There is a time of the seasons we do not appreciate as much as the obvious seasons which batter us like winter or send us into air conditioned refrigeration like the dog days of summer. These are the in between seasons.
Last night I was at my nephew Jack's wedding reception at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. The reception was outdoors and I found a quiet place to simply stretch out on the deck planking over a lagoon. There was a fence over it which in my opinion was much too low and easy to scale. But I backed into it, and wedged myself there with a beam supporting my back. There I was finally able to appreciate the fine evening weather which was balmy with no hint of the sweltering heat to come which is summer time New Orleans. No bugs either as it is a bit too early for them to emerge. I had just escaped Cleveland's latest blizzard and our own restorative weather still exists only in anticipation.
So there I was enjoying my solitude with the night and just listening to the music, seeing the gyrating couples in the distance going at the music which was changing from rock and roll to New Orleans bourbon street blues.
My sister suddenly appeared to remind me that I was in a zoo and there were man eating critters all around me. "If you wander off, a bear or a gator could get you," she said. If ever there was a moment my family came full circle, this was it. Her meticulous preparation for the wedding and commandeering of us, the groom's flock, through the pitfalls of wedding attendance were all inherited from our mother of course. Field Marshall Irwin Rommel, the Desert Fox in World War II, had nothing on us when it came to moving and marshaling forces. But no one could anticipate unseen and hidden dangers like our mother. Yes, among every other consideration of this wedding evening, my sister would have to make sure that her nuclear family members were not pulled into the swamp to be done in by some reptile which could not control itself. She, of course, as the groom's mother, had not picked the locale so could only go on patrol to locate any miscreants. If I had to make a guess it would be that Jack and Kayla fell in love with this location for their reception and heartily recommended it to her parents.
It would not even be betting for me to place a bet that Dianna would never pick such a locale on her own. Such would be money in the bank for me. Really, both of us would rest a lot easier with a sign like this posted everywhere.
I reminded Dianna that she herself had taken me to this very Zoo some years before for Jack's graduation. I had indeed noticed all of the pitfalls around me. I did not assume the critters were now just asleep and unaware of us in their territory. Frankly, I was a little surprised at how feeble was the protection around us to keep us from the critters should one of us become overly drunk and do something stupid, like decide it was cute to climb over this ridiculous excuse for fence. I had taken this all in just as our mother would, just as Dianna was.
Thus, it was entirely within our protocol for Dianna to cruise the perimeter to make sure no family member got any bright ideas about moving around in this swamp. I am quite sure we were the only two people present that evening having these kinds of thoughts. Certainly no one else looked as if they had given any thought to themselves becoming gator fodder for the evening. This is so second nature to me that I was thinking, when the zoo train was taking us back to the party center, about what would I do to get out of the Zoo in the event there was a power failure.
I cannot believe Dianna did not imprint Jack with these same concerns. We always imprint ourselves on the emerging generation,. So I think it also would not be betting for me to predict that when Jack has a toddler of his own, that toddler's birthday party will probably not be held over this same swamp in the Zoo. If it by any chance were held here, I would expect to see him doing this same perimeter prowl the entire time.
And with that, we have indeed passed the baton to this new family and new generation.