One year a man came to the store, Mrs. Bromena’s it was, and they had like a couple dozen white rabbits they were selling for Easter bunnies. Poppa, as was his Saturday routine, was half-gassed so he bought two: one for my sister Bill, and one for me. They were either twenty-five cents each, or maybe a half-dollar. Anyway, Poppa brought the two white bunnies home and we thought them great. That afternoon Poppa set about making a rabbit hutch.
Zeke Dooley, who I had gone to school with for a year, thought them cute. Matter-of-fact, he liked them so much he stayed around the village and as soon as it was dark he took them home with him, up on the mountain. And so our two bunnies were gone.
After he got home, Zeke turned the rabbits loose with all the chickens, guineas, and some turkeys. Well, they must have been the right pair for the next thing, they had a bunch of rabbits running around. Yes, there were plenty of wild ones running around, and they, too, got into the population explosion.
Well, one Saturday in the middle of May, we had gone to town and Zeke’s dad made him bring the two white bunnies back. Of course my mother said, “Zeke, you're just like your father, steal, steal, and never work for anything. You took them so you keep them.”
Of course it wasn’t long before all those rabbits got into Zeke’s Mom’s garden and started eating everything green. And oh yes, their garden and his mom’s canning was what they survived on during the winter.
They all started to catch the rabbits and they took them to Bedford, which was a larger town, and tried to sell them. In the middle of the summer if a family wanted rabbit they would go get a wild one.
Now Zeke’s dad got into it. “Get rid of them things,” was his order.
So Zeke and the other children caught all the rabbits, killed them, skinned them out, and were going to take the fresh meat to the big market in Roanoke, then tan the hides and sell them. They had about a hundred carcasses hanging on the back porch, but that night three brown bears came down and had a big party.
When Zeke’s dad went out, a bear slapped him! Zeke's mom got the twelve-guage shotgun, went around the outside, and shot both barrels into one bear.
Well, the bear that was shot fell toward the door. Yep, it knocked the door off its hinges and the other two bears went into the house. Since they knew what gun fire was, they wanted to beat a hasty retreat.
Now two mad and confused brown bears in an old frame house that had thirteen people sleeping in it, raised all sorts of havoc. Finally, one bear went up the stairs and oh lord what a mess...a bunch of bears roaring, people screaming, and stuff getting broken and knocked around.
Finally one bear went through a back wall and the other one crashed through an upstairs window, falling down on the back porch. Of course the back porch fell in as the two bears were running for the woods.
The bear that was shot came around and ran through the opening where the door used to be, then out the back-side of the dining room wall.
Needless to say, the next morning bright and early Zeke went down to the village and bought three boxes of .22 cartridges, and they finally exterminated the rabbit population.
Zeke had to drop out of school and go to work to pay off his dad’s hospital bill, and to help rebuild their house. Funny thing, after that Zeke didn’t like me nor my family.
© By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)