Sunday, April 01, 2018

Easter Parade at Home

I awoke to a cloudy, rather blahh Easter. Brightened my morning with short stories and poems from Colliers Harvest of Holidays. Since today is also April Fool's Day, I began with the cute short story for April Fools about two boys who find a giraffe in their backyard and have to keep him there until the zoo arrives. The Easter stories were Nino's Easter, about a little Italian boy's holiday celebration, and The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, the tale of a mother rabbit who gets to join the Easter bunnies and help bring an egg to a sick child. The Disney anthology Storybookland features Grandpa Bunny, a short story about how Great Grandpa Bunny worked to keep the seasons colorful...and how his beloved grandchildren know where his final legacy can be found.

Did The First Easter Rabbit while I got dressed and organized. The second Rankin-Bass Easter special and the only one in regular 2-D animation is basically a cross between Frosty the Snowman and The Velveteen Rabbit. Stuffy was once the beloved toy of little Glinda, until she got scarlet fever and he's thrown away. A sympathetic fairy turns him into the Easter Bunny, symbol of spring and favorite of children everywhere. What he really wants to do is get back to Glinda, but ice-loving Zero may make this very difficult.

Checked my phone and learned that the Legacy Diner was open for business today, so I rode up there for brunch. There was a short line when I pulled in, but being one person, it didn't take that long to seat me. I enjoyed a yummy "Normandy," two crepes filled with Bavarian creme and bananas and covered in whipped cream. It was amazing. Like eating a turned-in banana pudding pie. They were so busy, I ended up borrowing a menu from the table next to me. Since they helped me, I returned the favor by letting them have my rack of jelly for their toast.

When I got home, I put on The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town while starting Glazed Lemon Rolls (which are a yeast recipe).  The third and final Rankin-Bass springtime special this time takes us to Kidville, in the remote Big Rock Mountains. Sunny Bunny is hoping to expand their reach into gloomy Town over the mountain. He's first attacked by grouchy Gadzooks the bear, then by snobbish Lady Longtooth, who disapproves of anything that doesn't fall under her strict and dull laws. He finally wins over both by creating Easter traditions that will make Gadzooks more appreciative of himself and get around Lady Longtooth's harsh restrictions.

Put on another special while I cleaned up the bread mess. Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-citement introduces three all-new shorts with a springtime theme. Sylvester and Daffy pursue a golden egg in the first short. The second has Daffy trying to protect a chocolate rabbit factory from Speedy, who wants chocolate bunnies for the kids of his village. The third shows Daffy solo as he tries to find a better way to fly north for the summer.

Bugs offers to help the Easter Bunny deliver his "Technicolor hen fruit" in "Easter Yeggs." He instantly regrets his Good Samaritan impulses when he's attacked by the bratty son of a criminal, then Elmer decides he wants him in his stew pot.

I tried calling Rose as the cartoon was ending to see what she was doing. I called too late. She and her family were already out the door to meet Craig's parents for a fancier Easter brunch.

Cheered myself up with a walk to WaWa for an Easter treat. Springtime is becoming more and more evident here. The dogwoods are in bloom now, and sunny yellow daffodils brighten many gardens. I saw a few kids in Easter finery at a party at the VFW across the street from me, but most folks by that point were probably either watching movies at home or in the theater or out to their own brunches. Grabbed a perfectly sweet Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie at a mildly busy WaWa.

Took a leaf from them and ran a Peanuts special as I formed the rolls and got them in the oven. Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown, as she's the worst player on Chuck's notoriously loss-prone team. Peppermint Patty tries to trade for Snoopy at first, but later turns Marcie over to him for Lucy. Chuck quickly finds out that there are even worse players out there. Marcie's a sweetheart, but she's absolutely no good at baseball and only plays because her best friend does.

Did some writing for the next few hours. The little elf's light leads back to the others. Leia discovers that Han collapsed shortly after she took off, his head in terrible pain. Chirruit, the Force-loving monk, explains that an evil force is attacking Han's mind. He may sleep permanently if it isn't expelled. Luke, with his innocent healing powers, manages to get rid of it...just as he turns back into a human, to the shock of the Rogue One crew.

Broke to start dinner around 6. I decided to try a spring variation on the Bacon and Cheese Quiche in Julie's Cooking Studio. The bacon became turkey bacon (pork gives me indigestion, and regular bacon is expensive), the cheese was Parmesan and mozzarella (what I had on hand), replaced the sour cream with Greek yogurt, and added sliced mushrooms and asparagus with the bacon. Oh, wow. It may be the best pie I ever made. Savory and slightly sweet and just the right kind of tart, and it cooked beautifully. Turned the other pie crust into Cinnamon Roll-Ups, crunchy cinnamon buns made by sprinkling a pie crust with cinnamon and sugar and cutting it after it was rolled.

Finished out the Peanuts baseball set while I worked. Charlie Brown's All-Stars are about to give up when a local business offers to buy them uniforms...if they get rid of Snoopy and all the girls on the team. Chuck refuses, and while the kids are mad at him at first, they soften when they understand why he turned them down. It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown is pretty much the same story, only this time, the sponsor says they just have to win a game. With Chuck's team, that hardly seems possible. But help may come from an unexpected source - Leland, Frieda's little brother.

Moved on to a brief round with Wii Sports after dinner. Figured I didn't need boxing after my walk earlier, so I stuck to tennis and golf. I'm doing better at putting and Target Practice and can do fairly decent with just hitting balls in tennis (got a bronze medal in that), but I can't hit the targets in tennis to save my life. I just can't aim properly. Had more luck with a decent round of bowling.

Ran one last Peanuts special while I cleaned up from my game and after dinner. It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown shows the Peanuts' Easter preparations. Sally wants new spring shoes, while Peppermint Patty tries in vain to teach Marcie to color eggs and Snoopy looks for a new home for Woodstock. Don't bother with all the fuss, says Linus. The Easter Beagle will do all that. Sally's skeptical after the incident with the Great Pumpkin, to say the least. Lucy just wants to hide and find her own eggs.

Moved on to Easter Parade when I went online. This 1948 MGM musical takes us to New York in the 1910's, where dancer Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) finds himself choosing a new partner after his previous one, Nadine (Ann Miller) joins the Ziegfeld Follies. He plucks Hannah Brown (Judy Garland) out of the chorus of a bar show and tries to groom her to be another Nadine...until Nadine points out that she's not her. He then lets Hannah be her real, funny self, and they switch successfully from ballroom dancing to comedy. Hannah now finds herself in love with Don, even as his best friend Johnny (Peter Lawford) eyes her, and Nadine eyes Johnny. Matters finally get themselves settled, just in time for the famous parade described in the title song.

Fluffy MGM musical benefits from some terrific Irving Berlin numbers, including the charming "A Fella With an Umbrella" for Garland and Lawford and the hilarious "A Couple of Swells" for her and Astaire. If you love the cast or the MGM spectaculars of the 40's and 50's, this is one of the best and is recommended.

Finished out the night with Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies. The Easter Bunny is sick and can't deliver eggs, so Granny sets out to find a replacement among the Toons. Unlike the Daffy Duck special, this is pretty much just an excuse to showcase bits from some of the most popular shorts ever made at Termite Terrace, including the Oscar-winners "Knighty-Knight Bugs," "For Scent-imental Reasons," and "Birds Anonymous."

And I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and Passover, whether you spent it with your families or were on your own, too.

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