5 women strolling down Church Street in Burlington, Vermont. Nothing extraordinary about them except for one tiny detail. They seemed normal at first: jeans, jackets, bags filled with their purchases of the day, except on each head was a pair of gold, fuzzy bunny ears. The Bunny Brigade. Some people just stared as they walked by, smirking a little in the corners of their lips, amused at a sight they don't see everyday. A few didn't even pay attention-- the eccentric styles of the young college students who traverse the shopping area set a precedent for any other strange clothing options that may appear. Once in a while, though, some brave individual actually approached the Bunny Brigade and ask the question that's on everyone's mind, "What's with the ears?"
What is with the bunny ears? It all started so harmless. The instigator, Mrs. Klein, and her 4 friends stepped into the Lindt chocolate store one day looking for chocolate for Easter baskets. It was a sunny but cool day in the middle of March, Easter was still four weeks away, but the decor of the store was centered on bunnies and Easter eggs and everything else in the Spring and Easter category. An innocent looking pair of bunny ears lay in a basket on a table, with a sign which read:
"Support Autism Speaks! Buy Lindt Bunny Ears and All Proceeds go to this Cause!"
Mrs. Klein's son has autism, so naturally she picked up a pair and added them to her basket. In support of her son and his cause, her friends also grabbed a pair. But they weren't prepared for the extent to which Mrs. Klein would go. She immediately ripped off the tag and plopped the ears on her head, her curly red hair making room for the soft headband.
"Come on, ladies!" she cried, rallying the troops. "Join me in supporting the cause!"
Despite the sales clerk hopping around, hoping to ring up the ears before they were attached to the heads, the 4 friends copied Mrs. Klein. Mrs. Price's daughter Elinor swept her blond hair back behind the ears, while her sister Cassie just plunked them on, causing them to be a bit tilted and already created a small bend in the right ear. To soothe the nervous clerk, each woman handed him the tag and he began to relax.
"Now," stated Mrs. Klein, " we must wear these all day in the spirit of the cause and of the Easter season! Let's go!" She moved to march out of the store.
"Um, wait!" the clerk called. "You still need to pay!"
A bit of a red tinge darkening her cheeks, Mrs. Klein returned to the counter. The women paid for their purchases, and marched out of the door, on a mission, even if the mission was just grabbing a latte and buying a new pair of shoes.
From that day forward, the tradition continued. During a weekend in Lent (depending on everyone's schedules), the 5 women-- Mrs. Klein and her daughter Denise, Mrs. Price and her two daughters Elinor and Cassie-- traveled to Burlington and walked up and down Church Street sporting the ears and explaining to anyone who asked what they were for. And so began the Bunny Chronicles.