If you read my post last night, about some of the simple but charming things that I enjoyed seeing at last weekend’s Madoc Fair, you might remember that one such thing was the soft and cuddly baby bunnies who were among the pettees at the fair’s petting zoo. (I didn’t share my photo of the little white one because I was saving it for tonight’s post. And now you have it. Isn’t he/she adorable?)
A day or two after our visit to the fair I was reminiscing aloud about petting and holding the bunnies. “They were so soft!” I told Raymond.
Whereupon he took it upon himself to remind me of a phenomenon from both of our childhoods that I had utterly, utterly forgotten:
“Well of course they’re soft,” Raymond replied. “Why do you think people used to always carry around rabbits’ feet?”
Wow – it all came back to me with a bang. Rabbits’ feet! On keychains! Everybody seemed to have them, didn’t they? Or was it just the kids? But wait a minute; my memory must be faulty on that front. Those 1960s days of my childhood in Queensborough were days when kids had absolutely no need for keys, or keychains. No house was ever locked, and besides, mum was always home. So why did all the kids have rabbits’ feet? Were they just a loose thing they kept in their pockets and purses?
And more to the point: were they real? Did a bunny really give up a foot for each of those soft little pocket and purse treasures?
And even more to the point: what the heck was that all about? I mean, I vaguely know that there’s an old tradition of a rabbit’s foot bringing good luck, but was that why people had them? Or was it just a midcentury fad of some sort? (Clearly it wasn’t just a Queensborough fad, if Raymond, who grew up in Lowell, Mass., also remembers it.)
Much as I treasure Raymond, I really wish he hadn’t reminded me of the rabbit-foot phenomenon. I have a ghastly feeling that, if those furry little feet were real, an awful lot of rabbits were raised just so they could be killed and their feet chopped off and marketed. And that’s just awful.
Which makes me very happy to say that I personally never had a rabbit’s foot. And neither did anyone in my family. Poor little bunnies! Far better they should be kept intact, four feet and all, to be picked up and petted at the Madoc Fair.