Spring break: Yesterday, we went to the Dickerson Park Zoo, the Springfield Parks zoo.
You know, I might have only taken my boys to the zoo three times: Once in Saint Louis, with my brother and his wife and his son when my oldest was two. I have pictures of only the oldest, so I don’t know if the youngest, who would have been one, stayed home or was in a stroller and therefore not in many pictures. I remember the boy in the pictures and short videos, though, saying “There he is! There he is! There he is!” when spotting the black rhino for the first time and bending in half at one point while walking to lick the pavement–perhaps the paint looked like candy or frosting to him then.
I took them a couple years back (a couple being, let me do the math, six) when I had more free time in my schedule, again. Few photos exist of that excursion, as the number of photos we take of the boys has diminished over time. Which is odd, because now we carry the equivalent of a camera anywhere. I just don’t like to take out my phone in situations, perhaps, where I would not have minded pulling out a dedicated camera.
After we parked and as we crossed the parking log, the oldest said, “Aren’t you going to say ‘1, 2, 3, to the zoo?'” As I mentioned, I used to say this when they were younger when it was time for us to go somewhere–it’s the title of an Eric Carle counting book.
The boys were old enough now to go romp on their own, and they did, moving more quickly than my beautiful wife and I did among the elephants. The single Asian elephant at the zoo–it is a big zoo for a small city, but it’s a relatively small zoo–started out at the far end of its enclosure, but my wife talked to it and it slowly, nonchalantly approached us, taking a step, eating a couple snootfuls of some of the emerging greenery, and then taking another step, until it took a close look at us, posed for a picture, and then moved quickly away.
The boys, moving faster than we did, moved quickly through the exhibits and rejoined us for our last continent, Africa. They fed the giraffes, and we got to the enclosure of the Black and White Colobus (Colobi? Colubuses?).
C’mon, man. The zoo has Squirrel Monkeys and a Spider Monkey (no spider monkey puppy, though), but the fact that these creatures are called black and white colobusesi and not skunk monkeys is proof that they were named by scientists and not explorers or conquistadores.
At any rate, the zoo has a whole troop of them. They started inside their little enclosure, but a couple of them came out, and when the alpha male spotted my oldest, who was dressed in black and white, he (the skunk monkey male) came out, showed his genitals to my son, and then sat right in front of him, baring his teeth (but not his boy parts) because, I guess, he thought my oldest was another skunk monkey looking for a ready-made harem.
At any rate, or at least the rate we’ve been going, this is probably the last trip to the zoo we will take as a family. Until grandkids, maybe. On the plus side, I did not let the double-effect narrator, the part of me that knows this is the last time to overwhelm the day.