I must admit I am pleased that I have some of the characteristics of my dear mother, who went to be with the Lord in 2000, just shy of her 92nd birthday. Among other admirable qualities: she could play a few songs on the piano, recite poems she wrote in grammar school, carve a tugboat out of balsa wood for me when I was in Cub Scouts and draw a crane in a lake to be used in art class to make a rubber stamp. When she was about 70, my brother took her out to dinner a few miles away on the back of his motorcycle. She attended an art class in her 70’s and Barb and I have a few of her paintings (as do other members of the family). She also came up with many sayings that I and others still recite. No, I had none of these abilities! The one thing I did “inherit” from her was saving old letters, documents and stories.
I still have one of her short stories from 1941 but at the moment can’t locate it (possibly you will see it in the future). Therefore, I would like to share a story from 1969. But first a little background to let you know how amazing it is that stories from yesteryear connect with today. In June of 1941, the first child of my parents, Linda, was born. Upon finding out she was expecting, Mother wanted to be the best mom in the world. In working to achieve this, she started writing kids’ stories so she could read them to Linda when she arrived. Since Mother wanted to be perfect in her writing and her presentation, she started to read the stories out loud. Her voice was so sweet and stories so interesting that a little ladybug, Kay, always appeared to hear her presentation. Mother and Kay became such good friends that when Linda was born, she was given the middle name of Kay. Because the life span of a ladybug is no more than a year, the ladybug expired later that year. Mother, ever so gently, included Kay in the scrapbook she began for Linda. I know this will be hard to digest, but after 76 generations of ladybugs and the advancement of science, recently a DNA sample was taken from Kay and it has been matched to one of my employees, Ms. Ladybug Victoria Witherspoone, who collects intelligence for me for some of my columns. I thought this was an incredible fact, so I wanted to share it with you before telling you the story of “The Adventures of Clancy the Curious Rabbit”, written by my mother.
Clancy was a small rabbit who lived in a hole in the side of the hill. This was a long time ago before rabbits had long ears and cottontails, and I am going to tell you what happened to change their appearance. Can you imagine a rabbit like that, with no tail and with short ears?
To begin with, Clancy was the most curious rabbit in the whole wide world. His mother was always scolding him about being so curious and warning him about the danger which might befall such a curious creature.
One fine, sunny day, Clancy decided to take a walk and see what was new in the world. He scampered along the path and over the hill until he came to Mrs. Callahan’s house. In the garden, he met Timothy Titmouse and they exchanged greetings. “Good morning, Timmy” said Clancy. “What’s new this fine morning?” “Good morning, Clancy,” replied Timothy. “No news at all. Nothing seems to happen around here these days.” “Well, responded Clancy, that is a sad state of affairs! No excitement at all!” And they both went on their way – not a bit wiser.
Well, Clancy came to Mrs. Callahan’s kitchen window, which was open and he heard voices. Being such a curious rabbit, he could not bear to miss anything, so he climbed upon an overturned watering can which was under the window. He looked in the kitchen and saw Mrs. Callahan and her neighbor, Mrs. Parsons. They were gossiping about the pretty new school teacher, who had just come to the village. They were so interested in what they were saying, that at first they did not see Clancy.
Clancy was so intent on hearing all the gossip, that he almost fell off the watering can when his foot slipped. The noise he made was very small but it was enough to catch Mrs. Callahan’s attention and she saw him and quickly slammed the window on him before he could get away. His ears were caught beneath the window and he pulled and he pulled; in fact, he pulled so hard that he stretched his ears until they were very long. Mrs. Callahan was just about to catch him in her hands when he managed to pull loose from the window and ran helter-skelter down the path.
Mrs. Parsons opened the window and threw her powder-puff after Clancy. It hit him right where he should have had a tail and it hit him so hard that it just stuck right on and ever since that day, rabbits have had powder-puff tails and long ears, which should be a warning to all – it may be natural to be curious, but never be that curious! Winifred Hall (1969)
Jeff Hall, of Honey Brook, contributes columns to BerksMont Newspapers. Questions and comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.