Jocular Jaguars and Jackalopes
My wife and I recently visited an old Arabian Restaurant. We were all set for some mighty fine vegetarian cuisine. i.e a bit of humus, pita, dahl, etc. Serrendipitiously, the site had been revamped to be a performance venue for "Tales of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves". Suddenly, out of the gaping maw of this jaguar, or maybe it was a leopard, (seen above) appeared "Jafarr"; after the cloud of smoke/fog cleared and the eyes stopped glowing red. What proceeded was the "Story Theater" version of "Aladin and the Magic Lamp". The kids down in front, on the "magic carpets" loved it. They were allowed to perform and get involved in the "story" as it unfolded as told by the actors themselves. Certain "special effects" made it all the more fun. i.e.everytime the name "Jaffar" was spoken, everyone had to audibly gasp...everytime a "wish" was granted, the audience had to come up with a special "sound effect" (this time a "meow") The cutest, tiniest pre-schooler from the front row became the "evil Jafarr" with the help of a mask and lots of imagination.
The first time I actually saw "Story Theater" on stage was many years ago when our Indian Guide Tribe went into L.A. (Music Center I think) and saw a popular production of "The Goose that Laid The Golden Egg" and other similar "fables" It was so creatively mounted with a blank, background scrim on which silhouettes and the like could be projected along with vibrant colors. "Here Comes the Sun" from the Beatles was the theme song. We all enjoyed the show, at least the "little braves" did. I remember a little "disagreement" with one of the "big braves" when I, in my "teacher voice", was telling the kids to "be quiet" since we didn't have the "talking stick" out. Later, in the park next to the La Brea Tar Pits, we met and got an autograph from one of the actors in that show. He was on his bike (motor). He was later cast as one of the stars in "The Bob Newhart Show", a dentist, I think.
The first time I took my boys to visit my sister in Santa Fe on the Train, we had some new and different experiences. We were dropped off at the nearest railroad station to be picked up by my sister later. The name of the the station was "Lay-me". Boy did I have fun explaining the meaning of that name to them. i.e. my dad, being a railroad man, originally working on a "signal crew" of men who went from station to station, fixing the electric signals and had to "sleep-over" once in awhile. As we waited, we found several 4-leaf clovers and thought ourselves very lucky. I think it was also then that we saw our first "jack-a-lope". It had gotten its antlers caught in the bushes just above its rabbit hole. I think Brooks wanted to chase after it but I told him that we planned to do that later with my sister outside her home on the hill at "Laughing Sky". We later turned it into a "Snipe Hunt" in the dark where we left him, holding the gunny sack waiting to snag a snipe coming through the bushes.
On our daily morning walk today we caught a glimpse of our first Easter Gander. You know, the ones, with their goose wives, that lay the Easter Eggs out here in Sun Lakes. These geese were poking around in the bushes in front of one of the homes with their rabbit-ears firmly attached...listening for the rare grandkids who visit around this time and hunt their eggs...so they can color them. We had just gotten our annual telephone call from Clark. He can be counted on to call on April 1st, yes, April Fools Day, to try, once again, to fool mom. Today, his new wife, Vi, was fed up and heading back to Utah with their new son, X. He was so "distraught". It didn't work of course. It hasn't since he tried, successfully to fool mom, using the neighbors up the street with one of his "many" run-in stories.
I just looked up "April Fools' Day on Google and went to Wikipedia. After reading the "disclaimer" at the top of the articles, I waded through the stories and wondered how many were "fluff" (which I think alot of Wiki's are) It appears that the day probably got started when they switched the first day of the year from April 1st (March 32nd) to January 1st. and people kept forgetting because there were certain things you always did, rituals on the first day of the year. Then it proceeded to go through all the "hoaxes" that have been perpetrated on the radio, television, media, and, yes, the internet. Some of them were/are pretty famous. i.e. "War of the Worlds" etc. There are ancient roots of this day set asside for foolery i.e "Saturnalia" and "Festus Fatuorum". In England, it was the mythical town of Gotham, in Nottinghamshire, where the whole town tried to act like lunatics to fool King John and his planned visit. It worked and they were not punished.
I must confess that I have, at times, been a "spinner of tales" i.e. made up definitions and interpretations of unknown things and events. This increased after our trip to the British Isles. We were there, touring with our choir and took a side trip to Ireland and the Blarney Castle...you know the rest. As a teacher, we even had a weekly "Liar's Club" named after the popular TV show one year. Kids would bring in odd objects on Fridays and try to explain what they were and what they were used for. Then a chosen panel would vote on "truth or lie"(?) My best was a "mechanical dog dropping" (an extruded glob of shiny metal) Some believed it.
The above post of this blog is filled with the same "blarney". Can you detect which are true tales and which are made up? It seems only appropriate as an activity on this April Fools' Day don't you think? Bob!