When I woke up as
usual this morning, just before 5, the first thought that hit
my head was that today was the one-week anniversary of THE TERROR.
It was a crushing thought, one that has weighed all of us down
all the time. So I made up my mind to try my best today to move
ahead, to get on with normal life, to think of better things.
It is what we all must do. Fortunately, my neighbor was back
in town and would be joining me on my Tuesday walk. That would
help. We hit the streets at exactly 6 a.m.
After catching up
on his doings over the past two weeks, I said I had spent a
good part of my own time laughing at the memory of an episode
that had happened to him, my mother, my wife and me, just before
he left on his trip.
This tale unfolded
two weekends ago, when Linda and I went to Las Vegas, Nevada.
We were leaving on Sunday, because I had been invited to play
in a craps tournament the following Monday and Tuesday at the
Flamingo Hotel. But things got complicated.
To give you a clear
picture of what happened that weekend, I have to give you a
little background on my daughter. Kayleen is 25 years old and
lives in Albuquerque. She has a college degree in exercise science
and works as a trainer in a health spa. She is also going to
beauty school to become a hair stylist. In the future she hopes
to combine both professions, in her own spa.
My daughter is neither
married nor has children, but I guess her nurturing nature,
for lack of a better term, caused her to purchase a small lop-eared
rabbit. Well, when Bonita the rabbit appeared on the scene,
my wife immediately started acting like a grandmother. I think
the reason is that most of Lindas friends actually are
grandparents, and she is jealous.
Anyway, that weekend
my daughter was taking a trip to Colorado with her cousins,
and would not return until Monday evening. Because there was
no one in Albuquerque to take care of Bonita, Kayleen asked
her mother to do the honors. Well, what more could a grandmother
want? Linda immediately canceled dinner engagements for both
Friday and Saturday.
On Friday my daughter
showed up with Bonita and all the necessary paraphernalia: cage,
water dish, hay and hay dish, sliced carrots and sliced-carrot
dish, dried peas and dry-peas dish, toy ball, and a plastic
box with wood chips, on which Bonita was to do her duty. Plus
a blanket to put all these things upon.
The moment my wife
found out she was going to be responsible for Bonita, she started
worrying about how to arrange for the rabbits care on
the Sunday we were leaving for Las Vegas. She finally decided
to ask my mother and my walking-partner neighbor to share the
job, until Kayleen got back on Monday. Why two people? Although
Linda thinks the world of both of them, she wasn't sure either
one of them could shoulder the burden alone.
In addition to all
the paraphernalia, Kayleen left a set of instructions the size
of a dictionary. After trying to read them in one evening, with
one eye always on Bonita, who was loose upon the blanket, as
per Kayleens rules, I felt exhaustion setting in. But
Linda, a natural-born caregiver like her daughter, had her chin
on her palms on the floor, close to the rabbit. For fear that
Bonita would escape, my wife was not even blinking. And that
wasnt the easiest thing to do. Linda wears contact lenses.
By 10:30 p.m., I
was ready for bed. The rabbit had not gotten back into its cage,
but I was not too worried. I had noticed that the minute it
left the blanket for the kitchen floor it scurried back at once,
because it could not get traction on the slick tiles. I left
for the bedroom with the rabbit having hardly moved, and my
wife also almost motionless. Linda awoke the next morning with
bloodshot eyes, and headed back at once to the kitchen to check
on Bonita. I did not ask her what time she had finally gone
All day Saturday,
we kept a close watch on the almost motionless rabbit on her
blanket. Growing accustomed to her job, Linda went to bed early,
shortly after 10 p.m. But on Sunday her stress started to build
again, as we approached the time of departure. My mother showed
up an hour early for any last-minute instructions that my wife
might have. My mother was starting to take on the stress too,
and I suggested that maybe she should try a vodka tonic to common
her nerves. She said it was a little early for that.
Just before we left
for the airport, the neighbor showed up to get his instructions.
With a glazed look in his eyes he staggered home a little while
later, with far more rabbit information than he would ever need.
When we arrived in Las Vegas, the first thing Linda did was
call home to see how Bonita was doing. Several minutes passed
before my mother could break her rigid posture of rabbit-sitting
and answer the phone. After an extended conversation, she and
Linda determined that Bonita was doing all right.
When we got back
from Las Vegas, Kayleen had returned from her trip and taken
Bonita home. Linda called at once to see if the rabbit was OK,
and was assured that it had come through the ordeal just fine.
But Im not sure the same thing could be said of my mother.
Our call to her got only a terse recorded message she was not
be available until farther notice! Even my neighbor was affected
by the Great Rabbit Caper. To make sure he did his part, he
had postponed his trip for a day.
It was good to laugh
about Bonita the rabbit with him today, one week after the Terror.
Have a good day yourself.