Monday, December 14, 2009

Story #15 Happy the Chimpanzee

I am keenly aware that I have not posted in days...and that I am only on story #15...hmmm.

The crazier things become at holiday time, the more I shut down both physically and mentally, until I am a mere blob convalescing on the sofa. I lose all motivation to get anything done, even though I will probably end up in tears at some point. In spite of this, I still chirp out a happy yes at any invitation or project request....what on earth is wrong with me? Anyway...

I mentioned in a previous post that my family spent every August and Christmas in Salt Lake City with my Grandparents. As I'm sure you have figured out, my birthday is right after Christmas, thus most of my under 12 birthdays were spent at my Grandparents house.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but when you are a child a birthday party is a pretty big deal. You look forward to the friends, the games, the presents, and the cake. Although every effort was made to make the birthdays joyous, it is a very odd sensation to feel like you are crashing your own birthday party. My grandparents would invite any neighborhood children that were in town to join us for my party. So, all of the guests knew each other, but I didn't know any of them. There were a few awkward moments..."Thank you for the crayons, Angela. Which one of you is Angela?"

(Don't be distracted by my pink, shiny, taffeta dress...that is not the point of the story, although I do look stunning.)

For my eighth birthday, my Mom and grandparents wanted to make it a very special day - so they hired a chimpanzee to come to the party. The chimpanzee was named Happy and you could "rent" him for a special occasion from the Hogle Zoo. As much as I enjoyed watching the animals from the outside of the cage - having one in the same room with me, with no bar barrier, was a little disturbing. You'll notice that one of my arms is wrapped around in a protective motion, while I shake hands with Happy. I remember feeling worried that his hand would be slimy, but it was actually dry and soft. Happy performed several flips for us and I was encouraged to help feed him some oatmeal and bananas.

Notice the body language...lean away! Lean away!

Even though I felt nervous, it was a rather incredible thing, having a primate at your party. I had to keep these pictures from my children for fear that they would believe this was some sort of family tradition. No need to go completely crazy! This was also the year that my brother discovered the birthday candles that would not blow out. I tried so hard to blow out these candles that I merely passed out. Marc also taught me the pleasant game of "Who can punch the softest." I always won....not a good thing.

After that party the neighborhood children realized that nothing could top a chimpanzee and future birthdays had a much lower attendance. Which was okay....fewer awkward moments.


michelle said...

What? I've never heard this one before! LOVE the photos.

Amy said...

Love the chimp, but the dress is what really stole my heart.

Jill said...

It's rather strange to think of celebrating your birthday out of state with strange neighbor kids.

Wow, a chimp at a party, not many kids have that claim to fame!

Jenny said...

SO I was checking out your blog today while waiting for noggin to load on my computer and when Kate saw your beautiful dress and the chimpanzee, she got really excited and said "is it Halloween". I told her it was!
Merry Christmas