans. As my son Ryan grew up, it was his job to collect and empty cans from all over the house, as they filled up.

But often, those details got by him. So when I’d find one that needed attention, I’d set it outside his bedroom, rap on the closed door, and go about my business. Within a few seconds, I’d hear him open the door and see the trash basket sitting there. He’d groan, mumble something about child abuse, and stumble out the back door to empty the little can into the giant one. Then without fail, he’d come in and ask, “Where does this one go?”

Sometimes Ryan would stack up the small cans from around the house and carry them all out. That would’ve been fine, but now and then one would disappear, presumably because he accidentally tossed the can itself into the big trash, unnoticed.

One day not long before Easter, the green waste basket from under my desk went missing. I went to ask Ryan if he had emptied it, and there it was, under his desk.

“Hey, what’s the big idea?” I asked.

“I need a trash can too,” he complained.

“Yes, and you had a blue one. Let me guess. It disappeared, right?”

He shrugged, and handed me my green can.

I made a mental note to buy Ryan a new trash can… a cheap one. A few days later I was shopping for things we needed for Easter dinner, including stuff for Ryan’s Easter basket. Like many parents, I’d given up on actual Easter baskets years earlier. You know the ones – the colorful but flimsy straw baskets that would sit on a closet shelf until they eventually fell apart. Instead, I looked for practical things which would serve as an Easter basket and then have another use.

One year his Easter basket was a big mug for his hot chocolate. Another year, it was a giant insulated water cup.

As I went down my shopping list, I saw that I still needed a trash can for Ryan. When I saw the colorful small cans, I realized, that was the perfect Easter basket. I picked out a bright purple one, and congratulated myself on being so clever and thrifty. Then I shopped for things to fill the can: new socks, pens, a CD, a gift card for pizza lunch, and of course, a variety of candy.

That night I assembled the basket of goodies. As always, I could hardly wait to give it to him. When he was younger, on Easter morning I’d sneak into his bedroom while he slept and leave the basket on his bed. Now that he was in his late teens, I’d simply set his Easter basket outside his closed door.

Finally Easter arrived. I was up hours before he was, and I’d set his basket outside his closed bedroom door, for him to find when he got out of bed. Eventually, I rapped on his door, then went back to the living room, to my coffee and to wait to see how surprised he would be.

A moment later, I heard his door open, the usual groan and grumble and charges of child abuse for making him get up. But he didn’t come into the living room just yet. Instead, I heard the back door open and shut.

A minute later, he was back, holding a bright purple empty trash can. “Where does this one go?”

My mouth dropped open. And before I could say anything, he added, “Morning Mom… hey, it’s Easter. Don’t I get an Easter basket this year?”

“That was your Easter basket,” I told him, pointing at the empty purple trash can. “It was full of goodies. Didn’t you even look at it before you emptied it?”

Ryan rolled his eyes, mumbled more teenage complaints, and headed back to the backyard. It took a while, but I think he found everything. It was all there, plus a few coffee grounds, egg shells, and a butter wrapper stuck to his new socks.

“Thank you Mother Easter Bunny,” he told me, with a kiss on top of my head. I just looked at him, and took another sip of coffee.

Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be clever.

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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