You’re going to be jealous when you find out what I did this week. I touched a crocodile! Yes, a live, living crocodile who was born at a wild animal park. Did I forget to mention he was a baby, only three feet long and both ends were being held by a park guy? Still, I wasn’t going to do it at first---it was a crocodile, for crying out loud and I’m rather smitten with my fingers---but then I remembered that I’m a blogger and what better material to use than an encounter with a creature who, as it turned out, had a baby-smooth underbelly and surprisingly soft, pliable skin on his back and tail. He didn’t feel anything like the pair of sexy, spike heeled alligator shoes I wore back in the ‘60s and are still in the back of my closet, waiting for a-line dresses and my skinny-Minnie figure to come back. Okay, I’ll admit I never had an Audrey Hepburn-like figure but there were a few years when I worked out at a gym every night on the way home from work and they owned a magic mirror that lied to me. I was five foot seven and a half, weighed 125 pounds---a cow by today’s standards. And I’d do anything but diet and exercise to get that body back. But I digress.
Let’s backtrack: Thursday I hopped on the senior hall bus to go to an 80 acre wild animal park. It was one of four buses that went and because someone screwed up---not me---I got scheduled to go early in the morning instead of on an afternoon bus. I don’t do mornings well. I’m stuck in my ways and so is the dog. He never gets up before ten even though I usually make it up by eight for my coffee and computer time. But Thursday we both rolled out of bed when the alarm went off at 6:00 and ten minutes later we were walking around the neighborhood before the dew was off the grass and before the chilly night air had lifted. I get why people like that time of the day. Its quiet beauty promises something the afternoon heat and hustle of the working class can’t deliver.
I also got to pet a Red Kangaroo, a 5-6 pound baby that the park guy was carrying around in a denim pouch with a draw string closing her in. It had been rejected by its mother and they have to bottle feed it. Its fur was so soft and its eyes were curious, expressive and milk chocolate brown with bright yellow cat-eye like pupils. They start out the size of a cherry at birth but these kangaroos grow to six foot tall, 200 pounds and are known for their kick boxing. The park guy who did all the animal encounter demonstrations was quite the character. Probably gay, had a thick Spanish accent, told corny jokes and was a trained falconer who had exotic birds flying over our heads “hunting” grapes or bits of meat in the case of an Asian owl that was so close above my head I could have touched him. That owl was only six months old but will grow up to have a six feet wing spread! The park has 800 birds---70 different species, with 18 species that are threaten species in a breeding program.
Part of our time at the park we rode around in a tram looking at their 460 mammals representing 64 species that were grazing in large fields and on foot we sawed their birds and 36 species of reptiles and amphibians---a third of the animals in the park I’ve never seen or heard about before. They did have a few more common stuff like camels, zebras and buffalo and we got to feed the Reticulated Giraffes. God, are they big! For the little kids they had a pen full of African Pygmy Goats who loved carrot sticks. They were every bit as much fun to watch as that video going around the internet of baby goats wearing pajamas. The park actually started out as an exotic animal and bird breeding farm and opening it up for tourists came much later. It was a great day trip for only $23.00 including transportation, the entrance fee, muffins and bottled water. I spent another $2.00 for a buffalo tooth. Don’t ask me why. It was in the gift shop and I had an overwhelming desire to buy something. It was a choice between an ice cream bar or the tooth and at the time I was remembering those great alligator shoes in the closet that can only be worn with a skinny body.
It was a fun day with only one sour notes in the form of a couple of bus mates wearing “choose life” and MAGA hats. When you get on a bus headed for fun leave your politics at home, people! In this tinderbox climate we’re living in wearing your politics on your clothing---like Melania did with the “I don’t care, do u?” jacket---is trolling for blow-back and debate. I was on my best behavior. I didn’t give them any snide remarks or dirty looks. But coming on the heels of Trump's manufactured border crisis and the fact that our next Supreme Court justice will have to pass a pro-life Litmus Test I would have liked to have shoved those trollers in with the adult Red Kangaroos for a good kick boxing match. ©
|The baby red kangaroo|
|the Asian owl|
and for fun, the pajama party video