Family Day

"A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood," Rachel Carson 

...and so, after reading Margaret Wise's The Big Red Barn, a favorite around here, in fact I can recite it from memory, we headed for a petting zoo. I thought August should experience the animals we read about [and Mommy could get her fur and feather fix]. So many books for children talk about livestock and I was becoming frustrated not being able to have August see, hear, touch and smell these sweet animals that I grew up around. While she s only 11 months old, I feel she will take in what she can and might even store a tidbit or two in her little head. It might one day become a hazy, blurry, dreamy memory like the very few, brief ones I have stored, of sights and sounds that were experienced before I could speak. 

The drive to Peek-A-Boo Petting Zoo took us into a part of Oklahoma that impressed me and fell in love with. Gone were the flats, grasses and small rolling hills. We entered optimistic topography, beautiful valleys, winding, tree lined country roads, lakes, even some purple wild flowers were spotted along the way. It was an idyllic day to say the least, temperate not a cloud in the sky, spring.

I could hardly contain myself as we approached the farm. Peek-A-Boo is a working farm that is open to the public as a petting zoo if the weather is nice and  the owners complete their chores. The place was just like The Big Red Barn, sans the red barn.

"The sheep and the donkeys, the geese and the goats, were all making funny noises down in their throats..." 

Upon entering the farm, we were warmly greeted by a calf. The owner then led us to Flower, a beautiful sheep who had just given birth to an adorable little lamb only 24 hours before.  The owner asked if we wanted to hold the baby. With Flower's permission we were allowed to cradle her newborn. I have never held a new lamb in my arms before. This baby was so soft, light as a feather and smelled faintly of hay and had a sweet scent. It was an enchanting experience, one that fed my soul. Soon Flower came calling for her baby, I had to thank her.

There were ducklings, baby bunnies, baby goats. It took me awhile to focus and carry on in some organized manner. I spotted a mother duck sitting on her eggs, there was a very showy turkey and a family of llamas. These were indeed happy animals, their owner shared their stories with us, they are much loved and protected. The farm was impressive, neatly organized, impeccable grounds, again reminding me of a storybook.

I could sense August's confusion and understand her inability to focus but then, she was able to hold a bunny and once placed in the duckling and rabbit pen, she was not as easily distracted. Once again, just as the peacocks had caught her attention at our first zoo visit, it was the colorful birds that won her over, this time, pheasants.

Later, a wrong turn led us to a roadside hamburger stand. Burgers served in wax paper sandwich bags under a tall sign that simply read: Malt Shop, was altogether perfect for the day. Cruising down that wrong turn we eventually found ourselves on Route 66 and that explained the motor lodges. Several were still in business and looking sharp. I looked at Jacob as we passed them and thought, it's nice to be in the company of someone who enjoys a good motor lodge. One day, when August is old enough, we'll introduce her to the unique, coziness and time travel of them. So much to see and do.



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