C is for Community

There is a world of difference between a community and a crowd.

Thomas Merton, The Silent Life


People often comment on the size of our family — “That’s a crowd!” But the truth is that family can be the very best of community, united in love.

Family — the best community

A common purpose and working together create community, even when languages and religions are different.

Working together in community (Bosnia – 2017)

The small town of Greene, NY, is community. When the village flooded some years back, we watched neighbors tirelessly helping neighbors and it struck me that this is a special community.

This high school graduation may look like a crowd, but it’s a community.

And then there’s Cooperstown, whose population swells from 2,000 to 50-, 60-, 70-thousand on Baseball Hall of Fame Induction weekend. Of course not everyone is like this, but an awful lot of make-a-buck people, get-that-autograph people, and swoon-at-celebrity people take over the village.

The tip of a very large iceberg — Cooperstown draws crowds. 2004?


Along the lines of community, on Monday, I was reading a post from one of my favorite sites: The Rabbit Room.

It began with these words:

Recently, there have been a lot of conversations about how the Rabbit Room can best bring people together and support the work of creative communities across the world. We’re happy to tell you we’ve been listening, and today we are excited to lift the veil on the next frontier of the Rabbit Room experience.

How exciting, I thought.

As I read the next line, though, I became troubled.

We believe social media is the key to shaping the world into a better place.

Oh, golly, I thought. I guess we’re moving in different directions.

As they laid out their vision, I became more and more sure that this was a parting of the ways — until, that is, I came to the Grammar Police.

Our Grammar Police™ filter will automatically correct abbreviated textspeak and fill in you’re every missed Oxford comma, incorrect apostrophe and dangling modifier.

I looked at the “you’re” and the date, and started laughing. I had been April Fooled.

Well done, Rabbit Room.

To read the full post (and learn about the Chabbit), click here: Announcing the Next Evolution of the Rabbit Room

 

 

Important

My Rabbit Room gift exchange package ready to be mailed.

I took part in the Rabbit Room gift exchange this year. Below is a letter for the person whose name I drew.


Dear Rabbit Room Gift Exchange person,

I am so so sorry.

Spoiler alert: I bought a Baseball Hall of Fame cap for you. Since I live in Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, I included some something from there with my RR gift. I know, there’s nothing rabbit-y about the Hall of Fame, but it’s a little piece of me. Cooperstown is where I live and the Hall of Fame was my first job. There’s some more rabbit-y stuff in the box, too.

The baseball cap sat on the piano in the living room blithely waiting to be wrapped and mailed.

The other morning I went to check on my father. He has some dementia. From the dining room I could see he wasn’t in his chair. When I went in, I found him by the piano wearing your cap. It was awkwardly perched on his head because he hadn’t noticed the cardboard inserts inside the cap. He had, however, ripped off the tags and held them crumpled in his hand.

“DAD!” I fairly shrieked. You would have thought he was about to burn down the house.

He looked up at me, startled.

“No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-NO!” I said. “That’s NOT YOURS!”

Clearly he didn’t understand what was happening as I pulled the cap — your cap — off his head. I stomped off to the coat room, found a Red Sox cap, and brought it back to him.

“Here,” I said, not very nicely, “You can wear this one all day and all night. This one is yours.”

“Why would I want to wear a baseball cap all night?” he asked innocently.

I changed the subject. “This one,” I said, waving the Hall of Fame cap under his nose, “is a gift for someone.”

He looked at me blandly.

“It’s not yours,” I said again.

“I didn’t know it was something important,” he said.

“Yes, it’s important,” I said, even though I knew in my heart that it wasn’t.

For the next hour, he brought me things and asked the same question every time.

The first was a bobby pin — “Is this important?”

Then 17¢ in loose change — “Is this important?”

A scrap of paper with a grocery list written on it — “Is this important?”

A photograph.

A book.

A garden stone with the word “SUN” carved into it.

A spool of thread.

“Is this important?”

After about the third thing, it hit me how unimportant things are.

“You’re important, Dad,” I finally told him — and was glad for the lesson that I learned.

So I’m sorry about the crumpled tags that I stuck in the cap before I wrapped it for you. They served as a reminder to me of how easily I lost sight of what is important.

Enjoy the cap. May it (and this little story) remind you not to lose sight of what’s most important.

Merry Christmas!

The funny shaped package is a baseball cap.

 

 

My Rabbit Problem

I didn’t pause — that’s the problem. Yesterday I bought more rabbits.

Whenever I walk into Target, I pick up rabbits. Fortunately, I have to drive an hour to the nearest Target. Unfortunately, every time I’m in a city, I head to the nearest Target.

My father noticed this growing group of rabbits on the table. “Where do they come from?” he asked.

“They breed at night,” I told him, “when we aren’t looking.”

He laughed, but I know it wasn’t really an answer to his question.

He asks it repeatedly, and I’m a little embarrassed to confess to my obsession.

I admit to being a little crazy. I mean, I carry a rabbit in my pocket these days. I have conversations with the rabbit in my pocket — which really are conversations with myself or God — mindfulness exercises. But, yes, Tuga is with me throughout Lent.

His counterpart, Aleluja, is hidden until Easter.

I let my grandson, Henry, hold Tuga once when he was sad. When he set it down, I asked Helen to toss it to me. “Aren’t you going to let him keep it?” she asked.

Um, no.

I felt like Nicholas Cage in Con Air. Put… the bunny… back… in… the box.

So, when I saw another Tuga-Aleluja set at Target, I bought it for Henry’s Easter basket. I had already bought a set that I sent to my sister.

And now I have yet another set to send another friend.

I bought two rabbit candy dishes that I sent to friends. With chocolates, of course.

It started with two larger ceramic rabbits. I bought a third one yesterday. Because it was there as I walked in the store.

The original rabbits sit on the mantel where I put them when I finally took the nativity set down.

One of the mantel rabbits (and Tuga)

The real problem is the salt-and-pepper shakers. They’re the ones that breed.

Or jump into my shopping cart at Target.

I plan to send them to friends eventually.

Last week I bought some T-Rexes to keep the rabbits at bay.

Rabbits and T-rexes

It didn’t work. Two more bunnies have shown up.

The rabbits all remind me of people who are dear to me, who call themselves rabbits because of their/our affinity for the Rabbit Room, a website/community that I’m thrilled to be part of.

So, Target, as long as you keep putting rabbits out, I’ll probably keep buying them.

They say there’s a sucker born every minute. I’m definitely a sucker for rabbits.