The parsnip stands alone

What would Beatrix Potter do this weekend to mollify the preschool class rabbit? Offer parsley and parsnips? Lettuces and salsify?

Norton only wants to chew on items in my condo that are expressly forbidden. Most of the time he is quite happy sleeping in his cage with his head upon a parsnip. I felt bad about my tough love approach the first night of his visit, so I got a small bag of parsnips at Albertsons. This was a first, as I'm generally afraid of white root vegetables. It's a long story involving creamed turnips and future in-laws, but I'm out of therapy now, and we just won't mention it.

I cut up two parsnips for the ham-bone crockpot soup, and gave one to Norton. Then I went back to hoeing just like Mr. MacGregor. Norton snorted at the parsnip, and went back to flinging hay around his cage. Clearly, he was not placated. I offered him three delicious and nutritious cooked edamame, and he dumped them to the cage bottom newspaper. He'd already made his opinion of fresh green beans known. Nothing was going to do but a carrot, an apple core, and a celery heart, pronto!

Two days later, the parsnip is still vegetabla non grata. My soup was delicious, but Norton still snorts at his veggie. He would rather hide in a watering can than nibble on that parsnip. I haven't asked about his former in-laws since I don't want to search the Yellow Pages for a rabbit psychologist.

My young sons and I loved listening to cassette tapes of Bunnicula stories on long car rides. James and Deborah Howe's stories of the vampire rabbit presumed to suck the juice out of vegetables would have us laughing so hard our seatbelts hurt. The Celery Stalks At Midnight is one of my all-time favorite book titles.

Just as an aside, I was sad to read the obituary for Suzanne Pleshette this weekend. It seems completely plausible that her Emily Hartley would give Bob Newhart her support and sardonic advice for dealing with Norton's parsniphobia. Suzanne Pleshette ranks second to Barbara Feldon for favorite voices.

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