Linda e-mailed me to remind me of this other bunny tale I hadn’t told. Thank you, Linda. (She has kept an on-line journal FOREVER, so she probably just did a search on “bunny” and came up with every one of the bunny stories I’ve ever told her. Now, THAT is organization!)
So, here’s the story.
When our children were very little, we lived in an old house in a small town. Our block was somewhat unusual because a hundred years before, a working canal had gone through there, and a slight indention was still evident where the canal had been. So, there was something like a sunken park in the middle of our block that all our back yards backed up to. It was all grass (mowed by a retired neighbor) with a few trees at our end and it had gradually filled in over the years, so the sides sloped gently only about four feet — a perfect playground for all the kids.
We were blessed in that neighborhood with lots of little kids about the same age who all played together well. But, Mark, the little boy who lived down on the corner, while he did play well with the others, was unique in a couple ways. First of all, he was a little bit older, but also he was a foster child who lived alone with his foster parents (who may have been his grandparents — I was never sure). They seemed to be a very nice older couple, but I don’t think they spent much time with Mark. Another thing unique about Mark was that he was a very serious little boy with a very low, kind of deadpan voice. So, it was cute on several levels that he would come and knock on our door and when I would go to the door, he would say in his deep voice coming out of a little boy, “Can the Cop come out and play?” That was Hubby. And sometimes Hubby would go out and play catch with Mark, or push him in the swing — just spend some time with him.
One Saturday morning the neighborhood kids were playing on the swing set in our back yard. But, Hubby came inside and told me that there was a problem. He pointed out the window and I could see the kids all clustered around, looking at a tiny baby rabbit. I immediately noticed that the bunny was just sitting there, not trying to hop away. Hubby said that was the problem. The dog, which he had put in the kennel as soon as he saw what was happening, had gotten hold of the bunny and apparently had broken its back, because it couldn’t move.
Hubby (thank you God, for a husband who could/would take care of things like this), said he was going to have to kill the bunny, but, of course, didn’t want the kids to see. So, his plan was for me to bring a treat out on the back porch and corral the kids there while he took the bunny out in the canal and killed and buried it. Our garage was detached and sat a little behind the house, blocking the view of some of the canal.
So, I did as he asked. And, while I was talking to the kids and they were eating their treat, Hubby took a shovel out into the yard and scooped up the bunny. When the kids wanted to know where he was going with the bunny, he told them he was going to let it go in the canal.
Okay, we had a plan. We were going to spare the children from one of the harsh realities of life. We thought.
When Hubby returned to the porch a few minutes later with an empty shovel, one of the kids said, “Did the bunny hop away?” Hubby said, “No, the bunny died. So, I buried it.”
Then Mark in his serious, low voice said, “Did it die before or after you hit it with the shovel?” Apparently I wasn’t doing as good a job distracting him as I was the smaller kids.
Hubby just said, “It was hurt when I took it out there and it died.” Then I offered more snacks and changed the subject.
Bless his heart, Mark didn’t ask any more questions, and I don’t think the other kids caught on.
Sometimes even a well-intentioned plan just doesn’t work out as planned.
I hadn’t thought about Mark in a long time and when I re-read this story I suddenly had tears in my eyes. I wonder where he is now?
Dear Heavenly Father, whereever Mark is, I pray for his good health and happiness, and may He know you and Your love. Amen