Easter Skunk

“SHH!!!” Said my mother very quietly but with great urgency, “Don’t move!”

I lay very still, holding my sleeping bag beneath my chin and looking to see what the danger could be. I could feel the hard ground beneath me, the smell of pine and earth around me. I was 8 or 9, my brother Billy Buck a few years younger than me and we were all camping in the open air on a warm spring evening in central Mississippi.

It was a skunk. Skunks are harmless and sweet, unless startled. A startled skunk will spray a horrible stench, so it was very important that we all stayed very still and quiet.

She pranced around the campsite and bounced off into the night.

We talked about our visitor after she left while still lying in our sleeping bags. I looked up at the stars between drifts of clouds and eventually went back to sleep.

The next morning after gathering wood, starting a campfire, and having some breakfast, we searched for Easter eggs.

Everywhere the skunk had pranced we found Easter eggs and candy. That was the Easter that we learned that the Easter bunny was, in fact, a skunk.

The Easter skunk came every year, but we only saw her that one time. We humored our friends who talked about being visited by the bunny and exchanged knowing smiles.

Her secret was safe with us.

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