I remember it like it was yesterday. The day my dad told me that my pet rabbit had died.
"Boy," he said, "I got some bad news for you."
I said, "What's that?"
He said, "Skippy's gone."
I said, "What do you mean 'gone'? Did somebody leave the cage open last night?"
He shook his head and said, "Naw, son, Skippy's – well, he's in bunny heaven now."
I said, "Why'd you take him to the kennel for? We going on vacation or something?"
Dad said, "You don't understand, boy. Your rabbit – he's, ah, he's no longer with us."
I said, "I know that. You just told me you took him over to Bunny Heaven. What I don't know is why."
Dad shook his head again, like I just didn't get it – which I didn't. He said, "Boy, the rabbit is dead. He passed while you was sleeping last night."
I said, "Oh," real quiet-like. I always get quiet when I'm sad. I don't cry, I just get quiet.
Dad said, "You want me to bury him for you?"
I said, "Naw, I'll do it myself."
He said, "You sure about that, boy? Might be none too pleasant."
I said, "I'll be fine. Ain't the first time I buried anything."
He said, "What else you been burying, boy?"
I said, "Nothing special. Just birds and stuff I found lying around in the yard."
My dad said, "All right, then. Just holler at me if you change your mind, and I'll take care of it for you."
I told him again that I would be fine, and I went straight to the barn. Skippy's cage door was open when I got there. I reckon Dad figured there was no reason to close it now.
Skippy was lying on his side, his fuzzy belly up in the air, his whole body stiff. He could have been sleeping, peaceful as he looked – if you could ignore the rigor mortis thing, that is. And I most definitely could not.
I grabbed a potato sack that was sitting in the corner, brought it over to Skippy's cage, eased his stiff little body into it, and folded it over.
"You was a good rabbit, Skippy," I said, real quiet-like. "But I guess it was just your time to go."
I grabbed a shovel on my way out of the barn, the potato sack slung over my shoulder, and headed to the field to bury my little friend.