Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vi Chronicles: I Found This Bunny For You

Vi lived in the moment, and in all those moments she lived, her goal was to have a good time as often as possible.  On Fridays, this generally involved an evening at the local Amvets, feeding quarters into the slot machines and sipping sombreros made of Allen's Coffee Brandy and milk.  When the bar closed, whichever family member had delivered her to the Amvets would drive Vi home.  On the way, she would keep her eyes peeled for stray animals.  If she found one she would bring it home and give it to me.

Thankfully, after an oil burner tank's worth of Allen's Coffee Brandy and milk, it wasn't all that easy to spot stray animals on the side of the road in the middle of the night.  Still, twice, she succeeded.

The first time, she gave me a baby bunny.  It was adorable.  I must have been around 8-years-old. When I recount my childhood, age is often determined by which house my mother lived in at the time.  This house was not the one by the lake.  It was the ranch, surrounded by woods, on a lonely stretch of road.  They must not have lived there long because I couldn't drive you there if I wanted to, but it is the house where a lot of my Vi memories took place.  Maybe it was a particularly good year for remembering things, or maybe it's just that a lot of memorable things happened there.  I don't remember.  At any rate, a bunny was a delightful gift to receive in the wee hours of the morning.  Vi didn't believe in waiting 'til the sun came up.  Surprises were best delivered, warm and cuddly, with much hilarity, in the middle of the night.

The bunny slept in a box next to my bed for the rest of that night.  The next day, my Step Dad, Tony, built a hutch  in the backyard where the bunny lived happily ever after, until the great bunny massacre, which happened a couple days later.  I wasn't there at the time-I only lived with my mom on weekends-but when I came back the next weekend the bunny was history.  My family didn't sugar coat things.  There was no farm with other baby bunnies in an idyllic bunny environment, nothing like that, just the stark reality of the situation, which was that some fucking raccoon ate my rabbit.

The second time Vi found a wild animal after a night at the bars and brought it home at 2 am, I was 20.  The house was in Portland and my college roommate, Jeannie, and I were living with Vi and Tony for the summer, spending our days at the beach, hitting the clubs at night, and waiting impatiently on Sunday mornings for Tony's mom to deliver her regular spaghetti and meatballs special.  It had been a splendid summer and a wild animal arriving at two a.m. only made it better.  This time, the animal was a baby skunk whose mother had been run over.

I know it doesn't seem like a good gift, but baby skunks are adorable.  They haven't developed their sprayers yet, so they are a lot like kittens.  We kept our skunk in the bathtub and named him Pepe.

It wasn't long before we realized that we were not well equipped for skunk care. We set about finding a new home for Pepe, and when I say "we", I mean Jeannie and me, as Vi had already forgotten we had a pet skunk.  Eventually, we found a nice farm in the country that adopted wildlife found on the roadside and we sent Pepe there to play in green pastures with other orphaned animals.

At least that's the story I tell myself.

Chicken out

See?  Like a cute little kitten



24 comments:

  1. I had an encounter with a family of skunks once when they were trying to live under my house. The adults more than made up for the babies inability to spray.

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  2. It's surprising what adults can consider appropriate behavior when they are parents ...

    I once saw a tiny skunk at the vet's office - it had been de-scented and was going back to its people. It was small enough to fit in the vet's average size hand with room to spare, and you're right, it was adorable. The ones that waddle around our yard digging up the lawn for grubs are not nearly as cute.

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    1. Hi Jenny_O...her judgement was sometimes impaired, but I was loved and I knew it. She was a very good person with some demons. *shrugs*:-) I'm with you on the big stinkers. My dog and I surprised one after our walk one night. It really is hard to get that smell out.

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    2. I'm sorry I rushed to judgement. I should know better; I knew a good lady who had her demons too. I'm glad to know you saw all the good and felt loved.

      Eeek ... did you both get sprayed?

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    3. Don't apologize-you were quite right, after all:-) I was but just a little bit. Poor old Sam got the worst of it. Then again, Sam didn't have to go to work the next day, so it was all for the best.

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  3. A very enjoyable read, CC. Well, not the rabbit slaughter part. That was sad. Alas, I have my own experience in that area. Country living has its cruel side. But it sounds like Vi gave you a lot of colorful memories to draw from. Looking forward to reading more.

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    1. Yeah, slaughter is never pretty, even when the good guys are winning, which is really how I relate to slaughter these days, coming from movies like it does. I hope it stays that way. You are right about Vi-she was a bright star in the dark night.

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  4. At the very least, Vi gave you an opportunity to write a fine post that I enjoyed on a Monday morning these many years and miles later.

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    1. Thank you, AC. I smiled the whole time I wrote.

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  5. My uncle had a de-scented skunk, a 200 lb pet pig and who knows what else; he too was a rescuer. My daughter is also a rescuer. She only sees the cute baby stage and then get aggravated at the barking, mewing, chewing etc when they get older.

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    1. Hi Linda-I'm with your daughter. I love the babies but I'm not really in it for the long haul.

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  6. AAAAHHHH! But what about Pepe?!

    No. Don't tell me.

    Vi sounds like a hoot. And a fright. And, perhaps, an example. I hope there are more stories about her.

    Pearl

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    1. Haha, Vi was a hoot and a fright, you are correct. Poor Pepe, I think he got deported.

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  7. p.s. We moved every year, sometimes twice a year. I, too, remember things by which house we were in.

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    1. Weird, isn't it? Goes to show, though, that "place" is important. I was just reading an article a few weeks ago about the importance of getting your setting nailed down early in the story because it's the most important part of the story and I wasn't sure I agreed with that but it makes more sense now.

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  8. When I was a little girl I lived with my grandparents and every year a family of skunks made their home under the house. I thought they were the cutest animals ever. My grandmother kept me at a distance but I would of loved to gotten up close and personal with those babies.

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    1. Baby skunks with parents in the vicinity might as well have massive sprayers. I guess your grandmother did you a service, there, but I would have let you play with Pepe anytime. Hell, I would have given you Pepe for your very own. No one at the Amvets would take him. I tried.

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  9. My SO's sister raises orphaned wee critters. I'm not sure if she ever had a skunk or not but certainly bunnies, squirrels and my absolute favourite (and probably your least).. raccoons.

    Thanks for the morning laughs. Everyone should have a Vi in their lives.

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    1. Ohhhhh, so SHE's the one. Pretty sure that's where Pepe went. You know, baby raccoon are pretty adorable also. I agree, we all need a little bit of Vi now and again.

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  10. When my younger sister was born, we were still living in a cramped shitty apartment with one bedroom for three kids. I remember being told the stray cat we adopted had "gone to a farm" for a vacation.

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    1. Hi Meg, I think your cat probably went to Hilary's SO's sister's farm, too.

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  11. The skunk could have turned tables when mature. They are cute when young. I liked the story, knowing a few other animal recues.

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    1. Hi Prairie dweller-yes, I'm sure. I wasn't waiting around for it, no offense to the skunk!

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