This past Friday (also known as Good Friday) I volunteered to work in the visiting room. I’d been asked–along with several others–to man the table set up with freshly brewed coffee, assorted flavors of creamer, sugar, tea, instant cocoa, and all the utensils needed to prepare the drinks. Visitors–along with their inmate loved ones–were able to stop by the table and help themselves to what we had to offer.
Kids giggled as they walked up to the table because sitting behind it they witnessed two muscle-bound inmates ironically wearing harmless yellow bunny ears atop their heads. Yes, I wore the silly ears! But I reasoned that this was the lesser of two evils since another one of us had to dress up in a full white bunny suit–head and all! But he did it and the kids loved it!
The big bunny made his way around the visiting room (led by me because apparently the suit didn’t have eye openings), handing out Easter baskets full of goodies–ranging from chocolate bunnies to marshmallow bunnies to Nestle Crunch eggs–to the many children that were there to visit their father, uncles, and brothers. One little girl, who couldn’t have been more than a year old, clung to her daddy (an inmate) as she couldn’t decide whether to be terrified of the bunny or ecstatic that he was so close to her. She shrilled one second and laughed uncontrollably the next as the bunny entertained her. Indeed, this was the highlight of my time in the visiting room that day. This little girl was simply enjoying her interaction with a giant bunny with human qualities, completely oblivious to the environment she was in or the people it housed. All that mattered to her for those few precious minutes was my friend in his bunny costume. It was refreshing, innocent, and human–things I don’t get the privilege to encounter everyday.