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Smell the Coffee: Passing the buck

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sometimes I get the feeling my Creator was inspired by Disney since I have far more than the average person's share of Bambi and Thumper moments.

Case in point: Last week, I went outside to collect my Gazette, and there in my front yard was Stew, our oversize yellow rabbit.

(A Disneyesque aside: Stew was supposed to be a dwarf rabbit, but the only thing small about her is her 14th chin. And she's working on that.)

So Stew was stretched out in the yard, lazily nibbling clover, when I disrupted her early-morning repose. The expression on her face was an easy-to-read, "Oh, crap. Busted." I saw her tensing to run.

Now, Stew has escaped a few times before, and the last thing I felt like doing was chasing an obese rabbit around the neighborhood at 6 in the morning. Granted, she's fat, but she's still far faster than me, so rather than race, I returned to the house and got a package of Pop-Tarts. The s'mores-flavored kind. Her favorite.

I returned to the yard, tore open the package and broke the Pop-Tart in half. I held up the half in one hand, then pointed to the backyard. Said, "Get back there and you can have this."

Without a moment's hesitation, Stew raced around the side of the house, squirted her girth under her freshly dug fence hole, and then turned immediately around on the other side. I tossed her the Pop-Tart.

Wishing like heck someone was around to witness what just happened.

I had ordered a rabbit and it followed my instructions.

But no such luck. I was alone.

Sort of.

When I turned around, there in front of me was our new little black rabbit, sitting right about where Stew had been just moments before.

(Rabbit-related aside: If you lost a friendly black bunny with one cloudy eye around the time of the big July storm, it now lives at my house.)

Apparently, the term "harebrained" means "fast learner," as this rabbit had observed the transaction that just took place and recognized that half a Tart remained. And she wanted it.

I slid the other half from the package and placed the remaining whole one, still in the foil sleeve, on the sidewalk. I held the bunny bait aloft, pointed toward the gate, and ordered New Rabbit the same way I had Stew. She followed my instructions just as obediently and claimed her reward.

I paused long enough to shove some nearby rocks into their hole and then started back around front to collect my Gazette. Now, this entire rabbit-commanding/fence-blocking business took maybe, at most, a minute or two. Even though much of my life is thoroughly out of control, I exude efficiency when it comes to commanding and imprisoning wildlife using nothing but breakfast foods with questionable nutritional value.

Anyway, my side gate is only about a dozen steps from my front porch, and as I rounded the corner, I'm surprised to find a deer -- a small, button buck -- standing on my sidewalk, finishing the remaining Pop-Tart. Apparently, he'd been lurking behind a nearby tree, waiting for me to step away from the Tart.

I suppose I should mention here that I don't live out in the country. I'm in South Charleston. Not the outskirts of town either, but just a short distance from Montrose. And here was a little buck so close I had to turn sideways to squeeze between him and my porch.

He followed me right up onto the porch and then stood there, peeking through the storm door, not in the least bit afraid.

So I did the only thing I could think of.

Got him a second Pop-Tart. And a banana.

We're getting together later for coffee.

I'm guessing he'll want Starbucks.

Reach Karin Fuller at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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