Some of you may have missed it (ignored it?) but yesterday was my birthday. I had this idea, sort of, to do something a little different for that special day. Sure the birthday dinners are nice, everyone sings that song, and you smile while opening the cards, but you're secretly thinking, shit I'm getting old.
The idea came when I read about a cabin for rent at a place called Safari's just outside Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Safari's is an animal sanctuary for mostly exotic animals that have nowhere else to live, homeless critters, many of whom have been given up by ill-advised owners on the joys or lack thereof, of having a wild animal in your home. There are tigers, lions, cougars, bobcats, alligators, lemurs, and wolves to name but a few of the inhabitants.
The hook was that the cabin, a remodeled 1800's vintage cabin, was located right next to the wolves enclosure, less than 10 yards away from the bedroom window. How cool is that? As it turned out, I took a few photos of the wolves, some lemurs, an alpaca, a camel, a fat blond--yes blond--raccoon, and a few parrots. At sundown, I poured about three fingers of Crown Royal into a short glass filled with ice and waited for the wolves to get active and sing me a song, hopefully the Happy Birthday song. It didn't happen. The entire pack walked around for awhile longer, peed, and sniffed, and eventually found their own little niche in the pen for the night, curled up, and went to sleep. I drowned my disappointment with a little more Crown and thinking the wolves had a pretty good idea there, turned in as well.
At 3:03 a.m. the bedroom sounded like the entire Yellowstone wolf population was trying out for a singing competition. Howls, yips, and barks bounced off the walls and ceiling while I tried to figure out if I was delusional from the whiskey or having a bad dream. I jumped out of bed and looked out the window trying to see what all the commotion was about and verify that none of the wolves were actually in the room as I would have sworn they were, but as far as I could tell, it just one of those wolf things. Apparently, once or twice a night, one of them starts in with that eerie howl and all the rest say, "What the hell, might as well join in." The chorus lasted no more than five minutes then it was back to bed for everyone, although the heart of yours truly beat a little faster for slightly longer.
It was a good birthday. And best of all, I didn't think once about getting old.