The baby hare lay on its side, still in the palm of his hand. He looked for cuts, blood, but other than a nick on its foot, it appeared unharmed. The dog was gentle that way. Cupped in his palm, he pressed his finger against its tiny chest, feeling for a heartbeat. Nothing. That didn’t surprise him though, dulled by work, his fingertips could hardly register his own pulse. He turned the hare over, stroked the tiny white star on its forehead. It nuzzled into the warmth of his palm, alive. He knew better than to get his hopes up. It was too young. A week old, maybe two. Its eyes had yet to open. Put it in a box and it would be cold by morning, dead. Done it dozens of times as a boy. They just don’t survive. But he couldn’t just give it back to the dog. Couldn’t. He covered the little rabbit with his free hand and headed toward the house, the dog following in jumps and circles, anxious to have its find returned. He’d have to get some milk.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I was down at the little store where I get my breakfast from time to time, fourth in line behind three overalled men of such enormity they would be better described as farm implements than farmers. Mini-giants they were. And hairy. Lord! You’ve never seen such hair on creatures that don’t fish with their paws.
Apparently they were born picking eaters, as well. How that works, I couldn’t tell you, but all three had lengthy discussions with the girl taking our orders about how their food, namely pork products, should be prepared. One by one though, they did finish with their instructions, stepped to the right of the counter and stood in front of the glass cooler that held the rounds of bologna and ham and whatnot, to wait.
My order was simple: ‘Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, please.’
There are usually a few of that particular biscuit made up and waiting in the warmer. Since there was no one behind me, the girl taking orders went ahead and checked. The closest she could find was sausage and egg—no cheese. Easy fix.
The girl taking orders and now walking my cheeseless biscuit from the warmer to the meat cooler where the farmers leaned and the cheese was also kept, isn’t exactly a girl. I’d say she’s in her mid thirties. She’s thick but not fat, has a few tattoos and I wouldn’t doubt has seen the infield at Talladega from an ant’s perspective on more than one occasion. That said, she reaches into the cooler and pulls out this big plastic bag, in which the three giant farmers and I can clearly see there is only one slice of cheese where there could easily be a hundred.
“Oh,” the girl says, in a manner in which would normally preface an immediate need to be excused to the bathroom. “I need to cut some cheese.”
Here, the farmers looked at me, and I at the farmers, and then the four of us together, in a single turning of heads looked at the girl and blinked.
“I’ll go get my dog out of the truck, dear” the most fatherly looking of the three farmers said, calm as newly quarried stone. “You can blame it on him, if you want to.”