by Ron Powers
Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author who lives in Castleton, Vermont. His latest book, “Nobody Cares About Crazy People” about the dire state of mental health care in America and the loss of his talented guitar-playing son to the disease comes out in November. Here is his column:
Last weekend’s reportage from the battlefields of Wilson Castle in Vermont and the Pez Visitors Center in Orange, Connecticut, where the parking lots apparently ran yellow with the spilled fondant fillings of Cadbury Crème Easter Eggs and the silver tears of traumatized children, made headlines across the Internet (formerly the Nation).
At each site, as the world now knows, plans for a peaceful Easter-Egg hunt for the kiddies were violently disrupted when adulthood broke out in the lines of people waiting for the hunt to begin. Before defensive perimeters could be secured at Wilson Castle, factions of radicalized Moms ‘n’ Dads broke the lines, crawled under the restraining ropes, and waddled across the fields, scooping up vast unprotected stores of the enemy’s (i.e., the organizers’) valuable supplies. These consisted mainly of chocolate bunnies; but unconfirmed lurid rumors spread that some parents, driven mad by the scent of calories, also snatched up such dietary essentials as hard-boiled eggs festively dipped in Rit Dye, jelly beans, Cadbury eggs, and the coveted little wads of marshmallow covered with boiled sugar, dyed in luminescent colors and molded into bunny-wunnies and chickie-lickies.
Wilson Castle, the elegant century-and-a-half-old Dutch neo-renaissance estate, or whatever kind of estate, near Proctor, gained historic distinction in the course of hostilities there: it is believed to be the first Easter-Egg-hunt battle site to witness the deployment of the dreaded weapon pepper spray. Two detachments of Vermont law enforcement galloped into the fray, and a sharpshooter among them hauled out his can and nailed a Newbury man who argued with them before hightailing it across a meadow.
Adding to the devastation of combat, a bounce-house with children inside deflated, causing one horrified woman to go “omg,” and later confess on Facebook that she was “feeling annoyed.” Another survivor recounted how she had to stand in the mud.
In Connecticut, The Battle of the PEZ Visitors Center, as a commemorative marker of marshmallow and nougat already describes it, was equally horrific. A blitzkrieg of a thousand hunt-hardened Moms ‘n’ Dads, some emitting the terror-inducing shriek, “GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! MINE! MIND! MINE!” stormed the field and liberated most of the nine thousand candy eggs scattered there. Some combatants wrenched candy-baskets from childrens’ hands, inspiring one dazed participant to invoke the language of the Scripture: “It was like a friggin riot.” Another happily predicted that within a few years, Brown Gooey Saturday, as it already is coming to be known, will attain the stature, significance and holy reverence that is currently the province of Black Friday.