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Jack Simpson - 07/31/09
Survivor

Are you tired of today's preoccupation with fame and celebrity, stories about war, economics, politics, healthcare and the like? Try this simple column on for size.

He has a life expectancy of 10 years, if he can manage to live that long. So, I tagged him with an honorable name. Mister Bunn E. Rabbit is about the size of my fist, and he has taken up residence in my garden where I share my lettuce and green beans with him.

It is unusual to find him there because his numbers have been reduced over the years by rapid growth, predators and hunters. The fox, coyote and stray cats have included him and his kind on their menu.

Mr. Bunn E. Rabbit, however, has managed to find a peaceful, quiet spot where food is available and there are plenty of good hiding places nearby. He is active at dusk and dawn. When he sees me approaching, he quickly runs for cover under the woodpile or into the nearest bushes. Obviously my presence places him in stress and he does not linger long enough for us to become better acquainted!

It is a pity because we might become friends, and I could better provide for his needs. I'm sure life in the wild is hard on him and finding water may be difficult.

Rabbits are social animals; but, come to think of it, there haven't been any of his kinfolks around lately. Perhaps that is why his presence was noticed instantly.

I'm not the only one aware of the arrival of Mister Bunn E. Rabbit. The resident stray cat, Mr. Gray, who has been gone for several months, showed up about the time of the rabbit's first appearance. Here is one predator, a long-time survivor and successful hunter, that any small rabbit would certainly avoid meeting. Mr. Gray is fast, exceedingly good at catching small prey.

A few days ago I noticed the cat sitting by the garden, stalking his prey. Even when I tried to discourage him, Mr. Gray hung around waiting to make a kill.

Following this observation, I did not see the rabbit for about four days thereafter. I figured he was a goner until a few days later when I noticed him again under his favorite green bean plant! There sat Mr. Bunn E. Rabbit, or better yet Bugs Bunny, who had been clever enough to save himself from his fate with the stalking cat! His close proximity to the woodpile and his powerful legs included him among the survivors.

Now, the only remaining question for observers is: which survivor, the cat or the rabbit, will end up with the greatest longevity? If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Mr. Gray. What do you think?

Yes, it is Mr. Gray. Just today we found the little bunny dead in the swimming pool, where he probably went looking for a drink of water!

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.