Wednesday, June 8, 2016
"Tell Me About the Rabbits, George."
So many years ago, before Sam and I were even married, I read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It affected me greatly at the time, and I remember just sobbing at the end of that book. One can honestly say it is really an American classic, and I doubt that readers from other countries would necessarily be familiar with it. It is the story of 2 drifters who travel from ranch to ranch during the Great Depression looking for work. Although George is not an educated man, he is intelligent and watches over Lenny, who is a huge mentally disabled man. The two men form a bond of friendship and dream of having a ranch of their own. Lenny's favorite story is how he will one day be able to tend the rabbits. So, hence, the famous quote I chose as the title for this post.
Lenny repeats this childish request often, and it makes him very happy to hear George tell him what it will be like in the future. Steinbeck emphasizes the theme of dreams throughout the book. I will admit to being a dreamer, too. Don't quite remember when I first started saying this line to Sam, but it always made him smile and still does. "Tell me about the rabbits, George." He knows me so well. I am quite like Lenny in this way. Anticipation makes me just as happy as any special upcoming event in my life.
When I was a child, I would look forward to vacations and Christmas and the last day of school and drive my family a little
batty, I'm sure. I would draw maps to tape to the dashboard of the car so we would know the way to the lake and the little cottage on the hill. There would be checklists and little papers stapled together like tear-off countdown calendars.
Twelve days to go.....
eleven days to go.....
Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
If you ask Sam, he will tell you that not much has changed. When I am very excited about a vacation or visit or a present, I will sit on his lap or nestle in to spoon in bed and say.....
"Tell me about the rabbits, George." He is used to it by now but almost always chuckles.
"Ella, I told you about the rabbits last night," he will try to sound exasperated but is only teasing.
"I know, but I like to hear you tell it," I will plead. "Please - just one more time."
Over the years the "rabbits" can change. Special days, visits from faraway friends and family, times when Sam would return after he and I were forced to be apart, boys coming home, big trips and
small ones. Having Sam tell me about a day that is coming makes me happy, even if the wait is a long one. Sometimes I will even tell myself about the rabbits as I make plans or am falling to sleep. Lately there is a special friend out in blogland to whom I explained this strange quote of mine. Now she knows when an email from Ella says, "Tell me about the rabbits, George" that I want to talk about a special day in the future.
Ever since I discovered that there were other women just like me out there in the virtual neighborhood, I have ached to meet a friend that would know me for who I really am. I'm not sure why that is so important to me? Maybe some of you reading here today will identify with this need, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. But for me, it is
CROSS MY HEART
GOING TO HAPPEN
very soon, and I cannot tell you how excited I am! It will be one of those earth-shaking days that I will never forget. The forecast is for smiles and hugs and even tears. So for weeks now whenever I say, "Tell me about the rabbits, George," Sam just smiles and shakes his head. I have dreamed of this just as sure as Lenny dreamed of his rabbits. Right now I am counting down the days and hours and minutes. And I love that the anticipation is such a glorious part of the lead up to this special event in my life. I would not trade it for anything. Gustave Flaubert wrote this about that wonderful time of waiting.
"Pleasure is found first in anticipation,
later in memory."
I promise to share some of those memories, too.