Being a pastor I probably should have some sacred symbols for Easter Sunday and the season of Easter. Symbols like . . . an empty cross . . . lilies . . . Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus . . . white stoles and paraments . . . a butterfly . . . or maybe even the flowers of the Dogwood tree—all good and sound symbols of that most important day of faith, but the one I cherish the most. No, despite my religious leanings, none of those symbols mean Easter to me as much as my Peeps.
Everyone should know about Peeps . . . small marshmallow candy covered in colored sugar and shaped like little chickadees . . . typically making their appearance around Easter as they migrate to countless baskets marking the arrival of Jesus’ main competition—the Easter bunny. Surely everyone has had the opportunity to experience the culinary (stretching the truth here) delight of Peeps. It is the cornerstone of my Easter celebration . . . and, this year more than ever, it is a milestone as Peeps celebrate their 60th anniversary.
It was in 1953 that a Russian immigrant named Sam Born began creating Peeps at his candy factory in Bethlehem (how’s that for biblical symbolism), Pennsylvania called Just Born. Actually, Born did not create Peeps—he bought out the Rodda Candy Company and its marshmallow chick line, and replaced the painstaking process of hand-forming the chick with mass production. Since then there have been billions of Peeps born and eaten throughout the world. In fact, 5.5 million Peeps are born each day!
Since I was a child, Peeps have always been a part of my observance of Easter. They have graced my Easter basket since I was old enough to gnaw on my first Peep . . . and, it hasn’t stopped since. Each year I have ripped into my Easter basket looking for those Peeps . . . not the bunny shaped ones, but the chick-shaped ones . . . not the bring green or orange or pink or whatever color of the rainbow they are using to make the Peeps, but the yellow ones . . . after all, I am a traditionalist. Only yellow Peeps for me . . . it was on the tablets Moses left up on Mount Sinai . . . “thou shall only consume the yellow Peeps and keep all yellow Peeps sacred!” Easter begins with the yellow Peep!
It just isn’t Easter without the Peeps . . . ask my daughter . . . my adult daughter. She will tell you. She will tell you because she is a chip off the ol’ Peep . . . I have raised her well. Like her father, she believes in the power and sacredness of the Peep . . . and, like her father, they had better be yellow Peeps. It does not matter what her Easter basket was filled with . . . the finest chocolates . . . a ten pound solid Easter bunny with ears . . . malted milk balls . . . Jelly Belly jelly beans . . . she ripped through the basket until she found the lost—the yellow Peeps! Rumor has it that she has already begun inducting the granddaughter—even at seven months old—into the faith of the yellow Peep of Easter. It doesn’t hurt that there is probably a pound of sugar in a Peep, and what baby doesn’t like a little sugar!
Actually, Peeps are made from marshmallow (sugar), corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax. I imagine that most of that stuff is not good for human consumption, but . . . oh, well! They sure taste good . . . not the fresh squishy ones right out of the package, but the ones that have been ripped from the package and left out to grow stale and hard like beef jerky . . . those are the ones that I like. Peeps are indestructible.
Really, they are. Apparently scientists and countless children have tried to destroy Peeps for generations . . . and, guess what . . . the Peeps are still here. They have attempted to dissolve them in every known liquid . . . to no avail. They have tried to burn them . . . smoldering, but still here. Nothing gets rid of a Peep . . . indestructible . . . they can never die. How much more of an Easter message do you want?
There is only one Peep for a Peep traditionalist . . . that is the Easter Peep, original yellow color. All the rest are cultist off-shoots . . . fly-by-night wannabes . . . heretical off-casts that pollute the true meaning of Peeps at Easter. The sacred Easter Peep should be revered and given its rightful place in the observance of Easter. Didn’t Jesus come out of the tomb, look at Mary, and ask, “Where are my peeps?”
Blessed are those who have the Peeps . . . for they shall never be hungry . . . they shall never be bored . . . they shall never . . . well, you get the picture. Peeps are a symbol of Easter . . . they never die . . . they are always with us . . . and, they make us feel good. May you be blessed with Peeps—yellow chickadee Peeps—this holy season of Easter. Let us celebrate the Peep: