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I was watching the Lion King with my granddaughter the other night. Love that movie and hearing her sing “I just can’t wait to be king” is hilarious. I started thinking as I watched the jungle unfold, “what would a volunteer manager Disney movie be about?”  Well, it might be a bit like this:

In this Disney movie the volunteer manager is a cute, spunky rabbit, “Willing” or “Willie” for short who gathers all the woodland creatures together to save the forest. There’s the socially challenged skunk, “Clingy” who shyly wants to fit in somewhere. She is shunned by the other animals and wants to spend all of her time with the rabbit and become best of friends. ‘Clingy” the skunk even gets the rabbit’s cell phone number and thinks nothing of texting or calling “Willie” at home during rabbit dinner.

Then there’s the old wolf, “Change”, a predator really who, now that he’s older and lost his mate and most of his pack, would like to do something to help the forest. He’s been alpha male his whole life, cheated on his mate, fought with the other wolves and lived to serve his needs. Now, he’s aging and afraid of death. He is docile, more like a dog than a proud wolf but his heart is strong. He obediently accepts whatever the rabbit gives him and checks in constantly to make sure he’s done the job correctly. “Willie” both admires and fears “Change”, and shivers when “Change” smiles, because his teeth are still sharp.

The squirrel, “Nutso” is busy, always gathering nuts and running from tree to tree. “Nutso” chatters and says yes to anything the rabbit asks, then scurries off across the branches. The squirrel seldom follows through, but scampers back in and asks, “why didn’t you call me Willie? I would have come running?”  The squirrel is full of great ideas and even greater excuses. Willie finds “Nutso’s” half-eaten nuts buried everywhere.

The owl, “Stable as Hell” is the wise bird who shows up occasionally. How the rabbit wishes there were 50 wise owls because “Stable” not only does what is asked of him, he gives the rabbit good feedback. He only gives what is asked and then flies off, those great wings fanning the leaves as he goes. “Willie” chases after “Stable” as he flies away, tripping over a half-buried nut, bruising his rabbit paw.

The deer, “Meekly” is quiet, preferring to work in the back and would rather support all the other creatures. The deer is shy by nature and the rabbit needs to encourage the deer. Without praise and acknowledgement, “Meekly” can’t tell whether she has done the job correctly. The rabbit needs to be close at hand to answer the deer’s questions and assure the deer that she is needed. While “Willie” is sitting by the deer, “Clingy” becomes jealous and storms out.

Then there’s the hunters, “the bean counter gang” who come with guns. The rabbit has to protect all the woodland creatures from the hunters who will destroy the work with their mean comments and refusal to integrate the animals into their world. They complain bitterly, destroy nests, forcing the animals to rebuild elsewhere. “Willie” is on constant lookout for these humans. There is one human “Exceptional Staff Member” though, who hikes quietly into the forest and brings food and water and does no harm, so the rabbit is hopeful there are others like him.

At night, “Willie”, exhausted, returns to the rabbit hole where the rabbit family awaits. It’s time for a rabbit aspirin and a glass of carrot wine. There is the rabbit spouse and the rabbit children and homework and chores and family gatherings.  “Willie” loves it when rabbits from other parts of the forest call and share advice and stories. There are tales of the snake and the hawk and the very sick mouse. As “Willie” snuggles down into the burrow, she dreams of a perfect forest. “I’ll get there one day” she mutters as the rabbit alarm shrieks. “Willie” sits up, her mind reeling with the many tasks facing her. The hunters will be out in force today. Stretching, “Willie” picks up her phone and makes a note to stop and buy two more bottles of carrot wine.

-Meridian