Watching a small nature segment on one of our favorite Sunday Morning magazine programs, which featured penguins, I was reminded of one of our favorite family stories.
We have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl; they are, of course, both wonderful. And like all children, when they were small, they loved going to the zoo. Once when our granddaughter was about eighteen months or so and our grandson was about three years older than that, the whole family went to the zoo to see a special exhibition of penguins. It was wonderful. There were all kinds of penguins and all sizes. One of the most wonderful aspects of the exhibit was that it was set in a sort of aquarium, so that the visitors could see the penguins pattering around in their awkward way along the edge of a pool, and then we could see, when the penguins were in the water, what grace and strength they had as swimmers.
Let me set the stage for the rest of the story. Our granddaughter, at that time, was safely ensconced in a stroller (or so we thought). The area where visitors passed through had, for ambiance, stone walls and a small fish pond or two against the opposite wall from the penguins. While all the rest of us were watching the penguins and watching our grandson’s excitement, our granddaughter was otherwise occupied. Some movement caught the corners of our eyes and we all turned to see that this amazing little girl had reached in the nearest pond from her stroller and actually caught a fish! This required, obviously, amazing dexterity and a lightning reflex. It also required the nearest adult, which was her father as we recall, to immediately free the fish back into the water and move that stroller to a safer place – safer, that is, for the fish. Then we all instinctively moved to the far side of the exhibit area as if to disclaim any responsibility for any trauma the fish may have experienced. Then we laughed and admired this dexterous child and promptly decided she should have been named “Bear”, since she could catch fish as well as any … well, you get the idea.
Now our granddaughter is a lovely teen in high school and plays the French horn, and plays it very well. Which is a wonderful way to enjoy the dexterity that once caught a fish.