Sunday, April 16, 2006

My most cherished Easter memory

Once upon a time, on an Easter morning long, long ago, the cat drug in it's morning prey: a cute little bloody bunny. After presenting it with pride to the family, KitCat quickly lost interest in her catch and lazily munched on the much less visceral meal provided in her food dish. Finally free from the killer's jaws, Bloody Bunny made a futile escape attempt which amounted to little more than flopping slowly around the dining room. Obviously something needed to be done.

This was back in our farm days so such scenes weren't met with horror, but annoyance. On other farms, whoever happened to be wearing the sturdiest boots would matter-of-factly walk over and stomp on the wounded creature's head. But we weren't native farm folk and hadn't quite made it to that level of brutal efficiency, so the best we could muster was a half-hearted "Who's gonna shoot the fucker?" Even that was mostly for show so that the other farmers wouldn't point and laugh and call us hippie sissies. On this particular morning, we all looked to my dad to get the job done. As the oldest and biggest man in the house, this probably sounds like the logical choice. But given that we all knew my dad as well as we did, I don't know quite what we were thinking.

My father, bless his heart, WAS a hippie sissy. This was a man who, on countless hunting trips, would infuriate the other men by "accidentally" shooting his rifle into the air whenever something edible came within shooting range. This was a man who, at chicken slaughter time, would quietly vomit before placing another ill-fated chicken on the chopping block, while the rest of us giggled at the bouncing headless bodies. I was never there for the pig slaughters, but I imagine they didn't go well. And when it came time to kill the cows, Dad finally gave in and hired someone else to do it. Shooting a bunny - even one that obviously needed to be put out of its misery - wasn't going to be easy for him. But it had to be done. Every farm house comes equipped with a shotgun, and he resolutely went off to find ours.

I won't get into how long Dad stood in the back yard, staring at the bunny and trying to psyche himself up to shoot it. But when he finally did, even he couldn't help but giggle. The shotgun blast effectively liquefied the tiny bunny, and all that was left was the blood spattered on his jeans, an enormous divot in the ground, and a puff of soft bunny fur floating in the breeze. Dad walked back in the house, looked at us kids and said, "Good thing you already got your baskets, cuz I just shot the Easter Bunny."

To a legitimate farm girl, the story would be par for the course and hardly worth repeating. To a pseudo-farm girl, the irony of her hippie dad grabbing his shotgun and shooting a bunny on Easter... Well, it qualifies as one of the most disturbingly funny moments of her pseudo-farm life.

Happy Easter, everyone. May yours be just as memorable and filled with laughter as that one so many years ago, though maybe with a little less blood...

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