Saturday, August 22, 2009

The time the alligator ate Randall's flipflop

or... how to make an ordinary afternoon into an adventure!

Yesterday was the last official day of summer. School starts for Russ and Josh on Monday! I wanted to do something different. So I called Jaime and asked if she'd like to bring Russ and Randall and join Josh and Julia and me on a trip to Gators and Friends. We would just make it in time for the feeding frenzy!

So we pack everyone up and off we go. We arrive and pile out and go check out the pile of alligators that has gathered in the water. We're on a bridge over water literally teeming with alligators. And we were only about 3 feet over them! A man arrived with a bucket of food and that's when it really got scary!

We were standing nearby riveted to the scene when Randall stuck his foot between the wooden slats. Then he moved it back. Well, he moved his foot back, the flipflop ON his foot didn't move back. It fell, kerplunk, into the alligator infested water! First, Jaime gasped loudly enough that my first impulse to was catch my breath because that gasp sucked out all the air around us. Then I leaned over to see if anything other than the flipflop had fallen in. Then I took a head count of the g'kids. 1..2...3...4...ok, that's all we brought. We were only down 1 flipflop. breathe in....breathe out...

First thing to do was to let someone who worked there know. So Jaime went in search of someone who might could retrieve the flipflop. A man arrives with a pole. He sees the flipflop drifting under the bridge where we were standing. As he reaches to try to hook the flipflop, he casually mentions that there was a good chance the alligators would swarm to the hook and one was bound to eat the flipflop. Seriously, he said that casually.

And he was right! As we moved further away so we could see if he could successfully snag the flipflop, we watched as that swarm of alligators quickly made its way toward that pole. Russell and Josh thought it was the coolest thing in the world to watch! Julia was not impressed and stayed closer to me than the water. Randall was busy hopping around on one foot. Jaime and I were mostly speechless.

As we helplessly watched, one of the alligators slowly opened his mouth and devoured the entire flipflop. We tried to keep following him, thinking that he'd spit it out and then we could snag it and Randall would have a very cool flipflop. It was easy to watch because it was the alligator that kept chewing! I'm guessing that rubber in flipflops is not the easiest thing to chew up! Right around the time the alligator stopped chewing, we all thought we heard a burp coming from the horde of alligators. Seriously. I don't think I've ever heard an alligator burp before! I've never seen an alligator chew up a flipflop either so it could've been the same alligator.

So the alligators dissipated, all of them off to take a nap after an exciting lunch. I'm betting the one who ate the flipflop ended up with heartburn but we didn't stay around long enough to see for sure. Next we wandered around the rest of the place, hand feeding all the different animals. Jaime carried Randall when the road was too rocky but he managed to get right into it with the other kids.

They got to hand feed a zebra, llamas, Scottish cows, deer, lots of miniature goats, miniature horses and a camel. For the record, I was the only one who fed the camel. It was a bit scary when I turned around and we were eye to eye! And the camel had a huge mouth. I fed it twice and that was enough for me. Julia decided she liked the little horses the best because she likes horses most out of all the animals and these horses were just so cute and little and wouldn't it be cool if she could have one and she was probably going to dream all about little cute horses that night....

As we climbed back in the car, I told Randall that he made our trip into an adventure! We'll always remember 'the time the alligator ate Randall's flipflops.! Randall smiled, but I don't think he's convinced it was worth it. And I'm thinking that there is a certain alligator that is thinking the same thing!


Jaime said...

You told that so well! :-) We were just talking in the car on the way home from school about what happened. Randall still doesn't think it's funny, yet, but I'm sure he'll come around. He has no choice, because everyone else likes to talk and laugh about it. :-)

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.