Why Is the Easter Bunny Such a Big Deal?

Why Is the Easter Bunny Such a Big Deal?

Bunnies, Eggs, and All That

It won’t be long now. Easter is only days away. The good folks in Shady Pines Story Town are all atwitter about this most festive of holidays. But it got us thinking about the symbols related to this holiday.

For instance, how did we end up with an egg laying bunny? Bunnies don’t lay eggs. Chickens lay eggs. And yet, you always see a bunny surrounded by colorful eggs. Now how did that get started?

Well we did a little digging and it turns out the myth of the Easter Bunny is not easy to pin down! But there is an historic reason why a rascally rabbit was chosen.

You see rabbits have been associated with springtime celebrations for a really long time. After all, baby rabbits are mostly born in the spring. That’s one reason.

The Goddess who Started it All

Secondly, to find the link between springtime, rabbits and eggs you have to go a long way back in history – to the fourth century. There you find the symbol of the season of renewal, which is spring. And SHE was something. Back then, they talked about the goddess of dawn and new birth. Her name was Eostre. When she shows up in books she is usually drawn to look like a woman in a flowing dress.

This goddess’ name came from the ancient word for spring which was Eastre. (Easter for us) The animal most associated with the goddess Eastre was the rabbit. The symbol for the rebirth of life in springtime was the egg. Got it? That’s the connection between the Easter Bunny and the eggs. It’s a goddess. Pretty cool, huh?

Chocolate Bunnies?

So now we know why rabbits and eggs have long been associated with Easter. But what about the chocolate deliverly Easter bunny? When did that start?

For that symbol we go back to the 1600’s. That’s when a rabbit known as Osterhas, begins popping up in literature. His name translates as ‘Easter rabbit.’ As the story goes, the furry critter was said to leave colorful eggs all around for children to find on Easter Sunday. When the first Europeans landed in America many years later, they brought this tradition with them.

Easter Baskets

This is another symbol that we can trace back to ‘ole Osterhas, the original Easter Bunny. When children found all those eggs he had hidden, they had to put them somewhere. So they made nests, or as we know them today, Easter baskets.

Nowadays those baskets and containers come in all shapes and sizes and are decorated to the hilt. Some baskets not only have decorated eggs and chocolate bunnies, but little games and other toys, too.

So remember two things before you go on an Easter Egg Hunt, or you play the Easter Bunny in your school play and before you dive into a basket full of goodies. You have the Goddess Eostre (Easter) and that rabbit Osterhas to thank for giving us an excuse to eat a few more chocolates on Easter Sunday!

From all of us in the small Southern town of Shady Pines, we wish you a delightful holiday.

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Boomer and Halley Confused About A Tiger in a Golf Tournament!

Boomer and Halley Confused About A Tiger in a Golf Tournament!

A Tiger At the Masters

What’s going on at the Sanders’ house?  The two story home on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane is usually quiet at this hour of the morning. But not today. On this Thursday in April Harold Sanders is a filled with excitement.

“Edna, honey, it’s happening!” shouts Harold. “He’s going to play! This is unbelieveable.”

Harold’s wife, Edna, yawns as she puts the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. “Harold, dear, what are you so worked up about?”

“Look,” says Harold. “Look at the headline:

Masters 2022: Tiger Woods is back and odds and predictions are in!

Edna sees the story of Tiger Woods playing a practice round at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia and can’t believe what she’s seeing. “Are all those people there just to watch him practice?”

The TV in the kitchen may be small but to the golf world, the news is big. “Yes,” says Harold. “That’s the point. People just wanted to see him practice. After his horrible car crash last year and all the surgeries he’s had to repair his right leg, no one thought he would actually compete.”

Could He Win?

Edna sits at the kitchen table and shakes her head. “I’m no expert on golf, but I guess if a guy is trying to win The Masters for a sixth time, that’s a big deal.”

Harold sits beside her and grabs her hands in his. “Exactly. One of the greatest golfers we’ve ever seen is going to try to win golf’s biggest tournament, basically on one leg!”

Edna shakes her head. “I will never forget that roar from the crowd when he won in 2019.”

Harold claps his hands. “Yes. That was an incredible comeback at the age of 43. And now Tiger will be on the prowl again at Augusta!”  

The Sanders’ Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, wanders into the kitchen with his favorite rawhide bone in his mouth. He drops the bone at Harold’s feet and looks up at him.

“Wonder what’s got into dad?”

Halley’s Comet, the family’s silver streak of a cat, trots into the room wondering why there’s so much commotion. “Hey, Boom. Not that I really care, but what’s going on?”

Harold pats Boomer’s head. “I dunno. It’s something about a tiger prowling around a place where people play golf.”

Where’s The Tiger?

Suddenly, Halley whips around. “What? A tiger at a golf course? Where?”

Boomer rolls his eyes at the annoying cat. “How should I know?”

Halley jumps up onto her window seat where she can get a better look at the TV. “Wait. I don’t see a big cat. Are they out looking for him? Or her?”

Boomer wanders over to her. “Halley, you are the most annoying critter I have ever known.”

“Oh pipe down you overgrown bundle of fur,” hisses Halley. “Wait, what’s that?”

Boomer looks up at the TV screen. “What?”

Halley points. “That goofy looking fake tiger in that guy’s golf bag. That can’t be it.”

Boomer barks. “With your luck, that’s probably exactly IT.

Edna glances over at Harold who’s eyes are glued to the tube. “Sweetheart, aren’t you late for work?”

Harold shakes his head. “I already called the hardware store. I told them the boss of Nuts ‘N Bolts was going to be in just before noon today.”

Edna heads for the stairs. “Well, I’m going to go get dressed. I want to be all ready when he tees off.”

“Halley,” says Boomer. “Who’s teed off?” 

“I’m gonna be if you don’t put that stupid bone down. Come on TV people. Show the tiger.”

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family in the small Southern town of Shady Pines. Each of them now has their own reason to be thrilled about a Tiger at The Masters. Stay tuned!

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What Do You Really Know About St. Patrick’s Day Folklore?

What Do You Really Know About St. Patrick’s Day Folklore?

ST. PATRICK’S DAY TRADITIONS

Are you ready to get your green on? Hi there. I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette news. Mark your calendar because Thursday, March 17th is THE day! Here in Shady Pines we love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with its shamrocks and all things Irish.

From leprechauns to the color green, find out how symbols we now associate with St. Patrick’s Day came to be. We’ll let our neighbors tell you about their favories and wait ’til you find out about one that Americans just made up!

THE SHAMROCK

I’m Ray Robinson and I really like the shamrock. I read that it was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the beginning of spring.

Later on, the shamrock would become a symbol of Irish pride. That happened when the English army started to take over Irish land and declare it for England.

Can you believe they even made laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of being a Catholic? So the Irish got really mad at the English and started wearing the shamrock as a symbol of their rich heritage.

IRISH MUSIC

Music is a big part of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general.  I’m Mayor Beauregard P. Fibbs and everyone in town knows I like Irish music.

From ancient days right up until now, the Irish pass along their religion, legend and history from one generation to the next through stories and songs.

As Ray just told us, after being conquered by the English, the Irish were not allowed to speak their own language. They turned to music to help them celebrate important events. It was their way of holding on to their heritage and history.

Today, I follow traditional Irish bands like The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. They still make music with instruments that have been used for centuries.

That includes the fiddle, the harp, the uilleann pipes (a sort of elaborate bagpipe), the tin whistle (a kind of flute that is actually made of nickel-silver, brass or aluminum) and the bodhran (an ancient type of framed-up-drum that was traditionally used in warfare rather than music.)

THE SNAKE

Do you know the story of the snakes? I’m Kimberly Dunworthy. I don’t like snakes but this story is really cool.

Legend has it that when St. Patrick came to Ireland he did something really big. You see, Patrick was a Catholic priest. As the story goes, it was during his mission in Ireland that St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop. Then, with only a wooden staff by his side, the powerful priest kicked all the snakes out of Ireland.

But that turned out to be a myth. It wasn’t true. In fact, Ireland is an island nation and was never home to any snakes. The so called, “banishing of the snakes,” was really just a way of explaining that little by little all religious beliefs that weren’t Christian faded away from Ireland.

Before you knew it, Christianity was restored. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized. The snakes represented the “other religious beliefs.”

CORNED BEEF

Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.

These are the kinds of food details that Harold and Edna Sanders love to discuss. Each year, just like thousands of Irish Americans, Harold and Edna gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.

By the way, Edna will tell you, this is a tradition that is very American. A whole lot of Irish people fled their homeland for a better life in America.

Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money.

Harold discovered that the Irish learned about this cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors. And, that’s how the tradition of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day began!

THE BLARNEY STONE

I’m Scoop the Cub Reporter and I’m here to tell ya that the Blarney stone is one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions.

To find it you have to drive about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland, to the grounds of a castle. Before the pandemic, hundreds of tourists would visit Blarney Castle every day.

This castle is one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic. It’s not easy to get to the stone because that valuable slap of limestone is located way up high on the castle’s wall.

This year, visitors who will once again make the journey to this place will do it for one reason: to kiss the Blarney Stone. People think that kissing the stone will give them the “gift of the gab” (make them good at talking). I don’t need a Blarney Stone for that!

Anyway, when it’s your turn, you find out you have to get down and flip over onto your back while someone holds you.

That means you’re lying there with you head hanging over a wall and looking a long way down. 

All this to kiss a stone. That’s why some people say it’s just, “Blarney!”

THE LEPRECHAUN

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” I’m Rita Morena, Director of the Shady Pines Community Center. I love talking to kids about these little guys.

Belief in leprechauns goes a long way back in history when people in Ireland were known as Celtics. They believed in fairies. According to folklore, these were tiny men who dressed in green, had beards, smoked pipes and wore buckled shoes.

Leprechauns were known to be shoemakers who would sometimes pull pranks and make mischief.

They were secretive, too. To make sure no humans could take their gold, the leprechauns buried it in pots deep underground. People say when rainbows appear, they always end at a spot where some leprechaun’s pot of gold is buried.

Leprechauns were known to have magical powers to serve good or evil. If a human got near their pot of gold, legend has it, they would pull out all the stops to protect their treasure.

We hope you treasure your experiences this St. Patrick’s Day!

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OK Shady Pines. Time to Spring Forward!

OK Shady Pines. Time to Spring Forward!

Change Those Clocks

 

What is Edna Sanders doing? Wife of Harold, and mother to those four legged rascals, Boomer and Halley, Edna is usually the one who keeps her cool.A happy family hugging their pets But right now she is frantically searching her kitchen.

“Oh, fiddlesticks,” says Edna. “I know I put them in here somewhere! I’ve just got to find them before Sunday.”

A frustrated Edna searches the well stocked pantry with its labeled jars in neat rows. Next, she looks in cabinets high and low, getting more frustrated all the time.

Folks, if you haven’t heard, the residents of Shady Pines Story Town know that Edna’s Kitchen is the place to stop by, have a cup of coffee, swap stories and sample whatever tasty concoction Edna’s whipping up. But right now, cooking seems the furthest thing from her mind.

Where Are They?

A handsome Australian Shepherd dog with a bone in his mouth wanders into the kitchen and drops his favorite possseion at Edna’s feet.”Oh, good, Boomer you’re here.” She bends down and gives him a hug. “Where’s your sister?”

“Did you call for me?” A silver streak of a cat trots right by the dog and rubs against Edna’s leg.

“There you are Halley,” says Edna petting the sleek feline’s head.

“She wasn’t really ‘calling’ for you Halley,” snarls Boomer.

Halley bats her eyes at him. “And I suppose you still think you’re her favorite?”

Boomer puffs up. “Well, you’re not.”

“Am, too.”

“Are not!”

Here They Are!

Edna is on her knees reaching into the only bottom cabinent she hasn’t checked. There are so many old pots and pans in here.

“Eureka!” she cries out. “I found them! Look, Boomer!  Halley, remember these from last year?”

Boomer and Halley look at one another wide eyed.

“Oh, no Boomer,” says Halley. “It can’t be that time again.”

Boomer slowly approaches the two gadgets sitting on the floor. He sniffs them. One clock looks like a dog and the other a cat.

“Good golly, Halley. It’s them. Not again!”

Edna is so pleased with her find. “Kids isn’t this wonderful? Now we’ll have your alarm clocks and we’ll have ours.  This way we can all be ready when Daylight Saving begins this Sunday, March 13th.

The back door opens. “Honey, I’m home.” Harold Sanders returns from working all day at his Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store downtown. The store owner has grocery bags in his hands and places them on the counter. “I got a few things at Fred’s Corner Grocer.”

Edna crosses the room and gives him a kiss. “Harold, that’s wonderful. Thank you. Now, look what I found!”

A Plan Takes Shape

Harold looks at the two animal alarm clocks. Then he notices the actual alarm on the faces of his two four-legged children. He clears his throat. “Edna, sweetheart, what do you have in mind?”

Edna is at her desk in the kitchen. “Why Harold. I  can’t believe you’d even have to ask!” says Edna. “You know I have a plan. I just made a few changes to the one I made last year.  You know, simplified it a bit.”

Harold walks over to her and takes a look. “Honey, you do remember we had a few “glitches” last year.”

Edna reviews her list of to-dos. “Well, I think that’s because I was using a guide for real children. Trying to wake Boomer and Halley from their naps really didn’t work out too well. And telling them to constantly ‘go outside and get more sunlight’ did seem to confuse them.”

Harold nods his head in agreement. “Yep, that was a problem. Especially when they were already outside.”

So Alarming

Oh, no. What is Edna doing now? She left the kitchen and returns holding a large alarm clock. Now she lines up the three noise makers together on the kitchen table.

“OK. I think we’re all set for a trial run,” says Edna.  I want to make sure we have a running start to this weekend when we ‘Spring Ahead’ on Sunday morning.”

Harold is not sure what he just heard. “We’re starting now?”

Edna smiles. “Tomorrow morning this is what we’ll hear.”

Before she can finish her sentence all three alarm clocks clank and ring loudly producing a shattering noise all at the same time. Edna looks around the room. “Wait. Harold. Boomer. Halley. Where are you going?”

And that’s where we’ll leave the Sanders family on this very loud evening in the small Southern town of Shady Pines!

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Here Comes March. Kindly In Like a Lion or Lamb?

Here Comes March. Kindly In Like a Lion or Lamb?

 A Roaring Month Ahead

A new month is just days away now and that leads to questions. As winter gives way to spring, what kind of weather can the folks in Shady Pines Story Town expect?

In the sun drenched kitchen of the house on Dogwood Drive across from Copycat Lane, Edna Sanders is cleaning up the breakfast dishes.

Her husband, Harold, is about ready to leave for work. He own the Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store downtown. Right now, he’s looking for his car keys.

“Honey, have you seen my keys?” he asks. Edna looks in a couple of drawers. “No,” she answers. “Maybe you should check upstairs on the dresser.”

As Harold heads to the bedroom, the Sanders’ Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, is lying under the kitchen table chewing his rawhide bone. Halley’s Comet, their silver streak of a cat, is perched on her pink window seat grooming herself.

Edna glances at her four-legged kids. “Boomer and Halley, where has this month gone? It seems like it was Valentine’s Day just a short while ago. And now the month is nearly over.”

Harold bounds into the room with the keys in his hand. “Found ’em. They were right where you said they’d be.”

Edna places the last clean plate in the upper cupboard. “Harold I just realized there are only a few days left in February. Next week it will be March. Can you believe that?”

“Gosh, you’re right! I guess the question now is, will March come in like a lion and leave like a lamb?”

Edna turns and looks at him. “Where does that saying come from?”

My father told me it’s an old saying straight out of the Farmers’ Almanac.  It’s sorta forklore. Apparently our ancestors believed in balance.”

“What do you mean, balance?” asks Edna as she helps Harold on with his coat.

“It means if the weather at the start of the month is bad like a roaring lion, the month should end with good weather. You know, gentle, like a lamb,” says Harold.

Kindness Matters

Boomer stops chewing and looks over at Halley. “You know what that means don’t you?”

Halley rolls her eyes at him. “Oh, do tell, oh wonder dog. What does that mean?”

Boomer struts over to her. “In this story I am the mighty lion and you are the pitiful little lamb.”

“Oh pah-leez you overgrown bundle of fur,” hisses Halley. “No one would mistake you for a mighty anything!”

“Would too!”

“Would not!”

Boomer is so frustrated with Halley that he starts barking at her.

Harold takes Boomer by the collar and leads him away from the hissing cat. “What has gotten into you, two? Remember all those times we reminded you guys to be kind to one another?”

Edna is startled by the commotion. “In this house it seems March may be coming in like a lion!” she says stroking Halley to calm her down. Harold sits with Boomer and pets his head. “Easy boy. Pretend you’re a lamb.”

Boomer reacts with, “Grrrrr.”

Halley just grins.

And that’s where we leave the Sanders family on a quiet morning in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.

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6 Qualities Define Southern Hospitality in Shady Pines

6 Qualities Define Southern Hospitality in Shady Pines

 Come On In And Sit A Spell

Has Covid got you cooped up for so long you’ve forgotten how to act around people? Here’s a refresher. Southern hospitality isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s a way of life here in our small Southern town of Shady Pines.

I’m Edna Sanders. 

A happy family hugging their pets

I’ve come to realize that hospitality isn’t a choice. It’s more of an institution.

That’s why in the Sanders’ household, my husband Harold and our four-legged kids Boomer and Halley, abide by Southern rituals and customs.

You should know this goes beyond swinging on the front porch, sipping on sweet tea, and gathering

together on Sunday for a sit-down potluck supper.

While most people define Southern hospitality as being neighborly and welcoming family, friends, and, yes, even strangers into our homes.

But I just read a survey that narrowed it down to six actual qualities. Politeness and down-home cooking top the list.

You know I liked that since Edna’s Kitchen is an important destination around here! Well, these are the top six characteristics of Southern hospitality that are as consistent as our famously hot summers.

1. Politeness

Despite what society says, there’s still a place for manners in the South and elsewhere. Before most children are taught how to spell or how to count, they learn these few magic words: “yes, ma’am,” “no, sir,” “please,” and “thank you.” The idea is that if we’re taught at a young age how to be polite, it’ll carry us through the rest of our lives as adults.

And because we love company and, admittedly, talking, conversations with loved ones and guests are never rushed.

The motto of the South is “what’s the hurry?” and that is certainly reflected in the way (and pace) in which we speak and engage other people.

2. Good Home Cooking

Entertaining and delicious food go hand in hand in the South. Every Southern woman knows how to whip up a warm batch of chocolate chip cookies of a peach cobbler. We make no apologies for loving our tub of lard and embracing tradition in the kitchen, often preparing time-tested recipes passed down through generations.

Our thinking in the South is that one dish is never enough, because you never know when you’ll have unexpected guests or relatives for dinner.

And you can rest assured, a slow cooker or cast-iron skillet is almost always involved in cooking comforting and soul-satisfying food emblematic of the South.

 

3. Kindness

As you well know kindness and caring are vrey important to all of us here in Shady Pines Story Town. We treat our guests like they’re family and ine anither with respect. As the saying goes here in the South, “There are no strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet.”

And we extend this kindness to everyone, forming lifelong connections and opening our homes and hearts. The most powerful gesture of kindness in the South is often a simple handshake, where a good, firm grip still goes a long way here.

 4. Helpfulness

You can forget about fixing your own plate or helping with the dishes as a guest in a Southern home. We take pride in preparing a home-cooked meal, serving company, and cleaning up once we hang up our hosting hats.

We’re gracious enough to lend a hand to our neighbors, and we’re always willing to offer directions if you’re lost on some old back road. That is, if you don’t mind hearing a few stories or settling for navigation guided by town landmarks.

5. Charm

What some deem as charming is just the natural Southern way of being kind, witty, and considerate to everyone we encounter, whether it be at the post office, grocery store, or at church. Having grace under pressure and making others feel welcome and comfortable is also part of the Southern charm.

Yes, we take our pleasantries very seriously in the South, and we hate saying goodbye to guests who come over. But eventually, we’re willing to wave them off like a polite host should, with the age old promise of, “Y’all come back now, you hear?”

 

6. Charity

The golden rule in the South is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, without expecting anything in return. Southerners don’t give or dole out favors as an obligation, but we do it out of courtesy, respect, and mere habit, in hopes that you’ll return again and again.

See ya next time! – Edna