Something Like a Human Cannonball

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Ray and I spent a wonderful day on Wednesday with our daughters and their children at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Here are some highlights in the order we saw them.

A Friendly Beast


Clouded Leopard, Born at the Nashville Zoo

Beautiful Koi

Keepers Taking Llamas for a Walk Through the Zoo

The usually sleeping cougar was awake on Wednesday.

Spider Monkey from Mexico

Spider Monkey Mama with First Spider Monkey Born at the Nashville Zoo

Mama Kangaroo and Her Six-Month-Old Joey

Ray and I are so strange. We’re still watching old black and white game shows from the 1950s and 1960s, To Tell the Truth and What’s My Line? in particular. Just before lunch, my mind went back to some of the game show guests we’ve seen. You’ll see what I mean before you get to the end.

At lunchtime, Ray and I watched the children while they played in Jungle Gym, the zoo’s playground, and our daughters went to the parking lot to retrieve the picnic lunch they sweetly provided. I was grateful the day before when they offered to provide sandwiches, sides, and dessert and only asked me to bring paper plates, napkins, and anything else I’d like to throw in the mix.

Ray’s task while they were gone was to stand guard at the entrance of the playground to make sure that none of the children ventured outside the area. My task was to be our four-year-old grandson’s sidekick. It was basically a game of Follow the Leader. I was the happy follower. This is an amazing playground. Our younger daughter described it as the best one she has ever seen. I agree.

One of our grandson’s first destinations was the 35-foot-tall house structure. We climbed and climbed and then he sat down on the edge of its very tall, enclosed spiral slide. I have gone down spiral slides many times in my years as a Little, but I was apprehensive when I looked at this one. I gave him instructions to wait for me at the bottom and got up my nerve. As I got ready to go, a little girl about five years old said something to me. I confess that I didn’t pay close attention. I sat down and off I went. In only a few feet, my head touched the top of the tube; I realized I was going to have to lie down. That was when I lost complete control. Down, down, around and around I flew in total darkness, speeding along in my slick, puffy jacket—the perfect attire if your goal is speed. That was not my goal!


It was my landing experience that made me think of those old game shows. I remembered the people whose secret occupation was getting shot out of a cannon at the circus!

I shot out of the exit onto the mulch. My torso was bent ever so slightly, just enough that I landed hard on my backside without hitting my back or head. There was our grandson, obediently waiting for Little. The little girl who had spoken to me at the top of the slide said, “I told you you couldn’t sit up.” I was touched by her kindness and amused at my own naiveté. I got up—a bit slowly—feeling grateful that all my bones were intact.

Our grandson and I continued our game of Follow the Leader until we were called to a yummy lunch. That afternoon our nine-year-old grandson asked me to ride the zipline with him. I did some considering—and praying—before I said yes to my first zipline ride. I asked Ray to pray for me, too.

The result? I loved it!

I’ve already made plans for our next trip to the zoo. I plan to say yes to anyone who asks me to ride the zipline, and I plan to wait at the bottom of the 35-foot-tall house structure for anyone coming down its slide.

My slide and zipline experiences are a lot like homeschooling. Sometimes you try something for the first time, and it works great! And sometimes you try something for the first time—and the last time—all at the same time!

There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:1

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