Now, I wasn't around when the following episode occurred, but I hear tell that it happened pretty much just as I'm about to relate.  Up to now this story had remained hidden from all historical accounts of the early years of the territory which we now fondly refer to as the Heartland of our great country.  After nearly 70 years of lying in a sealed file, the saga of the run-a-way hare population can now be told and retold for the benefit of coming generations.  The misdirected stigma of shame and embarrassment has been lifted and mankind can again take pride in its dominance over the wily beasts.  Here's what happened as uncovered by my meticulous research...

In the 'Good Ole Days' the Mississippi River was only a stone’s throw wide as it passed by the sleepy village of Hamilton.  In that time the shores of the Mighty Mississippi in this area were teeming with an abundant variety of animals, both big and small, and vegetation that all but compared to that which once was found in man’s domicile in the Garden of Eden.  Man was able to hunt and bring home to nourish his family a wide variety of delicacies including bird and foul, fish and crawly things, and every imaginable four footed morsel.  All was well and life was good.

One day in the early 1930s something changed.  The animals appear to have taken notice of their plight at the hands of man and the smartest of the animals, the hare, came up with a plan for survival.  They reasoned that if they raised larger families, making much more food available for mankind, sooner or later mankind would tire of the taste and relax in his hunt, turning to other food stuffs, thus regaining for the hare the tranquil existence it so desired. 

                Chasing hare into pen   

It didn’t take long for the hare population to increase, as we all have observed, if we have been anyplace near a rabbit hutch.  Soon hare were all over the banks of the Mississippi River, nibbling away at all the lush greenery.  They grew in size and voracity. The shear numbers of them were soon overwhelming and mankind became alarmed.  Having been given dominance over all species, man set about hunting the hare in numbers greater than the mind's eye can imagine.  Great round-ups were the order of the day.  The larger hare attempted to escape by leaping over their captors, to no avail.  Most were eventually captured with varying consequences.

Giant hare jumping auto          One possible outcome 

The crisis was over but alas, it was too late to save the banks of the Mississippi, as all vegetation had been stripped away.  The ground was laid bare and soon the prevailing winds swept across the River, billowing up all that soil into great clouds of dust which were so dense that the sun was blotted from the sky.  As the dirt became sky-bourne, the River was widened to the width of a mile where we find it to remain to this very day.  The dust blew on for days and days, traveling many miles until some reports say it was deposited again somewhere way out West.  Those settlers who had originally enjoyed life on the banks of the Mississippi were forced to pack up their remaining belongings and head west to catch up with their real estate.  That time in our history became known as the “Hares of Wrath”.

            The storm approaches

                                                                      Swirling dust everywhere                 

Some of the hare were carried aloft with the swirling dust and survived the storm. They were dropped into the West where they are flourishing to this very day with the new name of Jack Rabbit.  The banks of the Mississippi were left with only the harmless Bunny Rabbit which we have learned to love and enjoy.  The settlement of Hamilton has again recovered its lush green covering and is sleepily living in harmony with its surroundings.

I guess, if you want a moral to this story, it could be stated thusly:  "When attempting to alter what God has created, make sure you keep in mind God’s plans for mankind"; (and take care of your hare.)

Written without apology expressly for my family and friends, and published here on April Fools' Day, 2004  --  Bob

(Note: These photos were taken by the Stovall Studios, Dodge City, Kansas, and printed as post cards, available at 60 per dozen at that time. Yes, you are correct - the prevailing winds carried that dust Eastward, depositing it  to create the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, but  - This is my story!)

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