For the first time ever, I kind of want to see the Easter bunnies on the Country Club Plaza.
Unveiled on Friday, a few of them are giving off a friendlier vibe, sporting Kansas City Royals attire to celebrate next week’s home opener. But I know these warm and fuzzy feelings are fleeting. The baseball uniforms will be packed away come April 9, and I’ll spend the rest of the month avoiding the bunnies of Lizzie Borden.
Let me explain. When I moved to Kansas City, over 10 years ago, I lived on the Plaza. And nobody warned me about the so-called Easter Wonderland that’s taken over the shopping district for decades.
Each Friday, I’d walk to Cheesecake Factory for an indulgent dessert. And then it happened. One fine spring day, I ran right into a rabbit. Maybe I was talking or laughing, I can’t remember. I admit it: I screamed.
She was my size, menacing me in an old-fashioned dress and beady, soulless, Terminator eyes. I wondered what evil those eggs in her basket held. Since then, I’ve always cringed when those bunnies come out of hiding.
I don’t have a phobia of rabbits, really. The Velveteen Rabbit, Peter Rabbit, Roger Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, Edward Tulane and Rabbit of the Hundred Acre Wood? Love them. But there’s something about the Plaza Bunnies that reeks of Stephen King.
When I asked Twitter and Facebook, a lot of people described them with the same word: creepy. Elizabeth Wells Neal of Kansas City even noted the “evil glowing eyes.”
But Emily Sandberg-Rocha insists the bunnies are innocent. She grew up around the Plaza and has tons of cute pictures with her cuddling the rabbits and the Woodland Creatures that accompany them. For the record, I am a fan of the elephant, the swan and that duck-like pelican. I just can’t get past the big, bad bunnies.
“Nothing but love,” Sandberg-Rocha says of the plaster of Paris parade. (You fans can find them all using the map atcountryclubplaza.com
Mary Morin of Raytown says the bunnies stir up happy feelings. She has a picture of her son with one when he was just 3. Now, he’s 42, and she’s thinking it might be time for another picture.
I get it, especially when people show me their pictures. Family memories and a little holiday fun. That’s what the bunnies are about.
Like Jeff Perry of Kansas City wrote on my Facebook wall: “Love them. The Plaza is pure kitsch, anyway.”
All right. Maybe I can learn to love the Plaza Bunnies as a good Kansas Citian should. But can’t they all just be Royals? Go team!