Wind Me Up

I stopped cold at a box of wind-up bunnies as I walked through the Hallmark store last night. I couldn’t resist. I wound one up, and watched it hop around in circles. I bought three, wrestling with the urge to immediately walk over my brother’s place and give ’em to Ethan.

Many years ago, my grandmother gave Chris and me a bunny for Easter. It fit in my palm, and I was only seven years old. I was smitten. We named him Tibbles (so named after the loveable street urchin, Mr. Tibbles, in the children’s book, “Scruffy”), and built him a hutch from chicken wire and 2x4s. He lived in the back yard behind the swing set, right next to the rhubarb patch.

I loved animals as a kid, especially little, fuzzy ones. My room was littered with stuffed animals, in stark contrast to my brother and his baseball gloves, model airplanes and race cars.

I awoke one morning that summer to my parents standing over my bed. My father said, “Tibbles passed in his sleep. Sorry, buddy.” And I cried, and cried, and cried.

Later that day, recalling the flashing yellow lights and steady hiss of a municipal mosquito control vehical, I drafted a letter to city hall — the mayor, to be exact. I accused the Village of Oak Park, Illinois, of murdering my beloved Tibbles with their reckless spraying of pesticide.

A few months later, I received a letter from the mayor with his condolences, and his not guilty plea.

At some point, even Ethan’s wind-up bunny may pass (more than likely, sooner than later). So maybe I can spare him that childhood loss. Probably not. But imagine his wide eyes when I hand him a box full of jumping bunnies, just small enough to fit in his palm. I can’t wait.

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