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THIS AND THAT: Where, oh where, is Petunia Honey Bunny?

January 5, 2019

“Has anyone seen Petunia Honey Bunny?’

Those were the first words we heard upon arrival at the Christmas beach house. And they were not spoken in a nonchalant way. There was urgency in the question.

Petunia Honey Bunny (PHB for short) is the dear friend of our youngest grandchild, Aviv. The two, a 1½-year-old child and a stuffed toy rabbit, are inseparable. At least they were before we got to the beach.

PHB and family had driven to the South Carolina coast from Chicago to celebrate the holiday in what we can now call a CHEW (Copeland-Hammett-Escobar-Wallace) clan tradition. If it happens once, it’s a singular event, twice and it’s a trend, three times and a family tradition has been created. The15 of us get together at a rented beach house and enjoy the one time of the year we are all under the same roof.

As the cars were getting unpacked, however, PHB could not be located. There were suitcases, bags with gifts, crates with food, boxes with toys, but no PHB. George, our Chicago grandson’s stuffed toy monkey, was being carried around the house, but PHB was nowhere to be found.

We all stopped what we were doing and spread out across the four levels of the house in the frantic search for PHB. Would there be any sleep if PHB couldn’t be located? Would the week turn into one scream fest after another with a whiney toddler?

We looked on the ground floor in the garage area. We searched on the first floor with the living room, family room, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, laundry room and baths. No PHB.

The search went up to the other two levels even though it was almost a certainty Aviv had not climbed the stairs.

The car with the Illinois license plates was searched once again. And twice again. The ground around the car and leading to the front steps was scoured with anxious eyes. No PHB. Where could she be?

Fortunately there was so much else going on in the house with lots of faces and warm hugs that PHB was not at the top Aviv’s mindset. Still, we wanted to find her.

The next day with no PHB uncovered, we all came to the realization that the bunny was not at the coast. She must be somewhere else. But where?

The family had made several stops on the way from Chicago to Fort Mill where they spent a day. PHB was in Fort Mill, for she was the comfort needed when Aviv became ill. There was even a strong memory of the bunny being in the car when they loaded the vehicle for the trip to the ocean.

Then my daughter came to a dreadful realization. On the way out of Fort Mill, they had stopped at a CVS store to get medicine for the 1-year-old. Her pediatrician from Chicago had phoned it in, and they went to pick up the prescription. The door on her side of the car had been opened. Without anyone realizing it, PHB must have fallen onto the cold parking lot pavement.

We all had images of a wet, cold, bedraggled bunny lying on unforgiving asphalt. Perhaps even run over several times by drivers who weren’t paying attention. They didn’t know that PHB was a dear friend and constant companion.

Now sure that the CVS was where PHB was last seen, my daughter made a phone call – all but certain that it would be to no avail. Someone at the store answered and had the sad saga of the missing PHB explained. Then came the Christmas miracle. A customer had found PHB and turned her into the front counter. She had spent a comfortable night in the warmth of the store.

A friend of my Fort Mill daughter drove over to recover PHB and plans were made for the bunny to be sent to Chicago in the coming days. It will be PHB’s first flight with a happy reunion sure to occur.

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