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Just Having Fun Together

by Mary M. Alward

Our 11th anniversary was coming up and we had no idea how to celebrate. Money was a little tight and we had been almost everywhere of interest close to where we lived. We’d seen Niagara Falls hundreds of times and had visited many of the attractions in the area. So, we decided to have a fun day doing things we hadn’t done in years.

When we awoke the morning of our anniversary, we got up, showered, had breakfast and headed out to the African Lion Safari which is about a half hour drive from our home. We drove through the animal compound, and then decided to take in the attractions. We hadn’t visited the park in a few years and there was more to see and do.

The first stop on our agenda was the Birds of Prey Show. We sat high in the bleachers and enjoyed watching the Safari staff members tell about the variety of birds that were housed at the Safar. We saw snowy owls, hawks of different kinds, falcons and, for the finale, a golden eagle. The male staff member offered tidbits of meat to this beautiful bird as he spoke of its natural habitat and its breeding, feeding and mating habits. Then, it was time for the eagle to show us its stuff. As the trainer lifted his arm, the bird spread his wings and rose into the sky. He circled the area and glided on the wind currents. When the trainer gave three short blasts on a whistle, the bird swooped toward him and right past our heads. He was so close that we could feel the wind from his wings.

Next, we visited the Parrot Show. The comical antics of these birds sent the audience into gales of laughter. One large green parrot rode a miniature skate board and a beautiful red parrot rode a unicycle that had been made especially for him. The parrots were a hit with both the young and the young at heart.

My favorite of the day was the elephant bath. We stood beside a manmade body of water and watched as the elephants shot water from their trunks over themselves and their companions. One baby elephant was quite awkward in the water and his mother kept a close eye on him. However, several young elephants that had just turned a year old were comical. They had a water fight and cavorted in the water much like human teenagers would. They sprayed each other, bumped into each other and pushed their companions with their trunks. It was quite the show.

We browsed through the gift shop, which has wonderful souvenirs all adorned with the animals in the park. Plates, mugs, cups, T-shirts, plastic African animal and kids’ games were all part of the merchandise. We bought a lovely plate with a picture of a beautiful elephant on it as a souvenir of the day.

After leaving the Safari, as we were driving toward home, we decided that we would go out to dinner to celebrate our eleven years together. We stopped at our favorite restaurant and enjoyed a beef back rib dinner that was delicious. For dessert we each enjoyed a piece of homemade apple pie.

One of the waitresses must have overheard us talking because, while we were eating our pie, four waitresses and one waiter came out of the kitchen carrying a chocolate muffin with a candle in it and sang a Happy Anniversary song. I remember a version of that song being sung on The Flinstones years before.

After dinner was over and our faces had returned to their normal color in lieu of the bright red they turned when we were the center of attention, we headed for home once more. On our way, we picked up a movie and then settled down with a bowl of popcorn to enjoy the show.

What a day it had been. No, we hadn’t done anything really special, but since we both love animals and nature we had enjoyed the African Lion Safari immensely and the dinner was delicious. We don’t often get to go out for dinner, so that was a special treat.

All in all it was a terrific day for both of us. We did the things that we enjoy and celebrated 11 years together. although some people may not think this is a great way to celebrate any anniversary, it was a perfect day for us.

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