This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
CHITCHAT: Click here to see me in a comedy, cable TV performance from a few years ago as a granny rapper who gets shot during a drive-by shooting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwkMrO6tJLE
Now, on to my blog:
I met Snowball some years ago at an EcoFest held on the lawn of the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California where I was a docent. Snowball was part of the attractions at the booth of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southwestern Herpetologists Society.
Snowball’s owner, Jarron, adored him/her, just as you or I might adore our child, dog, cat, parrot, monkey, or lemur. He was full of information about Snowball and couldn’t wait to share it with me after I expressed interest. However, he failed to tell me how his pet got its name. I like to imagine Snowball was born or adopted during the winter holiday season.
Jarred explained that monitor lizards are usually aggressive and dangerous in the wild, but Snowball had been bred in captivity and gentled by humans from the time of wee lizardhood. So, he/she was docile and not dangerous. Jarred encouraged me to pet Snowball and insisted on taking this photo. Its skin felt dry and bumpy under my fingertips.
FYI (courtesy of Jarred and the Internet): Crocodile monitor lizards, a relative of the Komodo dragon, are native to the jungles of New Guinea. They are thought to be the longest known lizard species in the world, usually growing to five to seven feet in length but sometimes reaching over ten feet long. Two-thirds of their length is in their slender tails which they whip around like a weapon. They have sharp, curved claws to aid in climbing trees. In captivity, they can live eight to twelve years.
I saw other reptile owners cradling and cuddling their pet snakes, lizards, and assorted others of the reptilian persuasion. One guy was walking around with his own large lizard clinging vertically to the front of his sweater like an armor breastplate.
Later, a herpetologist club member approached me while I was manning the La Brea Tar Pits Museum booth. She was extremely distraught and crying.
“Do you know anyone in the museum who would like a dead snake,” she wanted to know.
I had never been asked such a question before nor anything remotely similar. It seems that when she had taken her pet snake out of its cage, it was dead. She had owned and adored it for over twenty-five years. She wanted to donate it to a good cause. Amazingly, after a few inquiries, I was able to find a potential recipient of her prize. He was a young, part-time employee of the museum. He planned to use the snake in practicing to build scaffolds for disarticulated, ancient animal bones to display in natural history museums, a pursuit he hoped to make his career. Snake giver and snake receiver conversed and struck a deal.
Beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. We each see beauty in our love objects regardless if they are ugly, strange, weird, or off-putting to others. Be grateful for those who love you. You may seem ugly, strange, weird, or off-putting to some, too.
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