Monday, August 27, 2012

A Purrrrr-fect Day!

Yesterday, I took my son James on our annual trek to the state fair. James likes to look at all the animals, so we walk through every barn looking at cows, sheep, goats, and pigs. There is always a sow with brand new piglets to ooh and ahh over.

After looking at the farm animals, we look at the other exhibits, have lunch, and get James’s photo taken at the old time photo place. The people at the photo place now recognize us and always give James a great time, helping him dress up like an old western gunslinger. He hams it up and gives himself a different outlaw name every year. Black James, James-y the Kid, Dirty James. Each year’s photo takes its place on his bedroom wall with the others.

This year, however, before the photo, we had a special surprise. After lunch, we noticed a small sign pointing us to an exotic animal exhibit. Tucked away in a corner of the fairgrounds was a modest exhibit with a tiger, a few other wild cats, and a baby lion. For a very reasonable fee, which went to conservation, we were able to have our picture taken with the baby lion.

While I would normally let James do this sort of thing on his own, I was too excited myself at the prospect, so we sat down side by side and held the cub in our laps. Now this cub was not tiny. He was almost four months old and was probably 35-40 pounds. Think giant kitten! He was playful and absolutely adorable. And a very good sport about getting his photo taken with a bunch of strangers.

James took it all in stride, but holding the lion was the highlight of the day for me. I woke up still thinking about it, and remembered the story of Christian the lion. If you don’t know the story, it really is wonderful. Briefly, two guys bought a lion cub at Harrod’s in London (back when you could buy exotic animals in a department store!) They raised him until he was almost grown and then managed to return him to the wild in Africa. A year later, they returned to see how he was doing. I won’t give this part away–you need to see it for yourself.

You can Google “Christian the lion” for many sites and videos to give you the details. Here is a link to a short 2:32 minute version. Please watch. You won’t be sorry.

Life is a wonder.

42 comments:

  1. Good for you! That is what I call quality time.

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    1. JJ, It was a great day on all fronts. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. Oh, Galen, I have seen the video of Christian the Lion reuniting with his humans, and it is one of the most touching things I have ever witnessed. How fortunate that your son and you were able to spend time, and be photographed, with this playful cub at the special exhibit. I do hope you will post the photos sometime in the future.
    Thanks for sharing this special family time with all of us.
    Blessings always!

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    1. Martha, I know. Every time I watch the video of the reunion, I tear up. What an uplifting story. Yesterday, James kept calling the lion cub Simba, from the movie. It was really fun. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. Loved to read all about it Galen!

    These are the precious and treasured moments of life that we all need to capture before time flies. It did remind me of my kids when they were younger and how we had taken them to the zoo once, where they had a similar cub who was just brought in from a different place. He wasn't allowed to play with anyone, but how we all wished we could hold and cuddle him.

    I guess because we have a huge dog at home such feelings develop all the more. And so do these wonderful animals respond back when they feel loved - isn't it? Oh yes...I've seen that video and shown it to my kids too - it just is so touching. :)

    Thanks for sharing more about yourself with all of us. :)

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    1. Harleena, Yes, it was a special experience for so many reasons. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. That video of the two guys finding the lion they raised is so heart warming. I cry every time. Love knows no boundaries.

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    1. Kim, I know, me too! I've watched longer and shorter versions of it. Such an amazing story. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Wow, impressed Galen. You can officially say you've petted, touched, carried a lion. These animals wonder and scare me. They are so awesome, inspiring and magical but also in the wrong situations (think circus acts gone wrong:) can turn against humans.

    So, there's always this fear of them too. But a 30-40 pound baby lion sounds adorable. glad you had this trip which I'm sure gives you a memory of a lifetime. that video you mentioned is one of my favorite's online!

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    1. Vishnu, I thought about that with Christian the lion. Having a lion running towards me like in the video would have given me pause, if not a heart attack. And even the lion cub was strong and could have inflicted some damage if he chose to. But mostly he was just like a huge, silly kitten. Thanks for your comment.

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  6. Wow! Sounds like a beautiful day, Galen! :-) Ok I confess I cried when I watched the video! Hugs - thanks so much for sharing! I have lovely memories of days spent with my dear ones - and I bask in the happiness they bring when I enjoy them :-) Love, Vidya

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    1. Vidya, I have seen the video many times, and I tear up every time. Thanks for your comment.

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  7. I love to watch Christian the Lion and it always makes me well up. What a wonderful experience for you and James to have. I would love to know what he said about it.
    PS: I'm hoping you're okay and not affected Isaac!

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    1. Corinne, It was a special time for me and James, definitely. I'm not anywhere close to Isaac, but I have friends and family who are. Thanks for asking. And for your comment.

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  8. i knew the story already, but I love it too. It was George Adamson (Kenyan conservationist, the human subject of "Born Free", "To Walk With Lions" and other films) who introduced Christian back into the wild, on behalf of his two English benefactors. Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, the stars of the film, met Christian at the furniture store and helped the guys hook up with Adamson. The lion was mentored into the pride by Boy, one of the lions from the movie. By the time of the first reunion, Christian had become head of the pride after surviving the death of Boy and one of the lionesses. They also had a second similar reunion a year or so later when Christian was much larger, though it wasn't filmed.

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    1. Mikey, I knew you could add more information--thank you!! I read about their second reunion, and that after that, Christian disappeared deep into the reserve and they didn't see him again. Thanks for telling more of the story.

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  9. I love when things happen during the course of our day that we change our plan and go with the flow - you went with the flow and now have a memory forever with James and even have a picture of this event.

    I loved the video and shared it on facebook - brought tears to my eyes - yes LOVE has no limits!
    Nancy

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    1. Nancy, Me, too! That was so unexpected, and now James and I will always remember holding a lion cub! Thanks for commenting.

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  10. Love the post and the video, Galen. Makes me realize how we can change any potential behavior with love and the right environment. Sounds like you truly enjoyed your time. What a great picture I bet that was!

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    1. Kathy, I had not thought about that! What a great observation. Thanks for adding that perspective.

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  11. Loved the post and the video Galen. Makes me think about how any potentially destructive behavior can be averted with the right mix of love and hope. I bet that is a great picture. What a great day you must have had!

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    1. Hi, again! You must have thought that your first comment disappeared. I have comment moderation which means that there is a delay in seeing the comments until I have a chance to approve them. Thanks for your persistence!

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  12. How wonder full - I do remember Christian the Lion - there must be more symbolism here too?

    Have you met Christian Piatt and his blog yet? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christianpiatt/2012/08/meet-the-superhumans-an-ad-for-the-paralympics/
    He and his wife, Amy, have just moved to Portland at the downtown 1St Christian Church. He is a national writer and has two interesting books out one called PregMANcy - often very funny....his son has Ashperger's Syndrome

    just FYI synchronicity celebrated

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    1. Patricia, Definitely a "Christian" theme! Thanks for commenting.

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  13. Wow, I loved this fun post. I think it is awesome that James and you could go to the fair and enjoy holding a baby Lion. I liked the idea of the pictures too. Our state fair is soon and it is has been forever since I attended one. I am now inspired to go.
    Blessings to you!

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    1. LeAnn, Our state fair is really fun. I enjoy it every year. I'm always so impressed with all the young people who are showing their prize farm animals. Thanks for commenting.

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  14. That is so awesome to get photos with a lion cub. I cried watching the clip. I love that story! Hope you have a great day.

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    1. Bonnie, I love this story every time I run across it. What a happy tale. Thanks for commenting and I hope you have a great day, too.

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  15. I remember the story of the lion. It is heartwarming. It is so nice that you and James managed to hold the cub. It sure sounds awesome!

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    1. Evelyn, It was awesome. I don't think I'll ever forget it. Thanks for commenting.

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  16. I like your post and the video! Thanks. Its so great!

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    1. Jedidja, Thanks so much for your comment.

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  17. That is the most heart warming video clip EVER!
    Riley

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    1. Riley, I think so, too! Thanks for commenting.

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  18. That experience was definitely finding a "happy place" and enjoying every minute of it. Experiences like that don't happen every day. You and James are blessed that you could share it together.

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    1. Bob, It was a great day with James, and the lion cub was the highlight. Thanks for commenting.

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  19. oh my gosh! we have the Farm Show In Pa as our state fair..never ever was there a baby lion to hold!! good for you for the opportunity!

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    1. Annmarie, Same here--I've never seen exotic animals at the fair before. It's mostly all farm animals. I think this was a special exhibit for conservation. Thanks for commenting.

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  20. I've seen that video and just love it! Thank for sharing your experience. It just goes to prove that it's the little things that count. The little things are the big things of life. I also enjoyed your guest post over at Going A-Musing,
    Thanks Galen!

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    1. Betsy, It is the little things, definitely. Thanks for your comment on Vidya's blog, too.

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  21. How fun for your son! That is an experience to remember. I have seen the video as well, and it usually makes me cry. I'm an animal lover. Take care and have a great rest of your week!

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    1. Cathy, So many people, including me, cry whenever they see that video. It touches us so deeply to see the love there. Thanks and hope you have a great week, too.

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