I can't believe this blog is almost a year-and-a-half old and I haven't told you sordid details of The Raisin Story yet.
And yes, the Story has reached the status where it must be capitalized.
The tale starts long, long ago on the day before Easter when I was still a small and impressionable (and believing in the Easter Bunny) child. Like in the photo to the right. With less lipstick. Which was not actually on my face, but was applied by the photo studio.
On that day before Easter, as I did every year, I carefully placed a sheet of paper towel outside the front door and set a pristine carrot on top of the paper towel. Mom didn't believe in using paper napkins for anything, including as napkins. It was always paper towels.
I have no idea if the carrot offering was a gift or a bribe, or even a part of an elaborate rabbit-trapping scheme. All I know is that the carrot had to be there before I went to bed. The odd thing is that we never left anything out for Santa or his reindeer, but we always left a carrot for the Easter bunny.
On Easter morning, no doubt due to my carrot offering, I was rewarded with an Easter Basket outside the door, full of chocolates and jelly beans. Inside, I knew there would be Easter eggs hiding, which was pretty illogical, if you think about it. I mean, if the bunny could sneak in and hide eggs all over the place, why did he leave the basket outside?
But that wasn't the immediate problem. No, the problem was the unwanted things that the bunny left behind. Because, you see, he nibbled and gnawed at the carrot in a sort of rabid and erratic fashion and he also left behind a trail of, well ... rabbit droppings. Which I had to clean up. I couldn't have the basket until the mess was disposed of.
Perhaps it was my mother's greenish complexion or her surly attitude that morning that made me extra squeamish, but I proceeded to use a vast amount of paper towels to clean up the very untidy mess. You'd think the bunny would be paper trained or something. But no, there were droppings all over the place. Damn bunny must have been explosive or something because there were more droppings off the paper than on it.
My mother was feeling out of sorts that morning, and watching me waste swaths of paper towels for each nugget was a little more than she had patience for. Okay, let's be blunt here. She was hung over and she wanted the ritual to be over with so she could go back to bed. So she blurted out, "Oh, quit being like that. They're raisins. You eat them all the time."
I stopped short. In horror. Because in my very literal little-girl mind, I did not hear, "They're raisins, not rabbit droppings." Oh no. What I heard was, "Raisins are rabbit droppings. And you've been eating them."
From that day forward, I refused to knowingly eat a raisin, and developed a good gag reflex if I ever found one in a cookie. Years later, of course I know that raisins are dried grapes. But I still won't eat them.