August 14 – I had a real surprise recently as I was reading on the porch. As I looked up to rest my eyes, I could see a bunny rabbit standing by the mock orange, looking straight at me, with his ears stuck up in the air as far as he could reach. He did not move one inch, but just checked me out to see if I had any plans that included him. About five minutes later, he was in the same position, ears raised. I was reminded of what had happened to me when I was a teen.As I remember, my dad had been plowing the land right next to us down the hill. Unfortunately, he had run into a bunny nest where two tiny ones escaped the plow and were still alive. Pa always loved animals and this latest problem touched his heart. Down from the tractor he climbed and hurried into the house to find me. He asked if I would like to keep and feed those two babies. He already knew that the answer would be, “Yes!”
For the next few weeks, I walked to the homes of all of our neighbors introducing them to the rabbits. Unfortunately one of them died, leaving me with Bunny to love and care for. When the chill began to settle down in about October, I had to ask Pa if it would be OK for me to keep Bunny inside so he wouldn’t freeze. Yes, I could, but I would have to clean up after him, get his food, and keep him inside the animal cage.
How we all enjoyed petting Bunny and feeding him. We always felt sorry for him because he was not allowed to leave his cage. Well, not early on, but by the time he had lived inside for a couple months, we were pretty sure that he would be happy with his little bit of world inside. When we couldn’t find him near, I would call, “Minni, minni, minni,” and he would come hopping to see what we wanted!
One place he really liked to hide in was in the back of our big old Philco radio. Nice and warm there. Then came Christmas, and we were not surprised when Bunny decided to climb up the Christmas tree! Lots of beautiful things up there, but I was really afraid he would smash something. Maybe he knew what would be the result of that, because he never knocked anything down.
Another year and it was time for me to go off to college in Massachusetts. Bunny would be missed, but would be treated well. Because I was so far away from home, we had only one time that we could go home during the school year, and that was at Christmas. I could hardly wait till I was back home to spend some happy days with the family — including Bunny as he soon made up with the one who had loved him for so long. But soon it was time to go back to college. Someone from home would write a note to me letting me know how Bunny was doing. Finally towards the end of the school year, I received a note that brought tears.
While Pa was checking the front door to make sure all was well, Bunny must have had the bright idea that he would like to be outside like other rabbits. Off he went, and I’m sure he preferred being out than in. Nobody ever heard from him again. Until that next summer…
One day I was walking down the hill to the creek when I saw a rabbit standing almost at attention! Hoping, but not expecting, I stopped in the path where a rabbit stood with ears up as he looked me over. What did I do? What would you expect! Bending over, I stood right by him. “Minni, minni, minni,” I said softly. Know what? Bunny hopped just a little closer to me, and took a last good look before he hopped away forever. – CHRIS