A friend asked if my folks wanted a brace of rabbits. When you are the daughter of a daughter of a farmer and the daughter of a son of a fishermen, you are into it all.
I’ve seen a snare or two in my day. I’ve also helped pull the furry sweater off the flesh of a bunny. Of the age to be fascinated by the gruesome, my sisters and I were face and eyes into it. We loved holding down chickens while their heads were being chopped off by my dad – yes, they do run around afterwards. While I never personally got into the plucking of any dead bird’s feathers, from turr to turkey, I did enjoy seeing the family women all lined off along the landwash as they did that dirty-deed. Basically, we were good, hearty, rural NL youngsters.
But this bunny tale is a tad different. In this yarn my daughter, who was two at the time, decided to take a solo road trip. Somehow, while I was entertaining, she slipped out the side door after one of our dogs.
When we noticed one less kid, there was panic. About 30 steps from my front porch lay the community wharf. Knowing how kids think, you know where my brain went. We ran. There’s nothing worse than looking over a wharf scanning for blond curls among the scattered debris. I can’t say how long it was before someone came from the opposite direction carrying my daughter in her arms.
She was near the water when she was found, but that’s not where she had been. While at two her vocabulary wasn’t massive, she did manage to say “bunny wabbit’’ when we asked what she had been at. Dying of curiosity at all this ‘bunny’ business talk, I let her wander again, only this time I followed.
I was shocked to see how far she had gone alone, following our dog for most of the journey, no doubt.
The terrain was less than perfect for a sundress wearing, diaper-clad wee thing. We arrived at her destination: a saltbox nestled into what locals call School’s Hill. In the backyard, passed a gate she somehow managed to unlatch a fat, obviously well fed and very friendly bunny rabbit in a cage. Mystery solved!
After that, we popped in on Mr. Rabbit while out and about and brought him a few treats from time to time.
Moral of the story? I’ll borrow a line from one of my daughter’s favourite movies at the time, Finding Nemo. In one scene, the tormented sharks share their motto: ‘fish are friends, not food.’ I think Mr. Rabbit was sent as a sign of sorts to allow me to ponder my skinning, poking, plucking, jerk-the-line-quick errors of my past, perhaps primitive ways. Well, I thought it was at least food for thought, right? So? Did anything change? Well, I got Mom and Dad that brace of rabbits. Already skinned and all. Too bad. Oh well. Soup’s on!
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]