Do You Know Thumper “Uncle” Hare?

Posted on April 24, 2011


This is one of my favorites.  This was a post from April 1, 2010 on April Fools Day!

It all started when a svelte, long white-haired swimmer named Thumper “Uncle” Hare joined the Countryside Swim Team in the heart of the southern live oak district of Georgia.  He had giant feet that seemed to thump on land but acted like flippers in the water. He would tuck his big ears into his swim cap and be fierce competition for even the fastest.  Thumper was a tad bit cocky, and he was much faster than he even thought, but that has nothing to do with this story.

Side note: Thumper also enjoyed a brief but brilliant career as an actor starring in films such as Bambi, Moon over the Brier Patch, A man and his 36 kids, and Something to do with a Turtle, as well as a appearing in a few short commercials for hare spray and vegetable growing once he was black-balled for being difficult to work with.

Anyway, on the swim team were a bunch of different athletes that ranged in talent and skill, but there was one young lady he was always fond of.  Her name was Rebecca “JollyJill” Kringle, an exchange student from Norway who was a larger-the-life, bubbly, sheet-white girl that loved everyone!  She was the nicest girl on the team and enjoyed doing things for the other kids!  As a matter of fact, back in Norway, her granddad, an Olympic swimmer for Norway, now had a huge toy making factory in the northern mountains, which seemed to be the source of her joy.

Thumper and JollyJill hit it off immediately! He would always kid around with her in workouts, trying to get her off her game (she was very dedicated), and he was more of a playful foe who could rely on insane athletic talent to get by. This flirtatious relationship carried on until one day when they were both swimming backstroke in warm down when they hit each other head on. When she looked up, she gazed into his red beady eyes and she knew something was up; she felt weird, so did he…his nose was moving so fast, like a rabbit who just found a carrot patch!

They became “an item” but soon broke up when JollyJill was suddenly called home to Norway and their tale went to in the history books…..well, not really.

You see, their families kept that story hidden deep in the family library, 3rd bookshelf from the top, left side, behind the April fools jokes. …I mean a rabbit-fast kid from the South and a fine young lady from Norway? It seemed scandalous…But I know the real story and I’m here to tell it to you all.  Because my old, old, swim coach, Sylvester P. Remus, told me the story. (Man it’s been a long time!) Coincidently, he also went by the name “Uncle” back in the day.

You see, it wasn’t too long after JollyJill returned to Norway when a child was born, her child. And he had long feet and big ears.  Her parents just couldn’t bear the sight of it, so the babe was sent to an orphanage to be raised.

Meanwhile back in America, Thumper was so heartbroken over JollyJill’s departure that he developed a terrible addiction to spiked carrot juice, and eventually was kicked off the swim team before heading to rehab. (This was when he met an up and coming young film director, who gave him his first break by casting him as an extra in The Jungle Book.)

As for Thumper and JollyJill’s child?  It turns out he was adopted by legendary swim coach Thor Ben Svimin, who named the child Ralph and raised him in the competitive swim environment. Only one problem, despite his coming from a long line of swimmers, Ralph didn’t float very well. And, he was much, much smaller than his teammates. So,  Thor invented a genius floatation device of hollowed out eggs connected by a straw.  It was by using these eggs, which of course turned green in the chlorine, that Ralph learned to cherish the colorful eggs.

As he grew older, Ralph was called to missionary work, and as he travelled he was shocked to see so many children unable to swim.  So, Ralph dedicated his life to leaving the tiny, colorful floatation devices in the yards of children.  Each springtime, just as the weather warmed up and children started heading for the pools, Ralph would visit the houses, spreading the life-saving eggs.

Maybe you have heard of him, his name was Ralph “Easter” Hare, but generations have gone on to call him the Easter Bunny.

Special note: One thing you didn’t know is Mr. Easter Bunny is related to Kris Kringle, “Santa Claus” on his mother’s side.  Weird uh?  You guys are the first people I’ve ever told!  It’s about time this story gets out and people see what an influence swimming has had in our lives and cultural traditions!

So if you celebrate Easter and find a bright colorful egg in your yard Sunday morning… remember, it’s not really an Easter egg. It’s a life-saving floatation device! And you can thank your coach for it at your next swim practice.

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