Friday, July 17, 2020

The Big Boot!

Today, while I was at work I decided to spend the rest of my day living in the past. Because the future is looking pretty bleak to me right now, even though I've been wearing blinders when it comes to the constant daily "Breaking News," that everyone seems to have to give me their own opinion on.

So to continue my day living in the past I have a true story to share about  how a pumpkin saved my life.

Back in the mid 60's I worked at the famous Fort Worth Zoo's Children Zoo, which is no longer there. This small petting zoo's theme was primarily about nursery rhymes.

The children's zoo housed baby animals and my job was to feed, care, protect the young animals, to keep their pens, cages or exhibits clean and to bring them in at night and put them out in the mornings.

And if I wasn't busy enough doing that job I was sweeping and picking up trash on the sidewalks. And please note that the trash was mainly empty sacks of peanuts or grain, feed etc. that children threw away after feeding, Sheba, an African elephant, ram, spider monkeys, ostriches, zebra, donkeys, birds, turtles, goats, piglets, bunnies, etc.

When customers, after paying, entered the children's zoo the first thing there was a gigantic dark brown boot that had many tiny windows—to represent "the old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn't know what to do..." or something like that.

This cemented boot "sculpture" was probably over 10 feet tall and it always annoyed me, because I always had to walk around it to get to the small fawns enclosure. But I must admit that I did enjoy sit ting on the toe-end of the boot when I would take a break and visit with the cashier.

There was "Noah's Ark" that was surrounded by a shallow pond that ducks floated around in while gigantic turtles sunbathed on the bank. And inside this fake ark it housed exotic birds and small animals. I wasn't real fond of the ark, because it was difficult to clean and scrubbing the pond was a tiresome headache for me.

Across from the fenced-in ark area were six or seven, beautiful Macaws perched on tree limbs. And part of my job description was "first thing"every morning when I arrived at work I would put on a huge pair, of these heavy leather gloves that were about 2 feet long and one-by-one I would transport these magnificent (mean) birds, perched on my arm, to their designated tree limb. Then I would do the transport backwards at the end of the day.

Next to these lovely, noisy, messy parrots was a small retainingwall that housed 3 darling piglets and I wish I had a penny for every time that I had to climb over that wall. And of course, one house was made of straw, one of wood and one of bricks. The piglets preferred the straw house.

On the other side of the pond, so to speak, was this huge goat pen called "The Back Forty" and everyday I would get head-butted, stood on or shoved to the ground by about 15 goats when feeding them or cleaning their pen. And the children that watched me would think it was so funny.

Now back to the big boot and why I am actually writing this in the first place. About ten feet away from the boot where the old woman lived with her kids was this fenced-in bunny exhibit that had this gigantic pumpkin shell/house made out of cement. And the pumpkin was taller than me and it housed about twenty bunnies.

Every morning I would have to climb over that stupid fence to let the bunnies out of the pumpkin so I could feed them and clean inside "PeterPeter, pumpkin eater. Had a wife and couldn't keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell, And there he kept her very well." And all I can say is that I climbed back and forth over that fence all day long, because bunnies poop as much as they breed.

Which finally brings me back to my blast-from-the-past story about how a pumpkin saved my life.

One hot Texas summer afternoon while I was at work, some friends/guys that worked in the zoo's cafe, next door to the children's zoo, decided to play a prank on me and I fell for it—hook, line and sinker.

"Mitch" who I had a crush on and had named all of the male animals after him, came down to the children's zoo and he was all excited and he told me, "Nancy, a crazy man has escaped from the  mental hospital and it is all over the radio! He is armed and dangerous and he is somewhere in the zoo! You need to go hide! Now! The police are on their way...I've got to get back to work."

After "Mitch" left, I was frantic about what to do and I was wishing that Ronnie, my sweet, smart, older brother, was there, so I could ask him what he thought I should do.

Bottom   Line: I locked myself inside the pumpkin with the bunnies and I stayed there for over five minutes, until Mitch and his friends came and told me it was all a joke! 

Anyway, I've only given you a small description of some of the cute, nursery-rhyme-themed petting zoo exhibits and I have many funny stories that happened to me while working at the zoo. But, I will not discuss the monkeys at all—for personal reasons. And needless to say I loved that job so much and all of those sweet animals that I got to take care of. Except for the macaws, monkeys and Mitch.

Shortly after that incident I renamed all of the male animals—Paul. And that lasted for only about two weeks, before I had to go and change their names, again.

Y'all have a great evening and keep on laughing!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Just A Spoonful Of Sugar! or But Then Looks Can Be Deceiving!

At last I have something humorous to write about and I am still laughing! But to tell you why let me tell you this first.

Last month Tony and I met our dear friends Stephen K. Morris & Eva Robinett for a fun picnic in the park. Tone and I had a wonderful time with this awesome, talented couple, from Fred-Town. And before we adios-ed them Eva gave us a loaf of zucchini bread that she had baked.

Long story short—it was the most delicious zucchini bread that we have ever eaten, so I sent her an e-mail and begged her for the recipe—so I could steal it. Bottom___Line: Eva got this Zucchini With Pineapple recipe @ Simply Recipes and here is the link to this recipe.

And a few days later after our picnic I made my first two loaves of this mouth-watering zucchini bread.

Anyway, I was so excited about this tasty recipe I called my sweet sister Cindy and raved about the delicious bread and e-mailed her the link to this recipe. And, a few days later she promised me that she would make this  fabulous recipe soon. Then Cindy bought all of the extra ingredients that she didn't have to make this recipe. 

Yesterday Cindy and I talked about our new boring lifestyles—solving jigsaw puzzles, playing Scrabble, walking the dog(s,) (me working), watching reruns of our favorite television comedies, etc.

Now as Paul Harvey would say, "Here is the rest of the story..."

This morning I phoned my sister and I got her machine, and I left her this message, "Cindy, I've decided to make zucchini bread this morning and I want to challenge you to make some, too.. Because we've got nothing better to do in our busy lifestyle."

Then I made two loaves of this fabulous bread and when Tony came home for lunch we ate it for lunch, but before we ate it I took this picture of my two beautiful loaves, so I could send the picture to Cindy.

Later this afternoon around 4:30, I was passing the time by solving another jigsaw puzzle , on my iPad, when sweet Cindy called me.

And this is a close version of what I can remember was said during our conversation:


"Nance," Cindy said, followed by a lot of laughing, which made me start laughing even though I had no idea why I was laughing. "I wanted to let you know that I made the zucchini bread today—sort of." Then Cindy began laughing, again.

"What happened?" I asked my older sister, as she continued to laugh.

"Well, I had just started making the recipe when I realized that I did not have enough flour. I only had 1 cup—not 3. So, I decided to cut the recipe in half even though I was still a half a cup short of flour."


"I put in the adjusted amounts of baking powder, soda and salt. But then I forgot about cutting the recipe in half and I added 3 eggs—not one and a half." She immediately burst out laughing, and said, "Like you can add 1 1/2 eggs."

"Did it turn out okay?" Cindy started laughing, again.

"I'm not finished, yet. I grated up the right amount of the zucchini, then I forgot again and went back to the original recipe and added the full can of crushed pineapple, instead of half of the can. Then when I was going to add the1 teaspoon of vanilla extract—it had dried up and there was only one drop left inside the bottle, so I used almond extract instead." And by this time I was laughing so hard my back was beginning to ache.

"Don't worry about the almond extract. I once used lemon extract  instead of vanilla extract in a chocolate cake, because I was out of vanilla extract. Did you just throw out the ingredients?" I asked.

"No. I went ahead and baked it."

"How did it turn out?"

"It was horrible, but it looks really good," Cindy said. 

"But then looks can be deceiving," I teased. "I want to see a picture of it. I'll send you a picture of my loaves and please send me a picture of yours, so I can blog about it tonight."

"Okay, but it wouldn't come out of the pan. I had to dig it out....." After that we continued to laugh about our cooking skills. 

Then as a joke, I suggested that she wrap up her loaf, in Saran Wrap and tie it up in ribbon and give it to Ronnie (her younger brother/my older brother) tomorrow, for his 70th birthday present. "You could brag about how delicious it is and that you made it especially for him. And then ask him to try it." Then we burst out laughing as I got off of the floor, with the help of the chair, and sat back down in it.

"That would be cruel," Cindy joked. "You know that Ronnie & Nita are gourmet cooks and this would just prove to them that I lack cooking/baking skills. Let's face it—I am not good in the kitchen and never have been."

"No, it will just be a preview for Ronnie to see what to look forward to in his 70's."

"I know what you can do with the bread!"


"Put it in the freezer with a note attached that says "If I run out of food—Eat this!"

As I finish writing this, I am still hoping that Cindy will play the joke on Ronnie tomorrow. And I am thinking about mailing Cindy one of my loaves. Here are the pictures that Cindy sent to me of her zucchini bread catastrophe that is still stuck inside the loaf pan. 

Y'all have a great evening and keep on laughing! 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Time Marches On! or The Clock Is Ticking!

As time marches on with this pandemic I am trying to stay upbeat, but it seems to be getting the better of me today. So better said—I am depressed. But not to worry—I always bounce back sooner than later.

My friend Mari sent me this cool video about clocks and what I didn't know about clock numbers—totally blew me away and Tony, too. And I am betting that you don't know this about clocks.

So I dare you to watch and learn about clocks in this fascinating video, which is less that a minute long. I promise you will be shocked like we were and learn something, too.

The clock is ticking!