To the Point for 7-20-06

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SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO come up with a topic for this column, but other times the topic finds me.

This week, the topic found me.

Life around the Lanman home can be described in many ways: hectic, chaotic, disorganized, and unique are just a few of those.

It’s also a place where, “you never know what’s coming next.”

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from my wife that she and my two youngest daughters were going to make a trip to Madison. Since my oldest daughter was working (I love the sound of that…), I decided that I would just continue to work on this week’s newspaper until they got home.

At about 10 p.m. I decided that I had finished all that I cared to for the day, so I decided to head home. An earlier call had told me that my family was headed home from Madison, but I figured they hadn’t arrived yet.

Pulling into my driveway, there was a strange sense of excitement, especially for late at night. All sorts of lights were on; the garage door was up and lit; people were walking around.

A quick survey saw no ambulances or police cars, so I figured it was safe to go in.

I was wrong.

My youngest daughter Hilary is an animal lover. She has a heart for strays of all sorts; and always seems to be wanting to add to her stable of animals. Up to this time, we’ve been able to limit it to a dog and a rabbit; but she’s always campaigning for more.

Tragedy struck in June while we were in Florida, as a call told us that “Aaron”, her pet rabbit for the past five years, had passed away.

We gave him a proper burial once arriving back home; and soon thereafter I came home to find Hilary with a wide smile on her face. Angie Satterfield, Hilary reported with glee, had agreed to give her another rabbit.

Now, most men can understand that more animals is not necessarily a good thing, because we’re the ones who have to pick up the carcass and dig the hole — and we’d rather not do that.

So the thought of another bunny wasn’t really thrilling to me, but since it was already on its way, I didn’t have much choice.

“Fletcher” arrived soon thereafter, a large black and white rabbit that wasn’t exactly as tame as the previous one. Still, Hilary seemed happy, so I figured things would soon return to normal.

Fletcher had been with us for a couple of days when I got a sad phone call from Hilary. She announced that Fletcher had somehow pushed away the wooden side panel of his cage, and had escaped. She was heartbroken.

With the fair getting underway, I figured Fletch had smelled the other bunnies only a few blocks away, and was somewhere around the fairgrounds. A neighborhood and fairgrounds search netted nothing.

I figured, at least I didn’t have to dig another hole….

That brings us back to Tuesday night.

Going in the house, my daughter Emily pried herself away from MSN Messenger long enough to report that we had a basement full of people, and that Fletcher was back and under our house.

Now our original house sits on a basement; but the new portion of our house sits on a crawl space. Confused, I walked down the basement stairs to find my wife, Hilary, and the Knox boys — Ricky and Stevie — looking through the hole that leads from my basement into the crawl space.

Actually, Stevie was in the crawl space; and in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd: “…He was hunting wabbits….”

Being brought up to speed on the situation, my wife informed me that Janie Knox, the boys’ mom, spied Fletcher in the back yard earlier in the evening while we were all away. She summoned the boys to help her catch the bunny, but he ran underneath our deck that connects the new part of the house with the garage.

Stevie decided to crawl underneath the deck for the capture, but to his surprise, suddenly Fletcher was gone.

Apparently there is a hole in my foundation under my deck. This allows things to go under the deck to the back, and then wiggle through a hole and into my crawl space.

Fletcher had apparently found this route.

Now in the crawl space, Stevie had Fletcher cornered, and Hilary was also dispatched into the space for support. Suddenly, Fletcher made a move for the foundation hole, and slipping through fingers, he was back outside again.

That meant Stevie was going back under the deck, to which we offered the option of letting it go for the night after securing the open ends of the deck. Some spare stone and bricks were used to patch up the hole, meaning that Fletcher was either coming out from under the deck, or he was going to live a dark and damp life underneath it.

Now, you’d think having the rabbit cornered would make this an easy ending; but it’s hard to capture something that is running while you’re crawling on your belly. Finally, Stevie got Fletcher cornered back where the hole was, but because of the bricks, escape back into the crawl space was now impossible.

Still unable to get a hand on him, Stevie dispatched brother Ricky back into the basement. There is also an old window down there which used to provide light, but after the deck was built, it was simply covered over.

Removing the covering, Ricky simply opened the window and reached through and snagged his prey. Up the stairs and out the door; Fletcher was back in his hutch (which had been secured with additional screws) in a matter of moments.

The newest trend in rabbit hunting? Not exactly, but it was an old trend of neighbors helping each other when it’s needed. There’s not many people who would volunteer to crawl through the dirt and bugs at 11 p.m. under a deck to get a rabbit — not once but three times.

We’re just thankful that we have good neighbors who care and want to help when called upon.

After all, it was just another day at our house.