07 April 2011

The Petting Zoo

Cathy owned a little private zoo. It had been around forever, or since the 40s anyway, and my father knew her - he'd done legal work for her family. So, periodically we'd take the kiddies up on a summer weekend and go wander around looking at giraffes and rhinos and lions and zebras, and we'd feed the little animals in the petting zoo. They had a handful of electric golf carts for getting around, and Cathy would drive us around on them, because, hell, she owned the place.

One visit, we were tooling around in the golf cart, piled high with toddlers and diaper bags and giddy adults revisiting their childhoods, and some paying customer asked Cathy where he could rent one - a golf cart, that is, not a toddler. She nicely told him that she owned the zoo and the carts weren't for rent, they were for staff. He turned away, disappointed, and Cathy stage-whispered to me and Pinky can you imagine what a clusterfuck that would be?  I think of Cathy every time I hear or use the word clusterfuck.

I also think of her every time I eat a lamb chop. She had that petting zoo, see? There were baby potbellied pigs, and goats, and little spotted fawns, and lambs. You could buy special crackers to feed them, or you could get little bottles of milk with huge nipples that the animals went wild for. But think about a petting zoo for a moment. Eventually, the animals get big and they aren't cute anymore and they're liable to knock over your toddler clients. So what do you do?

Lamp chops. Tiny baby lamb chops, milk fed by children. From time to time, Cathy would send my father a box, two to four butchered lambs, racks and legs and chops. Best lamb I've ever eaten.

She went out of business a few years ago. Nostalgia wasn't cutting it anymore, people want the tidiness of Disney.

No more baby lamb.



Harriet said...

I kind of hate to say I love this, because it's a ultimately a sad story, but it fantastically told. Was it you who made the comment on Facebook about clusterfuck the other day? Because I was thinking the same thing. It's not a word I use much myself, but I love it. The word, that is. Not the concept.

FreshHell said...

I love the word clusterfuck. But I'm a vegetarian so...I'll leave it at that.

mayberry said...

Oh, this so reminded me of our family's accidental encounter with lamb chops still on the hoof!

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

the internet taught me the word clusterfuck.

And douchecanoe.

I am like the word guru in our town now.

bipolarlawyercook said...

Douchecanoe is my new favorite word.

Patois42 said...

I'm so happy I come here. "Clusterfuck," I knew, of course. But "douchecanoe" is definitely a new one. And a keeper.

So the fact that I think, "Yum, lamb chops," does that make me a douchecanoe?

painted maypole said...

ok, i find that creepy.

not that I wouldn't eat it or anything.

flutter said...

see also, douchenozzle, circle-jerk, and my personal favorite, shit ninja.

Varda said...

Your commenters know an awful lot of wonderful words. OK shit ninja is new to me, having fun figuring out what it might mean. Clusterfuck? An old favorite.

Also, you are talking about the Catskill Game Farm, yes? I spent my entire childhood vacationing in the Catskills, seeing signs for it and never going ("tourist traps" not my family's thing).

Then I got to take my kids there, once, when they were 3 or 4, shortly before it closed.