june 30, 2020—thunder and fireworks and cars, oh my.

Rocco’s new/used Thundershirt, 5$ Craigslist score over the weekend—sporty yet functional, the clingy fabric not only accentuates his chiseled physique, but seems to be helping with the poor fella’s fireworks/thunderstorm/car-induced anxiety—and I lived to tell the tale.

I told both my sisters, on separate occasions, about my recent fabulous find: about how Thundershirts are around forty bucks new, about how I tried one years ago which didn’t seem to do much for Rocco, about how evidently, the 4th of July starts in May in my new neighborhood, about how, between fireworks and thunderstorms of late, poor li’l guy’s a basket case and nothing has helped to settle him down—CBD oil, Rx drugs—nothing. Instead of buying new, I thought I’d give good ol’ Craigslist a try; it’s served me so well in the past. As luck had it, I found a few Thundershirts listed, sent off a few emails to the sellers, then took off for the dog park. Got a text from one of the Craigslist people who happened to live in south Mpls, close to where we happened to be at the dog park. After our frolic, we swung by the seller’s house, tried on the shirt; not a perfect fit, but hey, for five bucks, we made it work.

I hand the masked (yay!) woman a five, she asks, “Hey, how limber are you?” Not gonna lie—she caught me off guard with her curious question. But, before I can answer, she tells me that she was weeding her front flower beds and scared a baby bunny out from her hostas, which leapt into an egress window well and was now trapped. She walks me over to the window, we peer over the edge. Sure enough, down at the bottom, a tiny ball of fur sat motionless in a corner. “I’ve got bad knees and a bad back, there’s no way I can get down there to rescue it,” she tells me, as though she could tell that I am a climber of trees, a saver of turtles in the road and ants trapped in my bathtub and wasps in my bedroom and stray dogs on the street. Or maybe I just looked like the world’s biggest sucker. “Of course I’ll climb down and scoop the little bunny out,” I said, as I put Rocco back in the car.

When I get to this part, about lowering myself into the window well that’s almost as deep as I am short, about 5 feet, give or take a few inches, BOTH of my sisters, on separate occasions, interrupt me with a piercing shriek. “What the HELL is WRONG with you, Jennifer Kay Hildebrandt??!! What part of ‘how limber are you?’ don’t you understand?!” they both cry out. “That’s how people get MURDERED! Baby rabbit my ass—don’t you remember Silence of the Lambs—’It rubs the lotion on the body or it gets the hose again!!!’??!!! She was going to club you with the shovel and someone in the basement was waiting to drag you by the feet into the house through the window!”

I burst out laughing, “Well, I’m sitting here telling you the story, so obviously murder didn’t happen—I wouldn’t have done it if I felt at all unsafe! Do you want to hear how my story ends or not?” It’s anticlimactic, really, other than I had no idea that baby bunnies are so fast and have an astonishing vertical jump—the terrified li’l bun almost launched its own escape up and out of the window well a few times. After several failed attempts, I finally caught it in a dish towel and released it back into the hostas.

I climbed out of the window well, unscathed, shook hands with the seller, sanitized my mitts in the car, then headed for home, happy in the knowledge that Craigslist is still a source of strange joy for me. In these challenging days of covid-19 and righteous revolution, most of us are trying to stay as safe as we can, while staying as connected as we can, helping each other whenever we can, however we can. Keep on keepin’ on, y’all. And don’t forget about Craigslist for all your household, yard, creative and thrill-seeking needs. xo.

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