Saturday, April 3, 2010


Today is Easter Sunday, a day to celebrate rebirth, resurrection, and new life. For Christians, it is a time of rememberance, a time to celebrate the Son of God resurrected; for the less religious and for children, it is a time of Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, and new spring clothes. I remember celebrating Easter as a girl in the 1950s, back when that spring holiday meant new Easter "bonnets", white gloves, white patent leather shoes with a matching purse and a new pastel colored dress to wear on to church on Sundays. (The dress was worn over a stiff petticoat which made it stick out like a ballerina's tutu.)

No one knows exactly when or where the Easter Bunny legend began, but their are some logical suggestions. From several websites chosen from an internet search, it appears that the Bunny (or E.B.) was the logical symbolic choice for spring festivals that celebrated fertility in an era that predated Christianity; the furry little bunny rabbit is one of the most fertile creatures on earth. During the Dust Bowl years in the 1930s, when the soil of the Texas panhandle and adjacent states literally blew away, the dirt so sterile that it would not even support the growth of a single blade of grass, for some reason the rabbit population multiplied like crazy. I will spare my readers the gory details, but the cute, continuously reproducing little bunny rabbit did not exactly endear itself to the western farmers of that time and place.

My brother has a pet rabbit, a house rabbit, a mini-bunny, which he and his wife affectionately call Bun-Bun. Bun-Bun is quiet as a mouse and has very soft fur and big brown eyes. He hops around the living room waiting to be petted. He is quite cute, kind of like a small dog that doesn't bark.

I have different bunnies in my house. These are bunnies that I come after with a vengeance, similar to that of the Dust Bowl farmers in the 1930s. My bunnies are not cute with big brown eyes, just waiting to be petted. My bunnies hide under the bed, just waiting to attack me. My bunnies are Dust Bunnies and they are to be eliminated as quickly as possible with swift strokes of the dust mop.

You see, I have allergic asthma, and one of the main things I am allergic to is dust mites, little microscopic critters that live in carpets and mattresses and bedding. Dust mites live on the dead skin cells shed by humans and animals. Dust is really a disgusting combination of all kinds of gross things, including....dust mite feces. The dust mite feces contain a protein to which some people are allergic, and I happen to be one of them.

Although my step-mom tried really hard to instill a certain level of cleanliness in her children, I am sure my siblings and I do not always meet her expectations. I have never really cared much about keeping my house dust free. Actually, dust is not a problem as long as it is not disturbed and distributed into the air. But everytime you walk on a carpet, or sit on an upholstered sofa upon which any airborne dust has landed, you spew dust mite feces into the air we all breathe. And, for some of us air breathers, that's a problem.

I now have hardwood floors with no carpeting. I consciensciouly mop the floors each week with a damp mop so that no dust takes flight. I have taken down the drapes. I try to keep the cat out of my bedroom, albeit with limited success. I am on a mission, to wean myself from my seasonal asthma medication, as soon as it is medically advisable and I am not coughing my lungs out every day.

Once I became conscious of the cause of my medical issue, I began to see specks of dust everywhere - on the hardwood floor in the hallway, on the glass top of my clothes bureau, on my shiny new laptop. Our long haired cat is nature's own dust mop, dust bunnies clinging to her underbelly of sweeping hair, dragging them from one room to the other.

So now, I dust. Often. The floors, the top of my bureau, my nightstand, any place that specks of dust might land on. I vacuum the permanent carpeting on the staircase with a vengeance, using the highest suction power that our modern, upright, dust mite-filtering vacuum cleaning marvel can muster.

I have become a Dust Buster.

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