On Vacation

On Vacation

I’m on vacation this week with my family.  Yesterday my wife and I took the kids to Brookfield Zoo, something we have been doing since 1998 when the kids were quite young .  I hope that my three sophisticated teenagers still enjoy it and are not just humoring dear old Dad.  My wife and I certainly still love going to the zoo.  A few observations:

1.   Most men, including me, usually do not give women sufficient credit for the skill that most of them show in handling small children.  I saw many moms, quite a few still in their early twenties, pushing a stroller with two or more toddlers following along, chatting with them about what they were seeing while keeping them together in fairly crowded conditions.  Some Dads were along and helping, but most of the people in attendance on this week day, as in most past years, were moms and kids.

2.   Seeing young kids at a zoo, gaping at strange animals and expressing their amazement and joy, is a recipe for renewed optimism about the human race.

3.    My appreciation for motor safaris  increases as the years roll by.

4.    Seeing a pregnant mom in a hijab with two kids, followed almost immediately by a pregnant Amish mom pushing a stroller with two kids walking beside her, brought the phrase “Only in America!” to mind.

5.   One of our motor safari guides said his lines with no emotion and no enthusiasm.  Another of our guides spoke his spiel with a verve and enthusiasm that would have done credit to the Royal Shakespeare Company.  It is trite, but if you are going to do a job you might as well give it your all.  The first guide looked bored, and the second looked as if he was having the time of his life.

6.   One of my sons, the one who despises insects, seems to have a strange attraction for butterflies, judging from the number, much to his distress, which landed on him at the butterfly exhibition.  It is to his credit that no butterflies were harmed.

7.   Being a volunteer at a zoo after retirement would seem to be a good way to pass the time.

8.   Robotic dinosaurs are endlessly fascinating to kids and even more so to their Dads.   The Brookfield zoo jeeps at the entrance that looked as if they had been stomped on by a T-Rex were a very nice touch.

9.    Vacations serve the same function as the one day rest in seven that God gave to us.  When you work, concentrate on the work.  When you are on vacation, concentrate on the vacation.  If you can manage it, no cell phone calls from the office, and no business related e-mail.    

10.   Vacations always remind me that, except for God, everything else on this Earth has to come after family.

5 Responses to On Vacation

  1. Andy K. says:

    I grew up in Berwyn, IL and frequently visited the zoo throughout my childhood. It is indeed an “only in America!” type of place. I’ll have to go back and visit one of these days!

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    Is the pic of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

    Good posting.

  3. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Yep and thanks Tito.

  4. Jay Anderson says:

    I’m not generally a fan of Picasso’s work, but his Don Quixote is one of my favorite pieces of art (I like his bullfighting scenes as well).

    When my wife and I were dating a decade ago, she and her mother and sister went to Spain for a week. She asked me if I wanted her to bring me back anything. I printed out a picture of the above work of art and told her that I wanted a t-shirt with that on it and the word “Espana” beneath it.

    She actually found exactly what I wanted and brought it back to me.

  5. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Don Quixote sums up nicely both the glory of Spain, seeking to accomplish the seemingly impossible and stunningly doing so more than once, and also the difficulty that Spaniards have often had throughout their history in dealing with this frame of reality.

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