Today is Clare’s birthday.
Although she will always be the baby of our family it is becoming increasingly clear that she is growing into a beautiful young woman. Happy birthday, little sister!
Birthday Bunny– by Clare
Today being my birthday, I figured I would share one of my most prominent birthday memories.
On my 4th birthday, I received what I consider out of all the birthday presents I’ve ever gotten, to be the best one.
My birthday was usually on the same date as The Swap, an event our family had been going to for a few years, where people mainly from around central Wisconsin brought various kinds of animals to trade or sell. Because I was only 4, I was considered “too young” to go, and was left at home with my mom. But all my unhappiness faded when my dad and older siblings returned, and I found that, to my delight, my brother Raphael had bought me a gray bunny for my birthday. I named the rabbit Hoppy Gray, a step up from Warm Belly, the name I had wanted to give Mary’s pony. I’m still teased about the Warm Belly name, but hey, I was only 4 and that pony did have a warm belly.
Hoppy Gray first lived in a cage outside, and then when the colder weather set in, was moved to the woodbox inside our house, where he was soon joined by Bella, Mary’s goat. Bella and Hoppy Gray got along quite well, and I always liked to consider them as best friends. There are lots of great memories surrounding that gray rabbit, and he was part of the whole family’s life. Mostly because they all had to deal with his droppings on the floor and having to watch where they stepped so as not to step on him. I’m not very responsible when it comes to taking care of animals, and I was just a little kid, so I never really had to care for him, but this did not keep me from making sure everyone knew that he was mine, and so I got to hold him the most, and he had to love me best. So of course I was very unhappy when my cousins would come over, take him out of his cage, and either try to squeeze him to death, or chase him around our downstairs. I remember crying as about 7 of my screaming cousins herded him into a tiny space behind our sink.
Sadly, after a year or so, Hoppy Gray escaped from the cage we had left him in outside. After that, I did see him once or twice , hopping around in our fields, and I still think of him whenever I see a gray rabbit, and wonder whatever happened to him after he ventured out into the great outdoors.
Kate’s note: After reading this I rummaged around in my old journal and found an entry about Hoppy Grey. I thought I would share the entry as well.
April 8th, 2001
Colleen has lost her voice and brought a kitten to bed. We have had Mary’s baby goat, Bella, living in the house for a month and a half. Bella finally moved out the day that Dad and the kids came back from the swap meet with a rabbit, a pigeon, another goat, 4 muscovie ducks, and a mallard. Four of the ducks flew away and were lost forever immediately upon arrival. The pigeon temporarily lived inside until Mom discovered the catastrophic mess under the makeshift birdcage consisting of chicken crates stacked upon each other. The rabbit- Hoppy Grey, name courtesy of Clare- has been given the goat’s former crate in a corner of the living room. Now we have a kitten. It is a general menagerie.