April 19, 2014

The Haunting of Jacklyn Brady

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. It's a great time of year. Spring has sprung (at least, usually it has sprung by this time). The soil is thawing and, in some parts of the country, tulips and daffodils, crocus and hyacinths are in bloom or about to be. Easter lilies and other signs of the season are all around and kids are excited about the Easter Bunny's impending visit.

When I was young, Easter was a really big deal in my family. My sister and I always had a new Easter dress and usually a bonnet. For a while, when we were really young, we even wore beautiful white gloves to church on Sunday morning. Easter was never as magical to me as Christmas, but it was still a wonderful and beautiful time.

Until the year I turned to a life of crime.

I don't remember exactly how old I was -- old enough to know better, but still pretty little. I don't remember if my little brother was around by then. If he was, I was at least six. If he wasn't I was really little. The problem was that my neighbor, Mrs. Something-or-Other, introduced me to the joy of the Easter Peep and I fell in love. I loved the sugary crunch on the outside and the sweet soft gooey goodness on the inside. But for some reason, the Easter Bunny never, ever, ever brought Peeps for my Easter basket.

He (or she) brought all sorts of other goodies. I remember getting old-fashioned Easter eggs and jelly beans and even the occasional Easter chick for my basket, but never a Peep.

Being a smart child, I knew that Mrs. Something-or-Other next door had Peeps, so while she was gardening in her back yard, I let myself into her house and helped myself to the glorious yellow goodies she kept in a bowl just inside the front door.

My parents had raised me to be a good little girl, so the minute I swallowed those scrumptious goodies, my conscience went to work. I felt horrible. Okay, that's not true. I felt satisfied and very happy with the sticky goodness on my lips, but I was also suddenly very afraid. I didn't feel bad about sneaking in and stealing the Peeps, but I was terrified that somebody would figure out my crime and I'd get in trouble. My parents were good parents. I didn't fear some horrible punishment, but my fear of being "in trouble" was almost as huge as my love of Peeps. I didn't like it when they were unhappy with me.

For the most part I've been able to put my crime behind me, but it comes back to haunt me every year at Easter time. Even now, mumbledy-mumble years later, all it takes it one glimpse of a sunny yellow chicken Peep (the other varieties don't have quite the same effect) and my conscience rears up to pummel me with guilt.

Some things never change, though. Yes, I still feel that twinge of guilt, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a Peep or two. The only difference is that these days, I always come by them through legitimate means.

Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series set in New Orleans. The series features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. The Cakes of Wrath, book #4 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available now! 

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Easter lily photo credit: kaiyanwong223 via photopin cc
Easter chicks photo credit: certified su via photopin cc