Once upon a time, in the South and elsewhere, it was traditional to name the homestead. The larger estates especially were given titles by their families, with one of the most famous examples being the fictional Tara of Gone With the Wind fame. Now, our house isn't sitting on acres and acres of family land. We certainly don't have a family plot in the back where we can go out, stand over our departed ancestors and reminisce about how they poured their blood sweat and tears into the soil, while our bored young ones wonder how we got to be so long-winded.
Not that we don't have a plot out back, you understand. Just, none of our relatives are buried there. Or any other people. It's for our departed pets only, I promise. Moving on…
So, how did our house get a name? In GWTW's "Tara," they combined Irish heritage with Georgia's "red earth," but since our house hasn't hosted any fancy holiday balls recently (although we have been known to fry up a mean turkey, come Thanksgiving), using some defining characteristic of the property didn't really make sense. I'm sure you Gentle Readers already know what sets us apart from the rest of the world, though: clinical insanity. No, I'm kidding, it's the animals. I think. I'm pretty sure it's the animals. Once again, moving on...
Fans of the original Star Trek series might remember an episode entitled "The Menagerie." Not to bore the rest of you, but basically the idea was that aliens with massive brains and some time on their hands tried to entrap a Starfleet captain and add him to their "zoo." The brand new series was going for a high-brow, intellectual angle, so they used the French word for a collection of various animals on display, instead of our own perfectly good English word. Since our household had become known for its collection of critters, and since we happen to be some serious sci-fi nerds too, it made perfect sense to our usual visitors to pay homage to that ground-breaking series by doing the same.
Of course, I'm making it sound like one day everyone just sat down and said "Hey: let's name this house!" But it's more accurate to say that as friends and family have come and gone through our humble abode, they've noticed the sheer personality of the people and pets taking on an identity of its own. When a friend of ours told someone that she was "headed over to The Thomas Menagerie later," our fate was sealed. From there the name had only one simple step further to evolve, and our house rabbits stole the show: "The Menagerie" became "The Bunagerie" in no time at all.
There have been many different animals in our house, but there's no question that the bunny rabbits have shaped the whole set-up in their image. Other houses have a "living room;" ours has a "bunny room." Adult and child visitors alike are routinely surprised to see our indoor buns, and especially the young ones are delighted to see the Fuzzykins come hopping up to get an introductory sniff of the visitors when they first come in. Smaller children are just entranced when given the opportunity to pet the bunnies on the nose or between the ears, and no one of any age has yet resisted a smile when holding out a carrot or some parsley for the bunnies to snack on.
We still have cats, several in fact. They've been around the rabbits forever, so mostly they don't pay much attention until the long-ears start showing too much interest. Then the poor kitties run and hide, while the Hippy-hops find other things to occupy their interest. We still have the bird, but he is generally unimpressed with anyone but himself. The kids are home less and less as they get more and more involved in activities outside the house, and move on to college. And sadly, we've seen a number of our bunnies take that trip over the Rainbow Bridge. Even so, their imprint has been indelibly made upon our hearts and home.
They've certainly made a name for themselves in the process.
Does your home have a name, special quirks or defining characteristics? Share them in the comments below!