Speaking of animals....most of my friends loooovvvve their furry creatures. Because I am not such a fan of sleeping with anything wilder than my husband, I am considered weird. But you must understand WHY our four footed friends don't do much for me.
First, when I was smaller I had several "run -ins" with our hairy friends, and I don't forget "near death" experiences quickly. When I was about four years old, my mother and I were living with my Nannie in Sardis because my daddy was a Naval aviator and was gone from home on a tour of duty. Halloween came and I was dressed like a gypsy. I had high hopes for that night and was ready to go trick or treating.
I was not a typical gypsy. My costume consisted of diamond earrings, a fringed shawl draped around my shoulders, velvet elf house shoes with gold bells on the upturned toes and a very full skirt and blouse. I had on eye makeup and lots of red lipstick. I had a little friend across the street who happened to also be visiting his grandmother that fateful night. His name was Rusty. (Now that's a name you don't hear very often today.) He had very curly black hair, not red as you'd expect. This tidbit of info figures prominently into the latter part of the story.
I was impatiently waiting for my grandmother to take me trick or treating, but we couldn't go anywhere until Petey the Parakeet was fed and watered. Now on a good day, I wasn't fond of Petey. Once he bit my finger and he got seeds all over the place. I liked his blue green colored feathers, but that was about it for me and Petey. That night my Aunt Vera accidentally let Petey get too close to his cage door and out he flew. I was terrified of Petey when he was caged, but when he made the great escape, I thought I'd die. He flapped his wings and dive bombed us and lit on the top of the door. He'd flutter around as I cowered in the corner screaming for somebody to "catch Petey!"
Most normal children would have loved all the commotion...my grandmother trying to catch Petey, me screaming at the top of my lungs, Aunt Vera running around with a fly swatter to "swish" the wild eyed bird back into his cage and my very pregnant mother trying to calm little Gypsy! Just as Petey made another swooping lunge, someone knocked at the door. I broke loose and ran for the door and there stood a 3 1/2 foot tall red Devil complete with mask, horns, and a pitchforked tail! It was Rusty but I didn't know that and with one look I took off running and screaming like a banshee through the house with Petey on my tail! Everyone, including Rusty the devil and his grandmother ran after the hysterical gypsy. I locked myself in my Nannie's room and wouldn't come out.
They finally got me calmed down, promised the devil had gone home and coaxed me out of the room with a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I spent the remainder of the evening in bed surrounded by all the women in my life. When I woke up the next morning, you could still see the traces of red lipstick and the gypsy shawl had been draped over me. Later, the devil's grandmother brought me some candy as an apology gift, which I gratefully accepted.
I have many more stories like this when the animals smelled my fear and advanced on me, but they are for another day. I will end with this to prove that I am not a total wimp when it comes to animals. Once my husband thought it'd be a very educational experience to take our vacation and drive to Texas to the Game Preserve. We drove for what seemed like hours through brush with wild animals leaping and running all around the car. A camel came up to MY window and licked the window. Now that was sure a treat. BTW: why was a camel at a wild game preserve anyway?
Anyhoo, #1 Son wanted to ride a game preserve elephant and it sounded like a great father/son bonding experience to me. But oh, no, you remember Chicken Daddy, don't you? Well, "No!" he wasn't going to ride the elephant. It cost too much to ride. (Sounds like a cop out to me.) So after some prodding, I decided I'd ride with my child. I have posted the picture for verification that I actually did ride the pachyderm and it wasn't a half bad experience! Notice the other picture is Chick Dad coming face to face with something...maybe a buffalo?
Lessons to be Learned:
1. Dress your children in age appropriate costumes. Remember that gypsies and devils do NOT mix!
2. A "bird in the cage" is worth a million dollars. This is a take off on "a bird in hand, is worth two in the bush."
3. If you are "into" riding exotic animals, make sure your camera has plenty of film. You never know when you will have to prove to others that you are really a daredevil at heart.