December 1, 2008 | My Jottings
Today is the first day of the month, which means in our family, it’s time to say “Rabbit!”
When I was in the second grade in Southern California, my teacher, Mrs. Sarah Lokken, told our class that if you were the first to say “Rabbit!” to another person on the first day of the month, you would have good luck for that coming month. Even at age seven I don’t think I bought the good luck idea, but for forty-four years now, my friend Denel and I have been rabbit-ing each other on the first day of the month.
This strange tradition soon spread into my family, and even after I was married and had children of my own, my mom would call me on the phone on the first day of the month and as soon as I answered “Hello?” she would yell “RABBIT!” and then laugh when I would groan, “You got me!”
For almost twenty-eight years my husband has been trying to beat me to the rabbit punch. Most times he waits until just past the stroke of midnight when I’ve already been fast asleep for hours, and he reaches over to gently shake me just enough to wake me, and then gleefully whispers in my ear, “Rabbit!” The rat.
Any way our family members can be the first to rabbit someone, we’ll try. My daughter Sharon often gets me first in an e-mail. The subject line will say, “RABBIT!” and when I open the e-mail, she has written, “Ha ha ha I got you hee hee ho tee hee!!!” Keep in mind she’s thirty-one and I’m fifty-one, but what can I say?
On November 1st a month ago, I heard my cell phone chime its familiar incoming text tune. I opened the text from my friend Denel, and can you guess what she had texted across the miles to me? “RABBIT!” Ohhh! She got me, that stinker! I said to myself. But I also smiled. And a lifetime of memories came flooding back.
So far, the various in-laws have been a little slow to catch on to the rabbiting phenomenon. When my very practical son-in-law Chris first heard about this family tradition and realized his wife (and my daughter) was going to enthusiastically say “Rabbit!” to him on the first day of each month for the rest of his life, he asked, “And you all do this why?” And who can blame him? We aren’t even sure ourselves why we do it. We don’t really believe we’ll be “luckier” than someone else if we blurt out the word before they do. We just like to say rabbit. It makes us smile. It makes us feel connected. It makes us remember.
I hope that when I’m just a memory to my grandchildren, they’ll be proudly continuing the rabbit tradition. But for today, allow me to be the first to proclaim to you in print, “Rabbit!!”
Now you know about this. You might want to go and pass it on.