When my sister comes to visit from out of town, she really loves to feed the animals at the Illinois Veterans Home.
There are lots of different animals, a little garden, some history ... our grandpa is buried there. I'm sure if you're from Quincy or the surrounding area, you know what a great place it is. I mean, where else can you go and feed deer, some mean geese and "not" feed the buffalo?
It's a fun thing to do with the kids - or without, as she suggested one day.
We were in one of those drive around and take in the fall kind of moods. The kids were in school, so when she asked if I wanted to feed the animals, I laughed.
When she asked if we should stop at the store to pick up some food, I shot her a smile and knowingly said, "No, there's plenty of food in this van."
She looked confused until I parked and opened up the sliding doors to reveal: a half-eaten bag of popcorn, an apple that had rolled under the seat, three opened mini bags of Cheetos, two opened and now stale packages of graham crackers, pretzels and sweet tarts that had spilled all over the floor, and a package of pumpkin seeds the dog had ripped through.
(Anyone else thinking about "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"? I'm thinking of writing a parody titled "The Very Messy Children.")
With all that, we pretty much had enough to give all the animals at the animal park diabetes. I was worried about the sweet tarts for a second, but then thought, we give horses sugar cubes, and that's basically the same thing.
After we finished, the van looked pretty good ... kind of like there weren't live animals living in it. This led me to ponder, maybe I should come feed the real animals more and my own children less. Or at the very least, I should reconsider our snack choices and tidying responsibilities.
So, in conclusion, everyone should go and feed the animals ... but not the buffalo because that's against the rules and I would never throw them a sweet tart.
We don't even wear red in front of them ...
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.