Growing up I used to spend a few weeks out of every summer in Austin, Texas, with my Mimi and Poppy (aka Melba and Cecil – yep, that’s right Melba and Cecil.) I absolutely loved my time there. Austin was (and still is) my favorite part of Texas. Plus, my Mimi had all the makings of a legendary grandmother. She loved each of her grandchildren unabashedly. And she was crafty. She could make dresses for my dolls, mend my clothes, and whip up a mean pie.
One of my favorite things to do when I was visiting was to play with the a girl about my age that lived next door. The neighbors had an open door policy and I would spend hours over there. We loved to read tales of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, check out their bee hives, and play with the dozens of bunnies that were caged in their backyard.
Sometimes I couldn’t be troubled to leave for lunch and so they’d welcome me to their table. As their guest, I knew that I had to be on my best behavior.
One day as I was finishing my lunch, I said proudly, “This is the best fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever tasted.”
And my friend’s mother quickly explained, “Honey, it might taste like chicken, but that is not chicken. It is rabbit.”
And immediately a light bulb went off in my head and I realized I was eating one of the fluffy white bunnies from their backyard. One of the bunnies that I had spent hours admiring.
In complete shock and disapproval, I bolted out of my seat and towards the door (needless to say, without properly excusing myself). And with a flair for the dramatic, I let the door slam as I removed myself from the presence of “the bunny killers.”
I probably would have never returned. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) Mimi hadn’t made me return with an apology for my “inexcusable” behavior.
Don’t know why but that is one of my favorite stories of my youth. When I reflect on it I can so vividly recall a younger, more innocent version of myself. A version of myself that had a black-and-white sense of right and wrong. A version of myself that acted passionately before carefully measuring the consequences. A version of myself that wasn’t constantly gripped by the need for approval.
And even though I can appreciate the woman I’ve become, I sometimes would love to venture through my 33 year-old days with that lens.
What is one of your favorite childhood memories? Why do you think that memory sticks out to you?
PS – I still don’t eat rabbit. It might taste like chicken. BUT IT’S NOT CHICKEN.