October 24, 2005 - "Ole Dirty Rabbit" by Kathy Norris
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"Ole' Dirty Rabbit"
by Kathy Norris
Today while plundering around at a thrift store, I had the privilege of traveling back into my childhood for a few brief moments. I don't go to the toy area very much, but today I seemed to be drawn there. Not that I needed to buy anything for my grandchildren because I knew their closets were overflowing with toys already. And certainly not that I needed to buy any to have more at my house for them either! But for some reason, I just couldn't resist taking a peek at the overflowing shelves of stuffed animals. They were jam-packed with dolls of every kind; teddy bears, kittens, lambs, monkeys, and of course bunny rabbits. As I began to look, there barely hanging onto a shelf was a cute floppy-eared bunny.
As soon as I saw it, I did a double-take and then took a step back in time to when I was a little girl around three years old. My parents and I lived in a small upstairs apartment in Flint, Michigan, and we didn't have a lot of money. I had a stuffed bunny, which was probably one of the few toys I owned. It seems strange that I can remember things from when I was three years old, but I do remember having that bunny rabbit! I guess I remember him so well because I played with him so much. He was bluish gray with big floppy ears that were pink on the inside, and he had a pink nose! He was so soft and cuddly and he was my best friend. For a little girl of three, he was just the snuggling size, not too small and not too large. I wagged him around with me everyday as I played in the apartment; and at night he slept with me.
My bunny's name was Ole' Dirty Rabbit! I don't know if I named him that, or if my mamma and daddy just started calling him that because of his looks. But as I remember, he truly was dirty looking and I guess that was from being played with so much! Back then there were no automatic washing machines or dryers to toss stuffed animals in for a quick wash and dry. There were only wringer type washing machines, and then clothes were hung outside on clothes lines to dry. So, Ole' Dirty Rabbit probably didn't get too many baths during his lifetime, because it was probably hard for me to be without him for very long! I remember having Ole' Dirty Rabbit as my friend for many years, but I don't remember whatever happened to him. I guess one day he just got old and worn out and went to bunny heaven.
When we lived in Flint, Michigan, my daddy worked very hard for our family as a blue-collar worker at the GM plant there. I know plant work then was much more taxing on workers than it is today. I'm sure he came home very tired and drained every afternoon, but he always had time to play with me! He would sit down in his chair to rest and read the daily newspaper, but yet he didn't care one bit to let me climb all over him from head to toe! I remember playing and giggling until I could barely get my breath! I just know that Ole' Dirty Rabbit was right there tumbling around with us!
Now 50 years later I treasure having memories of such good times with my family and I am thankful that one day they brought a special little friend into my life to make me happy! I have several pictures of me holding my little friend that my daddy took of us playing together. I can look at these pictures now and remember all the happy playtimes I had as a little girl of three years old with my Ole' Dirty Rabbit!
I walked away from the thrift store bunny several times today, but kept walking back and picking him up and remembering my own bunny of long ago. I came really close to grabbing him up, giving him a great big hug and bringing him home with me, but eventually decided to leave him there! I decided that I really didn't need to buy this one, because after all one day I just know I will meet up with my Ole' Dirty Rabbit again! I'll bet before the day was over a precious little girl came by, grabbed him up, gave him a big loving squeeze, and took him home with her to make lots of happy memories together, just like the ones I will always treasure in my heart.
Kathy Nesmith Norris copyright 3/8/05
I was 3 in 1955, so that was 50 years ago! I am thankful to have had several stories and poems on 2theheart. The stories are "Mary Bea", "Blessed by Simplicity", and "Searching for a Mother". My poems are "The Little Angel", "The Nursing Home", and "Our Little Granny". You can read them in the archives. Some of my other poems are also on the website in the Art and Poetry section; and I received honorable mention for two poems in the 2003 poetry contest. **To see a (darling!) photo of Kathy and her rabbit, click the link on our web site for this story!
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