Friday, September 19, 2014

Black and White Bunny - Another Childhood Memory

Yet another childhood memory:

When I was a child of 5 or 6, my father gave me 2 rabbits as pets.  One was a fully white rabbit, the other was black and white.  One day, I put the black and white bunny into a small wagon that was attached to my tricycle and rode up and down the driveway for awhile.  For some reason, the bunny didn't jump out.  Once I stopped riding, I scooped up the bunny, who appeared to be sleeping, and went indoors.  Others in the household looked at the non-responsive bunny and told me, "That rabbit is dead; you had better give it to us to bury it". 

But I refused to let them take the bunny from me.  I didn't believe it was dead.  It might be sick, but it wasn't dead.  I was going to wait until Father came home.  He was a doctor; I was certain that he could cure the bunny. 

That evening, when Father came home, I showed him the bunny and confided in him, "They are saying it's dead, but I told them you will make it well, again."  Father took the bunny and told me that I had to stay in my room (which adjoined my parents' room) until he attended to the bunny and I wasn't to come in until he called me.  I was fine with that.

Some time later (I don't think it was more than an hour or so), I was called to come in.  I went into my parents' room and there was my black and white bunny, happily hopping around!  My faith in my father was justified!  He had cured my bunny!  I remember showing off the now very much alive bunny to the rest of the household and gloating!  What a good thing I kept the bunny for Father to make well, again!  I knew he could do it!

It was only after Father died that I found out what had really happened.  Members of the household were talking about Father, reminiscing about him.  I was a small child seated on the steps, not engaged in their conversation, but overhearing it.  My father's chauffeur recalled how, one day, he was instructed to drive down to the pet shop to buy a replacement black and white bunny, which was then smuggled into my parents' room (it would not have been difficult, as their room could be entered from outside).

Apparently Father didn't want me to know that the other bunny had died.  Maybe he didn't want to disillusion me that my faith in his healing powers was misplaced.  Perhaps he didn't want to disappoint me; that was a very high pedestal on which I had placed him!  Or, maybe he just wanted to shield me from the harsher realities of life.  I suppose he saw it as preserving my childhood.  Whatever his reasons, he went to quite a bit of trouble to make sure I kept my illusions.

 But when it was my turn being a parent, I didn't sugar-coat things for my daughter.  When Goldie the goldfish, daughter's first pet, which she won at a ring toss at a school carnival, was found floating belly up in its bowl, I didn't rush out to get her a replacement goldfish to hide the fact from her.  Then, again, she never expected me to revive Goldie. 

What would you have done, if your child presented you with a dead pet and asked you to revive it?

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