Yesterday I had arranged with my young friend Jeremiah - the one whom I have taken to church youth services - to come home with me after school. We were going to go to the service, but then realized they were doing a big conference thing, so there wouldn't be the usual service. I wanted to keep tabs on J., hence the invite to just come and hang out after school - maybe put a movie on Netflix or something. But when he came to see me during 1st period - he has no class till 2nd, and my class had but the one student come in, who was with the teacher - as we were chatting, it occurred to me, it was going to be a nice day...Why not go to the zoo? J. got all excited - he hadn't been for a good 8-10 years.
So after school, we met in front of the office and he walked home with me - slowing his pace for my arthritic hobble. I changed into cooler duds while he called home to advise his step-dad, then DD (AKA Glitterfairy77) and the grandkids, J. and I piled in the van. I dropped DD off to visit her BF, then the rest of us continued to the zoo.
It was pretty hot, so I told the kids we'd only go as far as the otters, not "all the way to Africa." But see, I'm clever - outside the otter building is a little man-made stream in which people - especially children - can wade. So after visiting a few outside animals - my granddaughter took it upon herself to be the one who spotted things that were hiding - and some inside, we came to the stream. I also doffed my socks and crocks and plunged my feet in the cool water. Eventually, as the grands and I continued to comment on how good it felt, J. finally caved in, removed his shoes and socks, and rolled up his pants - and was so glad he did. He and I sat, soaking our hot feet, while the little ones walked about, and we just talked as we enjoyed the shade and water. Finally, we dried off with the towel I had wisely packed and continued into the otter exhibit - J. wanted to see the python, and was rewarded - we even watched it do more than just sit there like an enormous thick cable. It dipped its head in the trough and drank! But the otters once again disappointed us by not making any appearance.
But what was the greatest attraction for the grandkids?
They were scrambling for them as much as the little chipmunk we'd seen in the Spurred Tortoise enclosure!
Even as we were leaving, passing under another oak tree, there were a different SIZE of acorn. "Leave some for the squirrels and chipmunks!" I told them. J. was quite amused, especially when I explained to him about my energetic grandson, "He's a little squirrely!"
We stopped for ice cream on the way home, stopped at the house to pick up the game DD was loaning to J., and I took him home, happy for the outing (especially since he has a tendency to stay holed up playing video games). Then the grands divvied up their haul - 34 acorns (plus a number of caps only, which my imaginative granddaughter will use in her playing).
ACORNS! I'm going to have them learn about oak trees...!