Wednesday, September 28, 2011


In 1974 I took my mother and little brother, along with my partner Astrid and our 4-year-old daughter, to the new wild animal park just outside Dallas. It was a warm day, and the five of us were in a Volkswagen bug which had no respectable AC, but most of us were frightened by the admonition to keep our windows closed.

However, the ride through the various habitats was over an hour, and Mama's nicotine addiction could not sustain such an extended period, so before long she had cranked down her window to light up a cigarette. We had cups full of preserve-approved wild beastie kibble, and Mama was overly generous with it, attracting the attention of some exuberant baboons. Our screams persuaded her to close her window, and the dent in the roof never came out again after the frustrated temper tantrum of one baboon.

When we reached the lions' savannah, she again had the window down and was calling "Here, kitty, kitty." They lay in the torpid heat and watched her coldly. Likewise was the indifference of cheetahs and leopards. Mama was so crushed that at the end of the tour, as the rest of us bought large iced drinks and washed our faces in the restroom, my teenaged brother bought a large ceramic spotted leopard cub at the giftshop and presented it to Mama. She wept. It occupied pride of place in her living room, and after she died, Bill kept it in his own den.

1 comment:

Margot said...

Great use of Banksy. What happened to the ceramic leopard cub?bunpoi