No, this isn’t about that WWII prisoner-of-war movie starring Cooler King Steve McQueen and Scrounger James Garner, although I do own that DVD and enjoy watching it periodically. This is about a different escape and rescue that occurred at our home the weekend after Easter.
My wife Delores had visited local flower and garden shops and purchased several lovely examples of flora for our front “flower gardens.” These aesthetically outline the driveway, sidewalk, and front porch. As she was digging in some of the previously-positioned thick grassy plants to the right of the porch, she “struck” (figuratively not literally, we think) an amazing discovery. No, it wasn’t oil or gold…foo-foo. It was bunnies! Three little furry baby bunnies!
The first giveaway was the barely-audible whimper-like squeal she heard as her shovel’s blade probably grazed or at least horrified one or more of the critters all warm and snug in the nest their now absent mother had dug for them some days before. At an unspoken signal all three dashed from their home scampering furiously in different directions. Delores saw one cross the road to the neighbors’ yard and one seemed to head around the house for the creek at the back of our property. The third young rabbit…well, we didn’t realize until that night to whence it fled.
Looking back on the gardener’s dislodging of the triplets with the shovel blade, I am reminded of a scene from one of my favorite Fifties Sci-Fi classic films Them. FBI agent James Arness and policeman James Whitmore, accompanied by other military and local law-enforcement officers, were investigating the disappearance of two young boys in an early morning freak incident in the “rivers” and storm drains of Los Angeles. Apparently they were flying a model airplane with their dad early on a Sunday morning before he had to go to work. They were attacked by giant mutant ants. The man had his arm ripped off but fled the scene in his car driving several miles before dying of blood loss and trauma. The boys ran into the large opening of the sewer drains from which the ants had attacked. The rest is for you to watch later, because this is about the rescue of a bunny from a shovel not two boys from giant ants.
To those baby bunnies dozing all snug and warm in their nest, I imagine my wife’s shovel blade resembled the attack of some horrific monster. The third sibling escaped the ominous creature stabbing down repeatedly and menacingly within a hare’s breadth (pardon the pun) of its head by dashing unnoticed into the cavernous and welcoming opening of the garage (aka sewer drain in the Them analogy). Upon our return home from a shopping trip to Nashville hours later, we spied the small furball – at first mistaking it for a mouse or rat which we have never seen on our property. With five college degrees between us, we quickly realized what it was and the conditions under which it had hidden therein. With both cars parked in that garage and the bunny among the recycling stuff against the wall at the front, there wasn’t much room for humans to maneuver and certainly not much access to line-of-sight as the critter moved. After that initial encounter, we didn’t know if it had scampered underneath one of the cars or left the garage cave entirely. Several minutes of fruitless searching by two tired homo-sapiens at 10:30 p.m. after a long day (Delores had planted a lot of garden and I had weedeated and mowed the yard) was all it took to convince us that the bunny had escaped the confines. We retired.
Monday morning my wife left for work a couple of hours before I did. As I was heading to my car in the mid-morning, I happened to glance down and saw the bunny cowering precisely where it had been at its first appearance Saturday night. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to catch it moving everything and making a mess (when I turned over a large white storage cabinet and some of the paint cans leaked onto the cabinet walls and the cement floor), but I didn’t see it again. My natural hopeful thought was that it might’ve left the garage once and for all. I wasn’t really convinced of that and later voice-texted my wife (no I don’t text while driving except occasionally by voice) via an overly “intelligent” phone phantom named Siri. I stated that I had discovered the bunny and, though it had eluded my attempt to corner or catch, it was probably still in the garage.
Upon returning home I left my car parked outside and started moving everything…again. It wasn’t there…but the one place I couldn’t see well was under the freezer. A tell-tale hint was the amount of poop that I noticed immediately when I moved the freezer slightly.
When Delores arrived home, I lifted the freezer a few inches while she, bunny-like on all fours perused the dark beneath. There it was “frozen” in the shadows of its chosen hare-lair, sitting on a narrow metallic ledge underneath the right side of that appliance. It had found a much cozier cave inside the larger one. In Them the boys found a corner of an under-construction portion of a sewer drain where they huddled waiting for James Whitmore, complete with flame thrower, to effect their rescue. He died in the attempt; we didn’t…
Our bunny needed a threatening but non-injurious prodding nudge from a broomstick to dislodge it from its hiding place. It instantly darted to the front corner of the garage striking the wall and doing a very acrobatic flip, tried to retreat back to the front, broom barring its way; it scampered out the garage, through the front yard, across the street and thru the neighbor’s yard toward the overgrowth behind their house along the railroad track (please pardon the previous run-on sentence). After watching its flight for freedom, we cleaned up the bunny poop and the spilled paint and returned to our normal lives with little more than a memory with a happy ending.
Moral? Not really. Just a simple narrative about a cute, helpless creature’s escape and rescue from some menacing giants. A lesson for all creatures might be “never run into a cave unless you are acquainted with the owners personally or know who or what might be lurking within.”
We hope our baby bunny was quickly reunited with its mother and siblings. Maybe it will return to our yard one day; perchance the three of us can sit on the grass or the front porch and relive the story of the bunny’s plight from our memory banks. Or…if it will allow a more personal interaction, we could enter our abode and watch Them get exterminated on the television up in the bonus room. Surely an older and wiser rabbit would enjoy that…I wonder if bunnies eat popcorn?