Some people might call them stuffed animals or say they are made of cloth. Technically, they would be right. But they are still real. If you can paint them, they must be real. We say goodbye to them when we leave the house, we tell them when we will be back, and we talk to them when we are in the bedroom, where they live.
Bunny Rabbit was the first. He is pink and white. When my wife and I met 40 years ago, she had a stuffed bunny on her bed and I commented that I didn’t believe I had ever had a rabbit when I was a child.
That Easter (1972), she gave him to me. Surprised, I said “a bunny rabbit” and so that became his name. He is the patriarch of the family that has grown up around him. A year later, I gave her the small white rabbit with the pink nose. He is Baby. Why? Because he is smaller, I guess. In our minds, he is younger than Bunny Rabbit.
About 20 years ago, we were at the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, and my wife saw the little black bunny with the green coveralls, surrounded by others on a table. He held a little tin pail, like a gardener, and had a sign around his neck that read “My name is Mo!” with an exclamation point. She said “look at this little guy,” and he came home with us. Bunny Rabbit and Baby loved him right away. We think Mo! seems kind of sad. It’s his expression. But he fits right in. I wish we had kept the card with his name on it.
Finally, at the same spot on Granville Island maybe 10 or 12 years ago, we saw the little brown bunny with the happy smile. We decided he should be named Greg after “Greg the Bunny,” a clever TV show about an animated bunny who works with humans. It didn’t last very long, but Greg has. He’s very good-natured and will gladly hold someone who needs a nap. He’s soft and cuddly.
For many years, they traveled with us. They have been all over the United States and Canada, and even to England. But now that there are four of them, they fill up a knapsack. More importantly, what if we lost them halfway around the world? Also, we can see that they are starting to show signs of wear, and the one lady we knew who could clean or repair them has retired. So they stay home now, and we think they like it that way. They take care of the house when we are gone and they are always happy to see us when we come home. They are wonderful companions. We always get cards from them at Christmas and for our birthdays. Various dictionary definitions of “real” include “existing,” “being an actual thing” and “genuine.” They are all that, and more.