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The Best Easter Basket Ever

Godiva chocolates, red-velvet eggs and fancy jelly beans–who could ask for more?

By Roberta Messner, Huntington, West Virginia

As appeared in

Better to give than to receive. That’s what they say. My elderly friend Treavel gave to everyone. Despite her limited means, she found many ways to be generous. So this Easter I had a surprise for her. I drove over to her house on Good Friday with a giant Easter basket.

Looking at the towering treat there beside me in the passenger seat with its big bright bow and fancy netting, I thought of all the good Treavel had done, for me and our community.

Like the time she served me an eight-course meal she’d cooked herself. Or the gift drive for underprivileged kids she’d spearheaded at her church. Or the cupcakes she made for the local Ronald McDonald House.

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Just wait till she sees her Easter basket, I thought. I’d spared no expense! The bow was silk. The jelly beans were exotic. The chocolate was Godiva. A giant bunny presided over a coconut nest filled with red-velvet eggs.

In the center of it all was a strawberry-cream egg with Treavel’s name written on it in cursive. I had to be careful not to jostle it all when I carried it up to the house and rang the bell.

“Happy Easter, Treavel!” I exclaimed when she opened the door.

“Oh, my!” she said. I grinned proudly as she picked through all the treasures. “Look at this orchid grass–that’s my favorite color. I’ve never seen such an elaborate basket before–and I’ve never seen an egg with my name on it either!”

I drove home imagining Treavel enjoying her candy. Would she start with the designer jelly beans or Godiva chocolates? It was better to give than to receive!

The week after Easter I ran into someone who went to church with Treavel. I couldn’t stop myself from asking, “Do you know if she enjoyed her Easter basket?”

“She loved it so much,” the woman said, “she couldn’t wait to share. She brought it to church Easter morning and passed everything out to kids.”

First I was hurt. Then angry. I bit my lip so I wouldn’t say anything I’d regret, but those kids wouldn’t know the difference between Godiva and Hershey’s. What a waste.

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“On her budget there’s not a lot left over for extras like candy,” Treavel’s friend went on. “Your basket allowed her to play the Easter angel that day. Nothing could have made her happier.”

I knew how good it felt to give. That’s why I gave Treavel the basket to begin with. I liked that feeling so much I wanted to keep it all to myself, as if Treavel’s sharing my gift meant less good feelings for me. I wasn’t really giving if I was only thinking about my feelings.

Now I realized how silly I was being. I’d given Treavel the basket to make her happy, and nothing made Treavel happier than spreading joy. Only she could have found a way to make that Easter basket even more precious.

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