Monday, May 18, 2015

Eduardo the Adventure Bunny

Taunya and I were driving to the art store down in San Jose because I needed some illustration board. It's gotten harder to find good art supplies around here since some of the better places have closed, but the one down in San Jose is pretty good, though it's not in a very good section of town.

We turned left through one of the big busy intersections and we both saw a little brown furry thing in the very middle of the street. It looked at first like a squitty (a squashed kitty) but we looked again and realized it was probably a stuffed animal, maybe a bear. "Aww, that's sad" we said to each other, "someone must have tossed it out a car window and some little kid is going to be missing their furry friend" "and that poor stuffed animal is a lost toy now..."

About 1 minute later I had pulled a quick U-turn, pulled over to the side of the road, and Taunya was darting through traffic to rescue the stuffed animal. Some drivers looked at her like she was crazy, though a few had rueful smiles. She climbed back in the car holding a pitiful furry stuffed bunny, with a puzzled, slightly troubled look on her face. We turned around and drove on to the art store, and she looked the brown furry bunny over. The bunny's tummy crinkled like there was something inside of it. It was pretty beat up and grubby looking, and Taunya carefully put it down on the floor as we drove on, and didn't touch it again.

We went to the art store, browsed around and got stuff and eventually made our way back out to the car and drove home. We'd agreed we'd look the bunny over better once we got home and figure out what to do with it then.

Back home, the bunny crinkled like there was a plastic bag inside, and it was plain that he'd been stitched up very crudely in the midsection. He was grubby and worn and had rips in one ear and a number of other places, with worn fur as well. It was a pretty realistic looking bunny, and the design was pretty cute, but probably pretty cheaply made, maybe in China. Poor bunny, we agreed. What a sad bunny, to be discarded in the middle of a road. And what the heck was stuffed inside of him?

We cut the crude stitches and pulled out the rough threads and a plastic baggie with stuff in it was inside the bunny's middle. The baggie had a plastic section of a breathing tube and a wad of fiberfill stuffing attached to one end, with netting sewn over both ends of the tube. It was all pretty dirty and the tube was stained at one end; it had obviously been used for some sort of smoking, but we didn't know what the heck it was for; it was obviously homemade, crude and makeshift. There were no other things in the bunny, no drugs or anything else, though there were other spots where things might have been hidden at one time. Taunya did some research on the internet to see if she could figure out what the heck the stuff was for.

The internet is a pretty amazing thing, when you think about it. All the information you could want on just about anything is available right at your fingertips, even info about homemade drug paraphernalia... The baggie full of stuff must have been used for smoking meth, according to info on the web. The bunny was an innocuous way to carry around drug gear, and whoever had him must have needed to ditch the gear quickly and tossed the bunny out a car window. No way to know who or where it came from in such a busy intersection, really.

So now what, we asked each other. What should we do with this poor mis-used stuffed bunny? Everyone we showed the bunny to cringed away in revulsion, and wondered why we didn't just throw it away, but neither of us could bring ourselves to do that. So Taunya safety pinned the belly shut, and put the bunny in the washer. Three times, actually. We checked the bunny over again after that to see what was really damaged and decided to try to restore him.
I stuffed the bunny with new clean stuffing, and before we stitched his midriff up again we put a little net bag inside him with some lavender, a piece of yarn, a little stone for luck and protection, and a few other tiny things to counteract the horrible stuff he'd been forced to carry before. Sympathetic, protective magic, we told each other. I stitched him up neatly and then went on to repair and embroider his other torn parts. He would never be a beautiful bunny; the fur was too worn in parts and his face was pretty homely, but I stitched him a better face, one with some character, and we dubbed him Eduardo, because we both had the strong feeling that he'd belonged at one time to a little black-haired boy, and the bunny missed him.
Such a sad bunny. To us he seemed so lost and confused and puzzled about what had happened to him. I knit him a little cotton sweater after several people said his fur was kind of... creepy, or sad, or ugly, or weird. Nobody else seemed to get why we needed to fix him up. But both Taunya and I are moms with soft hearts and vivid imaginations. We've been on both ends of the lost toy spectrum, both as devastated little kids who lost their beloved toys, and as the helpless moms trying to comfort little children who have lost their special stuffies, so we were determined to save this one homely little bunny who might never have had a chance to be loved.

We took turns carrying him around and thinking what we should do with him. We decided to take him with us to go get Chinese food.
Once he'd gotten a couple of fortunes from fortune cookies, it seemed like he wanted more.
One fortune said: 'You have great physical powers and an iron constitution.' We agreed that seemed pretty true for a little stuffed bunny who had survived so much.The other fortune said: 'You must learn to broaden your horizons day by day.' Well then. Adventure Bunny it is, we told each other. Maybe we can take him around to places and he can have some positive experiences.
They don't have to be big adventures, we told each other. Just happy ones.
Taunya decided to set up a Facebook page for Eduardo, where we could post his adventures with some helpful links for things like how to get help if you're at risk, or you're afraid, or need someone to talk to. I decided to start some drawings that could be used for coloring, maybe eventually to make into a coloring book:
Eduardo is currently sitting at the piano, but I'm sure he'll be having some more little adventures soon, and new coloring pages will be linked on his Facebook page.