THE OPERATIC MUSIC PLAYING ON the car radio didn't sound funereal, I mused. And here I was, on my way to help do a burial, a shovel on the back seat of my car.
Mary (is what I'll call her) and her husband have been my most enduring tenants. When I was a complete greenhorn of a landlord, they were there. And so was their pet bunny--their dear little Muffy (fake name, as well). "Yes," I had told them. "Yes, of course you can keep your dear Muffy. There's a 'No Pets' policy for all others, but you can keep Muffy."
It was a few years later that Mary had sorrowfully informed me--Muffy had died. "We had to have her cremated," she said, "since we had no place to bury her."
"Oh," I said, "I'm so sorry. There are lots of places here on the property where she could have been buried."
That was eleven long years ago--eleven years during which another little rabbit (I'll call her Missy) frisked and played and grew quite old in the apartment of Mary and her husband. (Yes, yes, I had said, for all others, it's still 'no pets'; but for you, I'll allow another rabbit.)
Now this morning Mary had left me a message on my little white business phone. "We have to take Missy and have her put to sleep," she said, her voice filled with grief. "She cried so much last night, and she's in so much pain." She paused. "I was wondering if we could bury her here at the apartments. I remember what you said when Muffy died...."
I remembered it, too. "Of course," I called to assure her.
"Well, we're leaving right now," Mary said, when I spoke to her. "We'll probably be back in an hour. Can you come and show us where...? And...uhm.......we don't have a shovel.""I'll be there at noon," I said.
And so it was, Dear Reader, that I found myself contemplating the loud operatic music and mulling over possible burial spots as I headed for the apartments.
Fifteen minutes later, Mary and her husband and I are standing at a spot we have jointly chosen for Missy's eternal resting place.
It seems ideal to me--under the boughs of an evergreen tree, out of the way of lawnmowers, and only a stone's throw from the front door of those who are grieving her passing.
Yes, we have settled on the spot. And I have the shovel. Mary is tenderly holding Missy in the white cardboard box--(Such a nice box! she says. So nice of them to give it to us!). But... hmm...Mary's husband has a bad back. And...hmm, the soil contains a lot of clay.
I'm struck with the sudden realization that I am the funeral director here. And, Dear me, I have no one to dig the grave! (That yard man of mine is not available, but he had offered this helpful advice as I fetched the shovel from the storage shed--The most important thing is, make sure the hole is DEEP! You don't want some animal digging up that bunny!
(I'll have to continue this later, Reader Dear. I'm frantically pondering this unexpected hole--I mean role--I've dug for myself.)