BUY THE BOOK
Use this PayPal button to buy Life Along the Apalachicola River directly from me for $15 + $4.99 shipping.
In terms of animal decisions, it may have been the worst case of bad timing since unicorns missed the Ark.
Picture an ordinary rabbit on his evening jaunt, munching on some greenery at the edge of a clearing and watching out for hawks and owls and such.
So far, so good, right?
Well, now let’s suppose this clearing is actually a trailer park on the outskirts of Tallahassee, Florida – and the greenery is my brother’s lawn.
If you’re in any suspense at all about how this story ends, then you didn’t know Bill back around 1977 or so.
At that time, he and his wife were newlyweds struggling to make ends meet. (Although Bill probably wouldn’t admit they were “struggling” then. I think he describes that period more as “scratching a broke ass with both hands.”)
Times were hard in general and this particular month they had to choose between gas and groceries. As a result, the dinner menu that evening included rice. Not rice and gravy. Not rice and beans. Not even rice and a rusty can of something at the bottom of the cabinet.
Just. Plain. White. Rice.
My sister-in-law, Onaleah, was prepping her two ingredients (rice and water), when Bill looked out the window and saw a much better dinner staring back at him.
Remember the rabbit? Right about then, he would have been much safer playing in rush hour traffic.
Now some of you may wonder: Was it hunting season? Was this during daylight hours? Were they outside the city limits? Was the trailer in an isolated section of the park?
Again, if you knew Bill, you’d know that the answer to all of the above is that he didn’t care, not even a little bit. At that moment, all that mattered was whether he could scrounge up a cartridge for his .22 rifle. And he did.
As my sister-in-law tells it, less than an hour passed between the pop of a rifle in her yard and a plate of bones by her sink.
Some people say that the rabbit must have come straight from heaven. If that’s the case, all I can say is that Bill sent him back before they ever knew he was gone.
* * *
As a postscript, I should probably point out that Bill is now retired from the Tallahassee Fire Department and lives on the water on Spring Creek (with the one and only Florida Mullet Hound.) These days he’s seldom hungry for more than a few minutes. But if I was a rabbit I probably still wouldn’t take any chances.