Hand to God… It happened.

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On of the stories I get to read on a regular basis in school is about a trip to the zoo. Every time I read this story, I remember our family’s most unique trip that took place sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

We were still living in Texas and it was during the winter holiday season, since my grandparents were visiting from Chicago. As a family we drove out to the Dallas Zoo for the day. Normally, our family visited the Fort Worth Zoo, but we opted for something a little different… and that’s just what we got.

On of the stories I get to read on a regular basis in school is about a trip to the zoo. Every time I read this story, I remember our family’s most unique trip that took place sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

We were still living in Texas and it was during the winter holiday season, since my grandparents were visiting from Chicago. As a family we drove out to the Dallas Zoo for the day. Normally, our family visited the Fort Worth Zoo, but we opted for something a little different… and that’s just what we got.

Now, I will admit that some of the details are a little fuzzy, but the main bullet points of the story that follows is the truth. Hand to God, I am not making this up.

So here is our family at the zoo. we were having a great time during the chilly and overcast day when we happened to come across the lion cage. Yes, it was a cage and not a huge pit. I’m not sure what the lion was doing, but I remember it was pacing back and forth in the cage and it looked funny. I wish I could remember what about this particular feline had us chuckling and pointing, but I can’t. All I know is that as a young boy, I had the giggles and I wasn’t alone in that regard.

The lion wasn’t amused.

He (I know it was a male lion), became upset with us. He didn’t growl. He didn’t roar (man, that would have been cool). No, this particular lion promptly stopped, turned, lifted his leg and shot urine at us.

No we had to be standing at least 20 feet from the cage. Not only did the urine make it that far (in the air), but hit everyone: mother, father, myself, my two brothers, and grandparents. No one escaped unscathed. The urine drenched us. It must have been days since that big cat peed.

Following the “golden shower,” we exclaimed our disgust and started blotting down our wet bodies with napkins my grandmother collected from the cantina. I’m not not sure how big her purse was, because there seemed to be an endless supply. While the napkins made us dry, it didn’t remove the smell from our bodies. To help with that, Grandma broke out her Chanel No. 5 and spritzed us all.

It didn’t help. For the rest of the day we smelled like pee. Classy pee, but pee nonetheless. That lion got us good.

Hear my mother recount the story below.

What’s your most memorable trip to the zoo?

Have a great weekend!



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