Gomer the rabbit
David Koontz is fifty-three year old man who was born in the rural farming community of Bedford, Pennsylvania. As a young adult he joined the United States Air Force during which time he converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He then went to BYU and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in International Relations. He has served in the United States Air Force for over thirty years and earned the rank of Colonel. Currently he is stationed in Washington DC, but plans to retire next year and move to Mendon, Utah to live with his family. David enjoys Family History research, reading history books, doing yoga, and looks forward to the time when he can have his own colony of beehives. David is my father.
David always tell stories about his pets, especially when I tell him something that my rabbits have done. Recently he Skyped and I asked him to tell me about Gomer so I could record it since David is very into recording things for future generations.
Gomer was my bunny, he was so cute. I don’t know exactly how it started; I suspect that they would get out sometimes. Gomer would get out, Gomer was a bit of a free spirit like Sparkle, and he would get out of his cage upstairs in the barn, and he would go downstairs. He’d be wandering around and eventually I think I got to the point where he got out and once he got out he had a place under the barn where he lived and he liked it down there. You know what else I think it was? When he first got out you didn’t really catch him because it was hard to catch him, so once he got out I just decided to rearrange the cages and I just put another bunny in his pen, because he was quite content to be under the barn. He had a little crawl space under there that he found. I knew where it was, I eventually found it. So Gomer would just live under the barn and so he’d just run around the barn. He lived under it like I said, but he’d run around the area, but he wouldn’t go too far because it was safety for him, because he knew where to hide and he had his other bunny friends up there that he would go upstairs and visit with. But, Gomer, many a morning, I’ll never forget it, especially in the spring when the grass was really turning green and coming up, many a morning your Grandmother would come up and say look out the window. I would go over and look out the window and there would be Gomer. He would come over into the yard like over by your Grandmother’s porch, and he’d be in the yard right there and just be out there eating grass, looking around the whole time and he would run across the road back under the barn, run around, and whatnot. It got to where I found out if I wanted to catch him what his weakness was. It was clover. He loved clover, especially the little balls. So if I ever wanted to catch him all I had to do was take the clover in the summer when the clover was up, I would go out up the road and pull, because the clover grew wild from everybody’s hay fields and I could just go up along the road and pull a bunch of clover stalks, with the heads especially. I would go up to the barn and he had a little crawlspace up there and all I had to do was take the clover and just put it at the edge and he couldn’t resist it. He would slowly come down and start to nibble at the clover and I would move a little, like a half inch out and he’d move a little closer and I’d keep sliding it back and he’d keep coming until finally he’d get close enough to where I could reach down and pick him up. Because he’d be sitting there eating it and he wouldn’t run away from me, he was a pet, so I’d pick him up and sit there and hold him and pet him, and feed him clover. He was a sucker for clover balls so I’ll never forget that, it was so cute. Gomer was out there for years ‘til he passed away, I mean like five years or something like that. I would leave food for him so he always had food. That’s where he lived, under the barn. He would be in the yard a lot during the spring and summer and just run around. He was my bunny. Oh and you know what was nice about him? He was a big buck and he had a lot of grays and browns in him, like a harlequin, as far as his color pattern. He had grays, light brown and a bit of white. He was cute, and a good bunny.
David told this story fondly and excitedly. It was as if he was right back there with Gomer. He was animated and used lots of hand gestures while telling the story. When speaking of clover he emphasized the word clover and said it slowly and drawn out slightly. His face was quite expressive and at times he spoke in a higher pitched voice when describing how cute he thought Gomer was. There were several times that he chuckled.
This story has always meant so much to me. My dad is a tough military commander, but when it comes to animals and his daughters he gets all soft. He told this story to me so many times growing up and it made me want a rabbit that much more, since I always wanted one. Gomer showed me that rabbits are so much more than cute and cuddly critters; they have personality and can be best friends. When I got my first rabbit Sparkle it was so exciting and I wanted us to be like dad and Gomer which has been true for the last nine years.