Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Halloween, Giraffes n' Zebras!

Have you ever fed a giraffe? I don't mean that one leaf of lettuce you can get for several bucks at some parks. I mean FED a giraffe while stroking its head, looking it in the eye, feeling its thick skin, petting the folds of its neck. Today, we did, and it was fantastic.

Our hosts here in Belle Chasse, Louisiana led us about 90 minutes north to Folsom, LA (home of the prison made famous by Johnny Cash) for a tour of Global Wildlife Center. It sounded like something that would be right up V's alley: ride in a vehicle and stop here and there to pet the exotic animals. Two of our hosts' three children also really enjoy this spot (the third came along for the ride in the Pinzgauer).

What a fantastically unique and fun stop! We hand fed a lot of deer, some oryx, camels, llamas, bison and more. Our driver, Brad, was knowledgeable, friendly, accommodating and informative.

Our giant lug of corn kernels spent, we returned to the house to prep for Halloween fun. V ultimately decided to wear her Hogwart's attire. She tucked her wand into its
special pocket, donned her robe and perched her owl on one hand. E was hoping to go as a dryad, but the weather wasn't conducive to the thin dress that was the base of her outfit. She didn't like the lumpiness created by wearing ANYTHING underneath it, so she went with her colonial dress. They were accompanied by: a witch, a ninja, Batman, a chef and a crazy Steelers fan. Oh, and me...I'm not sure what I was, but per our hostess's request, it involved pig tails, freckles and an apron.

When people think of New Orleans, they may think of Mardi Gras. But I'll tell you what: people down here don't save their good party habits for a single season around here. We joined some of our host family's friends for trick-or-treating in a neighborhood that KNEW how to throw a family friendly party: serious house decorations, streets closed to all vehicle traffic, plenty of kid treats at fairly traditional door-to-door tradition (they sit outside at tables here to hand out the treats), and a bbq setup ala local sheriff's office running in the middle of the street for all to enjoy - boudin sausages, chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, nachos, dips, chips, cakes, pies, brownies, ice cream, snow balls.

It didn't take the kids to make the neighborhood treat loop, grab a hot bite, test a snow ball and watch the grown people run into family and friends here. Then it was back to the house for The Big Candy Swap - six kids on the livingroom floor, their candy piled before them as they negotiated, their parents sitting behind them and coaching them for the "good" (ie. Mom's and Dad's favorites) trades.

We were all really sad that Mr. B wasn't here with us tonight. He was home alone, dressed in his newly created armor (made from years' of tossed CDs and DVDs) handing out candy to the 23 kids who tapped on our door. The worst thing about traveling is not having him with us - or not being home with him, particularly for traditional events like Halloween, or pizza night, or Mondays.

Ten more days, 2,000 more miles, and we'll all be together again. WOO HOO!

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