Thursday, March 17, 2005

Jimmy Carter and the Killer Rabbit


I feel horrible. The muscles in my legs hurt every time I move and the muscles in my arms hurt too, so I stopped moving my arms altogether. This is the result of my workout with the physiotherapist I talked about yesterday. After the exercises I felt real good. I could move my arms normally for the first time in quite a while. Today I can’t move anything. It took me an hour to shower today.

I’ve been sitting at the breakfast table all morning, trying not to move. I have to drink my milk through a straw, because I’m still not allowed to drink coffee.

The physiotherapist will be here in two hours. I’m seriously thinking about calling her to cancel the appointment. I’m feeling muscles I never knew I had.

I don’t understand what happened. We did some arm exercises and I rode the stationary bike for a while. That’s all. The rest of the day I rested as much as possible. I was sitting at the breakfast table, reading and looking into the garden.

Talking about the garden, I saw two rabbits hopping around in our backyard yesterday. It was a beautiful sight. Here in Chappaqua we see a lot of rabbits and other animals. The reason for that is our close proximity to the Catskill Mountains and woodlands.

I asked Bobbi to take a few carrots we found in the kitchen and give them to the rabbits. I thought to myself either the rabbits eat the carrots or they would be part of my water based dinner. So Bobbi took the carrots, opened the kitchen door and went to the rabbits. At first they were frightened, but Bobbi broke the carrots in pieces and threw the pieces to them.

I had to smile. I was thinking, if Bobbi had been born in the city, she would’ve thrown the carrots to the rabbits in one piece. Animals don’t have hands, so you need to break their food in small pieces, so they can swallow it more easily.

I remember about thirty years ago, I was still a student, I was waiting at a bus stop in Washington DC. I was sitting on a bench. All of a sudden this pigeon landed close by. He had one leg. He limped around for a few seconds looking for food. He found a biscuit. He tried, but he couldn’t break it in pieces with his beak and therefore couldn’t eat it.

I was looking at this and felt sorry for the bird. I thought to myself, having only one leg makes it really difficult for him to find food, so I decided to help him. I took the biscuit. The pigeon flew up, but landed just a few yards away. I broke the biscuit in small pieces and threw a few crumbs in front of him. He ate them.

Then I decided to put the crumbs on the bench. To my surprise he jumped on the bench. At first he was a bit anxious and he would eat a crumb and look at me, ready to fly away. Later he felt more comfortable. He would eat the crumb I broke off for him and look at me, asking for more.

I must’ve spend at least ten minutes feeding the pigeon. After the biscuit was gone, he looked at me and I showed him my empty hands. I sat back and waited for the bus. So did the pigeon. He sat down next to me on the bench, facing the road. For some strange reason, Hillary would probably call it silliness, but I felt a certain bond between us. We felt very comfortable, just sitting there looking at the traffic.

After five more minutes the bus arrived. I got up, so did the one legged pigeon. I told him that was my bus and I remember telling him “Take care, my friend”, before I entered the bus. I sat down next to the window and smiled and waved to the bird. As the bus drove away, he flew away.

You know I still wonder what happened to my one legged friend. He is probably dead by now, but still I wonder about him. It’s one of those moments when you meet someone, in this case a pigeon, you bond with this person, you never see that person again, but you always remember that person.

Bobbi’s encounter with the rabbits wasn’t as happy as my encounter with the one legged pigeon. The rabbits ate the pieces of carrot she gave them. More rabbits arrived and soon the garden was filled with about ten of these creatures hopping around and sometimes fighting over the pieces of carrot.

Bobbi was wearing flip flops. Women paint their toenails. Hers were reddish orange. One of the rabbits bit her toe. Hahaha. Bobbi screamed out loud and in an almost panicky mood she tried to walk to the kitchen door. This wasn’t all that easy, because the rabbits had surrounded her, waiting for their pieces of carrot. I think one of the rabbits bit her again, because all of a sudden, she screamed, jumped up, threw the carrots away and ran to the door, which I opened for her, followed by the rabbits, who probably thought she still had the carrots.

I closed the door and asked her what happened and she told me that the rabbits were trying to eat her toes. I couldn’t stop laughing all afternoon. The rabbits waited at the kitchen door for at least an hour, which I used to tell Bobbi that the rabbits were still after her. Hahaha.

This whole affair reminded me of president Jimmy Carter and the Killer Rabbit. Older people will probably remember this story. What happened was, Jimmy Carter was president at the time. He decided to take a short break. He went to Georgia to do some fishing on a river.

As he was fishing, sitting alone in his boat, he saw this fifty pound swamp rabbit, swimming to his boat. And the rabbit, which according to Jimmy looked like he had rabies, tried to climb onboard. President Carter, fearing for his life, used his paddle to keep the rabbit out of the boat. He succeeded and the swamp rabbit swam away.

When journalists heard this story, they turned it into a national hype. You had newspapers with headlines like “President Carter attacked by rabbit” and “Jimmy Carter beats rabbit in fight”. I remember the whole country was laughing about this whole event, but it didn’t do president Carter any good in his reelection bid. We were still fighting the Soviet Union and there was the Iranian crisis at the time. Ronald Reagan used the story in his campaign and won.

If I remember this right, a member of the president’s entourage made a picture of the attack. I’ll ask Bobbi to find it and link to it.