Mom, Michael, Lucy and I went to the zoo this morning with some friends! It was really fun! Last time we only went to the aquarium, but we went to see the cats, gorillas, butterflies, giraffes, and the Desert Dome today too which was fun! 🙂
Yeah, it’s not Tuesday. I know. I just couldn’t help myself. I did warn you… actually, you guys are probably happy! 🙂
Oh! and yes, Savannah, I totally got the name ‘Dakota’ from you. I had heard it before I read your story, but you brought it to life for me. I hope you don’t mind! 🙂
Okay, here goes! Have fun!
We struggled out of our snow-clothes and trooped in, finding ourselves in a smaller room with another door at the far end. It was filled most of the way up with a card-table, a small couch, a bookshelf, and four chairs; but a make-shift kitchen was set up in one corner. My Aunt Dakota was standing in front of the camping-stove stirring a small pot. She set down her spoon and came over to us—I wondered if she had been stirring the pot for fun, or if she deemed giving us hugs the instant we came in worth burning dinner. I certainly hoped it was the first!
I did not remember seeing Aunt Dakota before either, but she acted as if we were the best of friends.
“Wow! You’ve gotten so big!” she exclaimed. I sighed inwardly. “How old are you, Cassidy?”
“Thirteen? My goodness! I can’t believe it! You were like seven or somethin’ last I saw you!”
More like six, I thought, smiling awkwardly.
Aunt Dakota made coffee for the adults and hot chocolate for me—at least, it is my private belief that she made it just for me; and that she drank it only to make me feel included. I cannot say why.
“How was your flight?” my aunt asked.
I blew the steam off the top of my disposable cup. “Long.”
“Well, yes, that’s to be expected. Twelve hours?”
It was more like fourteen hours, but Dad nodded. “With a several-hour flight to Chicago.”
“Was it a rough flight?”
“No,” Dad answered again. “It was pretty smooth.”
I sipped my hot cocoa and looked around the room.
“Come over here, Cassidy, I wanna’ show you something,” Uncle Jonathan announced. I got up and followed him to the bookshelf. He knelt down beside it and pulled off a book. He flipped around for a while before showing me a picture that compared a drawing of a wooly mammoth and an African elephant.
“Do you see the difference?”
I sat down criss-crossed on the floor. “The hair.”
He laughed. “You’re determined, aren’t you?”
“Not really—just truthful.”
“Just hasty! Look closer.”
I took the book from him and studied the pictures. “Their backs?”
“What about their backs?”
“Well, the mammoth’s back slopes down from its head, while the elephant’s slopes down on both sides, leaving a hump in the middle.”
“You thought it was just camels that had humps, didn’t you?” laughed Dr. Peterson from across the room. I pretended not to hear him.
“What else is different? Look at their tusks!”
“Well,” I said slowly after looking closely at both animals. “The mammoth’s are curved, while elephant’s are straight. Don’t elephant-tusks ever get that way?”
“No, just mammoth-tusks.”
“Oh!” I said. “Interesting.” And I meant it.