All Good Things Are Surprises

IN NEW YORK, I knew only Christmas and Easter. But when we moved to Iowa, my parents banned those holidays. When I asked my mother why the change, she said, “It’s more important that you know what being a Jew is in Iowa than in New York.” When I pressed her to tell me what a Jew was, she shrugged and said, “Someone who doesn’t believe in Christmas, someone who gets eight presents instead of one.” Not that that made sense, but the explanation contained some key words that made it mostly acceptable to me. We lived in See the Rabbits, Iowa, or at least that’s how my parents tricked me into moving there. “We’re going to See the Rabbits,” my father had announced one day a year earlier at Easter dinner. I loved the Easter bunny and Easter egg hunts, so this sounded like a good move to me.

“My God,” said my grandmother Ida. “All the way to see the rabbits? How will the children grow up? It’s bad enough all this Easter stuff, but at least it’s New York.”

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