Tag Archives: rabbit

A Debt of Gratitude

Miss me? Don’t answer that. Instead, say a prayer or two for me. I could use them right now. But enough about me…

A few weeks back a friend of mine was going out of town for a week. He posed a request to me. 

“Could you pet sit for us?”

I didn’t even honestly know he had a pet.

He doesn’t.

His little girl has a bunny rabbit. My motto is, if it doesn’t jump into your lap showing the affection of a hyper caffeinated child, it ain’t a pet. Also, if the slightest noise can cause it to have a heart attack and die, you might want to consider a dog. 

But we had a bunny when I was a kid. OK, we had about ten bunnies over the years. After Mom accidentally cooked Thumper I would have thought we’d learned our lesson. More on that later. 

Lepus: Latin for messed up.

Maybe it was the way he asked. He seemed genuinely embarrassed. He’s a pretty manly guy – the kind who exudes confidence that he could take on anybody in a brawl he’s that well built. To observe  this jacked dude lower his head and almost whisper the question “Think you could, um, take care of my daughter’s rabbit while we’re gone?” was quite comical. If it were up to him and he had zero regard for his little girl’s blatant admiration of her old man I think he’d let the critter starve. 

But I have a little girl too. More to the point I have a friend and here he was asking me a favor. 

Of course I said yes. And I meant it. The fact that I’m only writing about it now indicates how it truly was nothing to me because I was just helping a friend and fellow dad. 

And Fluffy and I had some good times. For a week straight I’d drive over, let myself in, watch some Cinemax, toss some hay at the rabbit, drink their wine, and leave. After five days I realized they don’t have cable and don’t drink. Once we got that straightened out I stated going next door where I encountered an emmaciated bunny. Also Cinemax has some weird titles. Fluffy and I frolicked together in the yard. I read him a few bedtime stories. Wilt Chamberlain: My Story seems to be a favorite. Every night without fail as I was putting the book down Fluffy would roll his eyes and say “Eh, I’ve got better numbers” before crawling into my lap and saying “I love you Daddy! and drifting off to sleep in my arms. 

Tonight I stopped by my friend’s house for a few minutes. It’s nice to catch up. We live a few minutes apart but see each other very sporadically. As I was on my way out the door he handed me a paper bag. “Just a little thank you for taking care of the furry little guy.” How did my brother Paul enter into this?

It was a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, and a big one at that! It was totally unnecessary but I accepted with great delight. He then added the compliment that he could tell I’ve been working out. Before you get all “that’s weird” on me, know that this man has borne the brunt of my insane desire to get in as good shape as he is for years. That compliment was very much appreciated. 

So, children, learn this lesson. When a friend asks a favor always say yes. Who knows? There might just be gin in it. And if you’re lucky you might just have a good friend who knows you like gin (and who understands how insecure you are about your body compared to his). 


The First “L” in Dallas Stands for Lepus

Big D, Little A, Double L-A-S !!!

Last night, sitting on my patio in the first cool evening since we arrived in July, I heard a noise.  Being from New Jersey I instinctively leaped up and assumed the “back off” pose.  Actually it was more of an “Eeeeek, if you’re a woodland creature or reptile, please stay away.  My wallet’s inside.  I don’t want any trouble” pose.

Turns out it was a tiny bunny rabbit.  I was still skeptical.  Where I’m from rabbits don’t exist in the wild.  Although I’d hardly call my Bermuda-grassed back yard “the wild” I’m used to seeing rabbits in cages at pet stores.  Still it was kind of cute once I convinced myself it was not, in fact, a baby rat with long ears.  I attempted to sidestep said rabbit but he was frightened (skittish creatures, no?) and hopped away.

This morning I looked out the window of our kitchen while pouring my coffee before heading off to teach.  Wouldn’t you know there were five of them out there?  They were gathered ’round in a circle and it looked like they were playing a game or holding a seance.  I’ve seen stranger things.  I was surprised that Sylvia Brown wasn’t on hand to assist.

Back off, bunny!

When I told my students this story they laughed at me.  In short order they went on to “school” me in the wildlife native to North Texas.  It seems that rabbits are indeed a problem in Dallas.  My students didn’t see them as a problem so much as a part of life.  I consider rodents leaping with abandon on my property a problem.  Semantics.  Oh well.  The best of it, though, was their stories of the other critters they’ve encountered and their assurances that I, too, will one day encounter these beasts in my daily life.  “Just give it time, Mr. H.”, spoke one bright young man.

I am preparing to drift off to sleep thinking about the “armadillos, opossums, and snakes” I will no doubt meet tomorrow.  About that last one…  One particular student’s words are still haunting me.  “I was six years-old when I was almost attacked by a rattlesnake.”  What struck me at the time was the calm with which he spoke.  Granted he was “way out in the country” but as I drift off I will still be thinking about his dad clocking the rattler on the head with a rock.

Where have I moved?!