Sunday afternoon in the suburbs, Spring

Markham suburbs, credit IDuke - Wiki Commons

Markham suburbs, credit IDuke – Wiki Commons

I’ve taken the stowed-away things from our garage and laid them out on the driveway for reckoning. One pile gets donated, the other we get to keep. There’s a laundry basket full of plush toys, the unwanted/extra dolls and stuffed animals that get kicked to the corner.

Charlotte (7) holds them up one at a time, as a kind of test to pretend-play with each, to decide, a final interview of sorts.

The ones with the freaky eyes (the Bratz dolls) get the ax but the rest can stay and I’m surprisingly OK with that; she wants to play with them some more, has some kid in her still. Later shares with me that she’d feel bad for them, letting them go.

And as I am scurrying about the garage still, one of the cats brings in a baby bunny and lets it loose there by the steps, where it goes to hide in a crack, and the kids gather around with Dawn, and they’re all trying to manage it with the neighbor boy Dylan (10) assuming some male-role of leadership, asking if we have carrots or something else we can use to lure it out.

They now have flashlights and a metal spatula and I leave them to it, a good hour’s worth of the day sucked into that crack.

If cats could laugh mine would as they run across the grass with something dead or dying in their grip then toss it beneath the brush overhang and leave it there for dead on its side. We’re conditioned now to go for a plastic grocery bag and use it like a mitt to carry the creatures to the compost bin and drop them there with the yard waste.

And as I am going in and out of the house I catch Ruby with a rabbit pinned-down on the carpet in the family room, and I take it by the hind legs but she grabs hold of it by the neck and yanks it right out of my hand like a doll and I have to grab it back and actually pull to get it out of her mouth, and the weight of it is like a water balloon as I carry it around the front, to the compost bin. I’m reminded of it each time I go back there to deposit something, I can’t help but look to see if it’s really dead, I hope.

But the kids have formed an unlikely gang now: three girls, two boys, aged 6-10, roaming our dead end gravel road where there are no fences between the houses, and there’s a lot of trees to climb and rope-swings installed like 20 years ago, still good for swinging.

The two boys are on our sports court using the badminton rackets as swords, and the younger boy Jude (6) is quite good, actually goes to fencing class, and he’s kind of kicking Dylan’s ass, light on his feet and bouncing around like a boxer, baiting Dylan, beating him down mentally.

There is the pitter patter of little girl voices beneath the sound of jets overhead and lawnmower blades sawing the air from nearby places. I find out later they actually got the baby rabbit out from the steps, and it’s probably the same one I dropped in the compost bin, so we agree to not mention that to the kids. The mom will make more, Dawn says.

Categories: Humor

Tags: , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. Having cats around makes the topic of death unavoidable. It was our dog, though, that did our rabbit in, the result of a door left open during a night of music and drinking. That party ended in a hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I guess the surprise for us is that there’s no ethical boundaries for cats, obviously. Whereas the dead rat, mouse, shrew, vole seems less awful, the dead bunny rabbit or baby bird is just hard to swallow, so to speak.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Read while humming Little Boxes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sorry for the baby bunny, but sounds like quite the adventure for all the others involved –


  4. This was a great scene you described here. I like the way you are part of the story but your voice as narrator floats above it all at the same time. Aside from the gruesome, unfortunate fate of the poor bunny rabbit, this was a very sweet portait of an afternoon on the frontier of suburbia that very much lived and breathed for me. I’ll have a another.


  5. Your wife’s observation at the end is great. My youngest and I saved a bunny that had jumped into a window well and couldn’t get out. Early in the mornings when I’m out, I often see fix darting into the forsythia for snacks. Last night I read a besutiful short story


    • Dang, hate when that happens. Story was ‘the world to come’ where a farmer’s wife offhandedly mentions drowning a litter of barn kittens in spring and it made me realize how soft we usually get to be. And dang again, meant fox not fix. Fat fingers.


      • That story sounds dark, poignant, and right up my dark and poignant alley. Thanks Kristen; I have fat fingers too and coffee eye, which makes for some bad typos writing early-morning here. You’re lucky you get to see fox where you live. We’ve had a coyote sighting here and there but the crown jewel was a bobcat in our driveway. He had this kind of strut that said Fuck You, I’m a bobcat.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So that’s a photo up top, right? Not a painting? It’s beautiful!

    Those kids need to learn about the Circle of Life. The Lion King can only teach them so much. It needs to be experienced and cats are the best instructors.


    • Hi Mark – yes, that’s a photo I found on Wiki Commons when I typed in “Suburbs.” Odd, that most of the photos of suburbs came from the UK or places in third world countries you wouldn’t think ‘suburban.’ I do like your comment about the Circle of Life and cats as the best instructors, that’s funny. That’s a bit of ham on rye for you there buddy.


  7. This sounds like a great spot for kids to grow up, lots of room to roam freely, wildlife to watch, and other kids around to look at dead stuff with. I really enjoy reading your work.


    • Thanks Jon – I’m happy you enjoy reading my posts. Yes, it’s a great place for the kids to grow up. We are remarkably lucky, can’t really fathom it all. Odd to be at a crossroads now, up and leaving for Europe for a year, puts a bittersweet tinge on things. Too fortunate to really appreciate our lives. And when we return here to Sammamish it’s likely there will be a Starbucks drive-thru next door, with all the tree-tearing down et cetera.


      • I spent a year living in New Zealand as a kid. It did more to change my view of the world than all the National Geographics could ever do. I felt like I had been on a different planet and had secret knowledge of the world, which for a kid is pretty magical and special. Your family, I am certain, will have that same transforming experience.


      • “A secret knowledge of the world.” I think that’s it, in a nutshell. Thanks for helping me say what I’ve been saying, but not as well. I’ve been telling people I want our kids to have a different perspective. We don’t want them to fall into this privileged, homogenous worldview here in the suburbs. There I go sounding funny again. Secret knowledge, it is. Thanks Jon.

        Liked by 1 person

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