THE GIFT-PART 4-Getting Home

THE GIFT-Part 4-Getting Home

“This won’t hurt a bit,” said Morty. He pushed and pulled the saw back and forth through Connie’s sap filled trunk in rapid motions. Seconds later, Connie fell onto the spot where the rabbit huddled at night to stay warm. The empty birds’ nest clung to his branches.

Morty saw the rabbit hiding under a nearby tree, “Well, Mr. Rabbit, come home with me. I’ll keep you warm.”

The rabbit jumped out. “Will you take care of me the way Connie did?”

“Yes,” said Morty, “come with me.” Morty hadn’t finished talking to the rabbit when the cardinal, the sparrow, and the chickadee appeared from nowhere and circled around his head.

“Will you take care of us too?”

“Sure,” he said. “Come with me. We will have a great time.”

“Hold on tight, Connie, I have to drag you to the wagon.” They left a track through the needles on the ground as Morty pulled Connie behind him. They stopped in front of the tall Balsam for a rest.
“I can see that you found the perfect tree,” said the Balsam.

“Yes,” said Morty, “thank you very much. I couldn’t have done it without your expert directions.”

“Have a very Merry Christmas,” replied Balsam, “I wish I could be going with you.”

Farmer Jim came and found them. He helped Morty lift Connie onto the hay wagon.

“I never thought about how I would bring a tree home on my scooter,” he said.

“Don’t worry,” said Farmer Jim, “I will help you get the tree onto your scooter. I have to help everyone who comes here.  I have lots of experience with that.”

The tractor stopped in front of the shed next to the barn. Farmer Jim slid Connie into the wrapping machine, and pushed the button. A big wheel started circling around Connie. The noisy machine pulled cord around the branches, and squeezed them tightly into Connie’s trunk. When the noise stopped, Connie was much thinner than before.

Morty carried Connie to his scooter, and just stared. He could not see how to load him. The compartment was only big enough to hold a picnic lunch and some tools. The scooter was smooth all over. It didn’t have anything sticking out to tie a rope around.

“What am I going to do?”  Morty placed the tree against the side of the scooter. “Nope, that won’t work,” he said. Next, he laid Connie onto the seat. He fit nicely along the top and hanging over the end, but Morty would have to sit on top of him to drive.

“I don’t like that either. I know, I’ll sit and hold him between my legs.” He held Connie upright between his arms. “That is worse because I can not see to drive with Connie in my face.”

Farmer Jim finally came out and tied Connie to the seat.

“You will have to sit on him,” he told Morty.”

“Okay, but I don’t like it, come on kids hop on.”

The bunny jumped on and huddled by his feet, and the birds found secret openings in the branches to hide in.

“I’ll go slow,” said Morty.

“Good, I don’t want you to lose me after all that fuss.”

Morty drove Sky-scooter slowly and silently. The only sound came from Connie. He was singing Happy Birthday.

To be continued , , , ,

New Cartoonist Joins GJP

Budding young artist Cub Scout Ben has joined the staff at Grumpa Joe’s Place as a contributing artist. CS Ben has natural talent and wit that comes from living on a farm in Michigan. Ben regularly shovels horse manure as he helps his mom clean stalls  No doubt he will want to join the Wabbit Wars series as an embedded reporter chronicling the escapades of the terror network of Wabbits, cats, and squirrels infiltrating Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision.

Cat Eyes Fish and Salivates

Terror Cell Plans An Attack

      Deep within the thicket behind Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision a meeting of Wabbits from terror groups of every block discussed plans for taking out the Monet Vision. Last Spring they snuck into his yard and tasted the tulips and his prize lilies. He didn’t know what hit him. They forced him to install extensive Wabbit barrier over his lobelias, which made him work four times as hard to pull weeds. Not to mention, each time he discovered a snipped tulip bud or a clipped lily stem his blood pressure went through the roof. The group planned a new assault.

“We have to expand our numbers,” said Ali Bugbuny.

“Yes, but we must also train new recruits in the art of stem tasting,” exclaimed Sadr el Jac.

“What if we change the strategy from tasting to eating the flowers,” asked Yasir Flufytail?

“Hmmmn, not a bad idea” replied Ali.

The ideas flowed all evening. It was late into the night before the terror group finally agreed to a plan.

“It is agreed then, we will begin the campaign on the night of the full moon,” said Ali Bugbuny as he dismissed them, “be careful going home.”

The group hopped through the darkness keeping invisible as they moved through backyards. Usa-Bugbuny stayed under the front yard boxwoods. He sprinted through the open spaces between houses to the end of Brown Drive. Yasir Flufytail speed-hopped through the backyards to Charrington Drive, and Siwee el Waby dashed across the street between lights until he reached cover under a burning bush. One more sprint and I’ll be on Bramble Lane he thought. The others worked their way through the thicket westward to Ginger Lane. All of them swore to keep the plan a secret. They were to move about only under cover of darkness. Their plan would drive Grumpa Joe nuts.

“That was a most productive meeting Ali,” said Sadr el Jac.

“It is the best plan we’ve ever put together. I can’t wait to begin. I’ll see you again under the moon.”

Meanwhile, Grumpa Joe discussed world affairs and gardening over a glass of wine with his friend Al.

“Where have all the Wabbits gone,” asked Grumpa Joe?

“What do you mean, I have plenty of Wabbits in my yard,” said Al.

It is almost June, and I did not see a single Wabbit in the yard. My tulips were beautiful, and the lily’s are strong and tall.”

“I’ll send you some of my bunnies if you wish,” said Al.

“Please don’t.”

“I wonder if the coyote has been roaming through the neighborhood,” said Joe.

“That is a strong possibility Joe, they howl behind my house every night, but I still have lots of wabbits. It is late, I have to get home.” Al backed his car out of Grumpa Joe’s driveway just as Siwee el Waby made his dash across the street. The car lights swung out over him as he ducked under the Burning Bush.

Whew, that was close, he almost saw me. We have to live undercover until it is time to execute the plan. We want Grumpa Joe to believe he has beaten us.

The Wabbit world was abuzz for the remainder of the summer. Young wabbits went to school everyday, and momma wabbits raised more young ones to join them. Parents were careful to teach the youngsters not to go out while in daylight for fear of spoiling the ruse to make Grumpa Joe believe the wabbits were gone from his yard.

Ali Bugbuny recruited Aga and Bushr Bambi to join the plan. The army of invaders grew everyday. New recruits came well trained too.

“It is agreed, we will meet you and the Wabbit army in the invasion of the garden known as the Monet Vision during the full moon of July.”

“Peggy, have you noticed the big gaping hole in the yellow petunia patch?”

“No I haven’t, where?”

“Look there, between the potted geranium and the Coral Bells.”

“Oh, those plants are regenerating,” she said.

“I hope you are right, but it does bear watching.”

Grumpa Joe put the Monet Vision under surveillance. He took note of where the flowers were missing.

“These look cut off to me,” he told Peggy as he watered one night.

“It’s your imagination,” she said.

“We’ll see about that,” Joe replied.

Grumpa Joe sat on the patio sprinkling the flowers after a day of intense heat when he spotted a movement. His gaze froze on the spot. The sun had gone down and only the grey light of dusk remained. He saw a movement at the far corner of the yard. Yep, it’s a Wabbit he thought. I’ll wait to see where he goes.

Aga Bambi sat almost motionless. Only his mouth and nose moved as he chewed on some fresh grass. He couldn’t wait until total darkness as the plan called for. He had to eat something.

Aga sprinted through the Monet Vision into the wetland to the safety of his hutch. Inside the mass of twisted brambles he came face to face with Ali, Sadr, and Yasir. They sat in the darkness waiting for him. Sadr hopped to the entrance and blocked it off, Yasir moved to Aga’s side. Aga faced Ali in the center of a triangle of Wabbits. His escape route blocked, he had no choice but to face the music.

Ali put his nose up against Aga’s and began a Drill Sargent’s tirade.

“You dumb long-ear clown you ruined the plan, what were you thinking?”

“I’m sorry Ali, I was hungry and those Petunias looked so good. Besides, wasn’t that the plan?”

“The plan was to do it in the dark not broad daylight. Did they look and taste good enough to break cover?”

“I was careful, no one saw me.”

“Watch this.” Ali popped a DVD into his command computer. “These were taken this afternoon you dummy.”

The four of them watched as Aga relished a dozen soft-yellow Petunia blossoms before he moved to the deep purple ones. Aga dropped his head and eyes in guilt. The video clearly showed him violating the order.

“As punishment for disobeying an order you are banished from the Cell.”

“Where am I going,” asked Aga?

“To the land of native wildflowers where you will no longer enjoy the juicy and tender fruit of home gardens. Take him away boys.”

Sadr grabbed him by the back of the neck, and Yasir by the fluffy tail. They dragged him off to Prairie Park.

“Okay Yasir, on the count of three.”

They swung him back and forth, and on three they let go of him.  Aga went sailing through the air and landed deep in the tall grass.

Ali sat by himself in Aga’s hutch thinking for a long time. His mind raced through counter measure possibilities. After what seemed like hours an idea came to him. He finally hopped out of the hutch into the darkness of the wetland with only the fireflies lighting the night sky.

“I have to gather the cell and discuss the new plan.”

Wabbit Wars-Sneak Attack

“Look at the big Wabbit!” exclaimed the chorus of grand children from the sun room.

” He has a mouth full of grass.”

Grumpa Joe observed the Wabbit make several trips to the neighbor’s yard, returning with a mouthful of grass each time.

“Oh no, she is building a nest under my miniature evergreen, I have to get rid of her.”

“Is she going to have babies?”

“I have to chase her away,” he grumbled. Best to wait until later, he thought to himself.

A few minutes later Grumpa Joe’s grandson Ben came to him cradling a stuffed bunny and made his pitch.

Looking up, directly into Grumpa’s eyes with the saddest expression a little boy can muster  he said, “are you going to shoot the Wabbit? Please don’t kill her.”

Grumpa Joe was speechless. How and when did the Wabbits infiltrate the family to brainwash his grandson?

“I won’t hurt the Wabbits,” he told Ben while thinking of  his next move after the kids were gone.

The following day, it rained and the Wabbit activity was invisible.  She’s probably sitting on her nest, he thought.

Finally, the rain stopped and Grumpa Joe worked  in the garden. He snuck up on the pine tree and inspected the base. Sure enough, he found a hole next to the trunk.

That hole is too small for that big rabbit he told himself. Meanwhile, he saw no further activity.

I wonder if she abandoned the nest? Great, now I’ll get the blame for getting rid of the Wabbit, and I didn’t do anything. This is a secret Wabbit strategy  to take over the yard, and decapitate the tulips and the lilies.

Grumpa Joe returned to the house for lunch. Afterwards, he tried taking a nap but had trouble falling sleep. Visions of  Wabbits invading the house  and crawling all over him with tulips in their mouths flowed through his mind. He visioned Wabbits sitting everywhere, on the counter tops, the coffee tables, the kitchen table. Wabbits covered the floor making it impossible to walk. He opened the refrigerator, the Wabbits sat inside eating lettuce and carrots.

“Yikes,” he shouted.

“What’s wrong?” asked Grandma Peggy.

“I had a daymare.”

“What is that?”

“That’s the same as a nightmare, except it happens in the daytime.

The Wabbits Ally With Radical Terrorists

Today is opening day of a new chapter in the Wabbit War. Last year (2010), Grumpa Joe (GJ) battled the Wabbits, and by late August they disappeared from the garden. However, GJ uncovered large amounts of evidence to suggest the Wabbits will return again soon.  Throughout the winter there has been an abundance of snow, and the level of Wabbit tracks in the snow was telling. In addition, early this spring GJ uncovered evidence that the Wabbits devastated his prize Viburnum shrub by clipping all the lower stems, and leaving the naked center branch looking like a torch. Piles of Wabbit scat encircle the Viburnum.

The tulips, a Wabbit favorite, are just beginning to open. Grumpa Joe sits at the window awaiting the first Wabbit attack hoping to prevent needless tulip decapitations.

Late last summer, a new enemy joined the Wabbit Wars; Cirsium arvense(Canadian thistle). This new enemy employs radical terrorist techniques. He attacks by popping up in the middle of a dense lawn or flower bed. By the time he is sighted he has sent combatant runners  spreading around the yard to establish more sleeper cells. The mower is one of the primary forces GJ used to combat them in the lawn. The whirling blade whacks the Cirsium; wounding, but also infuriating him. The warrior returns stronger than before. During his recovery he dispatches several young roots burrowing underground to establish new cells. Within a week, the cells begin to pop up along a line extending from the wounded warrior.

In the flower beds, the Cirsium arvense terrorists work under cover of foliage to grow and strengthen. By the time GJ spies evidence of their presence, they are fully established and towering over the flowers held hostage to hide their activity. They send copious numbers of sleeper cells running in many directions. They sleep underground until ready to attack then spring up everywhere within ten feet of origin.

Several times, GJ attacked them with the digger tool, and even a spade. Pulling  out runners, and following them to new cells. Often, he pulled up two feet of roots with green shoots that had sprouted along the runner. If a single small piece of the root breaks off during removal, it survives to become a new sleeper cell. The Cirsium reestablishes itself, and within a week new sleeper cells are terrorizing the flower bed.

Grumpa Joe attended a late fall conference of Master Gardener Generals to discuss the Cirsium terrorists. The generals instructed GJ to rid the Cirsium arvense with the dreaded garden nemesis; Roundup. In the early spring, GJ would have to drench the fresh young shoots with this chemical killer of broad leaf vegetation. The chemical works by absorbing into the foliage and traveling into the root system.

This afternoon at 13:00 hours, Grumpa Joe dressed in full chemical battle garb. He loaded his sprayer with the prescribed ratio of concentrate and water. He pumped the tank sixty times to pressurize the nozzle, and forged into battle. By 14:30 hours all visible Cirsium terrorists were drenched in chemical.

By 13:00 hours tomorrow, Grumpa Joe will know if his attack affected the Cirsium army.  He will sorrow over the many innocent garden plants he has killed. What he will not know is this; has he merely sent the Cirsium arvense Terrorists underground to form new sleeper cells?

New Development in the Wabbit War

Image courtesy of Warner Bros, free use agreement.

A new force has mysteriously intervened in the Wabbit War. Striking in the dark of night, the new force has divided the Alliance. Grumpa Joe smilingly approves. The Alliance consisting of Wabbits, Grandma Peggy, birds, squirrels, mice, ants, and the dreaded Heron have suffered a major setback. Still unidentified, the strike force snuck into the garden climbed the window style and stole a bird feeder. In a fit of disappointment, Grandma Peggy directed Grumpa Joe to search for the lost feeder. He spent three hours in the yard mowing and weeding without spotting any evidence of the feeder or its hanger. Meanwhile, the Wabbits continue to eat any new plant sprouting in the flowerbeds. They also continue to enjoy the birdseed that Grandma Peggy now spreads on the patio for the birds. Is it possible that the Wabbits themselves are responsible for this latest act of aggression? Have they allied themselves with the opossum or the raccoons in order to avail themselves of easier food?

Wabbit War Update

The Alliance grows stronger in both members and resolve.  Today, awestruck sympathizers reached a new high as they proclaimed, “awe, isn’t he cute?”

As the actor William Bendix often said in the radio sitcom The Life of Riley, “it’s a losin’ fight.”

Meanwhile, Grumpa Joe sent S.O.S. messages to the Predator World requesting emergency assistance.

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