Grandpa watched his grandchildren as they romped and played in the field.
“Gramps,” Nate called, “Watch this!” The hare took a flying leap from a hill and tumbled three times before landing bottom first onto the soft ground.
“You okay, Son? That was quite a landing.”
Nate sat in a daze just a second before the rest of his cousins charged at him full speed. They surrounded him and pelted him with questions.
“Nate, watcha doing?”
“Why do you fly like that?”
“How come you don’t keep four feet on the ground like a normal bunny?”
“Why are you so weird?”
Their grandpa finally caught up with them to save his favorite little bunny. “Leave Nate be, all of you. Get on home. I’m sure it’s time for a nap or a spanking or something.”
The spoiled bunnies didn’t move so Grandpa pulled out his extra deep voice. “I said SHOO!” That sent them scattering.
Nate, still a little dizzy from his fall and all the questions from his cousins, wiped a tear away. “Sorry I’m different.”
“That’s nothing to be sorry about, Nate. You’re being yourself. That’s a good thing. All your cousins, I can’t even tell them apart. Mopsy, Topsy, Lopsy, Bopsy… All they do is hop and, well, hop.”
“Gramps, when I was up in the air, I saw something. I need you to follow me, okay?”
“Well, that depends, Son. What did you see?”
“I…” Nate put his head down.
“You’ve always been able to tell me everything. Put your chin up here and talk to me.”
“Grampa, I’m pretty sure I saw Paradise!” Nate talked fast, he was so excited. “You see, I’ve been jumping off this hill for awhile now, just so I could make sure what I’ve been seeing. And today…well, I know it’s real.”
“Slow down, Son. “What did you see?”
“I saw the Garden of Eden, just like you told us about from the Bible. We’re so close, Gramps! Can’t you smell those veggies?”
They both raised their noses and sniffed the air.
“No Son, I can’t smell anything but dandelions.”
“But you believe me, right?” Nate’s big brown eyes bore into his grandpa’s.
“Lead the way, Nate.”
Nathan’s smile took up his whole head. “Okay! Gramps, while we travel, please tell me again what it was like for all the animals to sit just outside of Paradise.”
“It was a horrible time. Our ancestors were used to vegetables as big as cars and as sweet as chocolate bars in the Garden of Eden. Can you imagine? No one fought over food, either. There was plenty for everyone! Eve treated the animals like pets, too. She loved them all, you know. Oh! That was the life. But after Adam and Eve sinned, well, it wasn’t easy.
“There was an angel guard at the gate of Paradise. No one could get in ever again. It’s been told the animals would stand there and drool. The angel finally had to get tough and shoo them away. They had to learn to go forage for themselves. Tough love, that’s when that phrase came into existence, I’m thinking.”
Nate giggled. “Like when you shooed away all my cousins today?”
“Adam and Eve made fences to keep out the animals then, right, Gramps? That’s when we became enemies?”
“I guess you could say that, Nate. They had to learn to grow their own food and they didn’t want animals to eat up all their hard work.”
“So ever since then, it’s been man verses animals, right Gramps?”
“Yes, that it has indeed.”
“I don’t like being this side of Paradise. I want to be where the good stuff is and I’m pretty sure I found it. Just look!” Nate and Gramps peered in through a hole in a wooden fence.
“Ooooooh.” Nate gasped.
They looked at each other. They raised their noses in the air and took a big whiff. They looked at each other again. They lifted their floppy ears. They took a whiff again. It was just too much to ignore.
“Nate, I do believe you did found Paradise.”
They squeezed under the fence.
“Gramps,” Nate whispered, “we’re not just outside Paradise anymore, are we?”
They stood, both noses twitching in delight.
“We should probably run home and tell everyone, huh?” Nate said.
“Probably.” Gramps answered.
Two rows of sugar beats and a half a row of carrots later, Grandfather and Grandson lay in a joyful stupor, just inside Paradise.
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