Mr. Ears hops into the room and plops in the director’s chair that sits directly across from me. He adjusts his blue-dotted yellow bowtie in a hand mirror held by his assistant. Then he flashes his two long front teeth, inspects them for tiny pieces of carrot. All clear. The chocolate Easter bunny is taller than I had expected. A solid nine inches.
Easter is approaching. It’s the busy season for Mr. Ears, whose days will soon feel both too short and, somehow, too long. Despite that, Ears has generously granted us his time for this exclusive interview. Let’s get to know the chocolate Easter bunny with the huge, silly ears a little bit better.
Thank you for sitting down with us.
I think the first thing our readers want to know is, how many bowties do you own?
(Laughs) Oh, my goodness. What? You can’t start with any softballs?
This is hard-hitting journalism.
Well, lemme think on it. Since I started working at the chocolate factory in the late ’70s — or maybe it was the early ’80s — I’m gonna guess I’ve acquired somewhere in the ballpark of 50.
Wow. You have a favorite one?
I do. It’s a real colorful number. Some might call it psychedelic, but I just think it’s groovy.
Far out. Who gets busier during their respective seasons, you or Santa Claus?
With all due respect to Sanny — my nickname for him — I’m gonna have to go with moi.
Really? He does have to contend with the snow, cold weather — at least in the Northern Hemisphere — and turbulence.
He’s got reindeer! Plus, he has elves that build all the toys. You see anybody else around here? I’m putting together baskets, filling them with chocolates, jelly beans, and plastic eggs with a coin inside. I weigh only 10 ounces, and I deliver over 6,000 pounds of milk chocolate every year. You should see my poor hocks the next day. Meanwhile, he’s sipping hot cocoa while his elves do all the work. Between you and me, Mrs. Claus is the real brains behind the operation.
I only say it because I know how much credit my wife deserves.
Mrs. Ears tends to shun the spotlight.
She prefers it that way. Not that she doesn’t have her opinions!
How did you two meet? Classic Hollywood “meet cute”?
Not exactly. We were introduced in 2013 by then head chocolatier Charlie.
Wait…your chocolatier was named Charlie? What, did he win a golden ticket or something?
(Laughs) He gets asked that probably 10 times a day. Anyway, he is the great fella who brought my wonderful wife into my life. I probably thank him 10 times a day. Then, a year later, we welcomed baby ears. Everyone calls him Nano.
Getting back to all that chocolate you deliver. What can you tell us about it?
Oh, it’s quite delicious. Comes from two places, both in California. Callebaut and Guittard, I can never keep track of which products have which chocolate. All I know is they’ve both been around for more than 100 years, so they must be doing something right.
What happens after Easter? How do you and Mrs. Ears unwind?
The islands, of course! Come the Monday after Easter, we drop junior off with his grandparents and me and the misses are in first class on our way to Bermuda!
Pack the sunscreen.
Totally. I melt easily.
Well, Ears, I think that’s about all the time we have…
Wait, you got time for a quick joke?
Sure! Let’s hear it.
What do you call a chili dog sitting on a rabbit?
Uh, I don’t know.
Oh no, I got it wrong. What do you call a cold dog sitting on a rabbit?
Chili dog on a bun.
I’ve told it better before.
Thanks again, Ears. Any last thoughts?
Keep on hoppin’!