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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Even more memories

"Does your monkey bite?" I heard that thousands of times over the years. My Uncle Lou owned a farm where he "saved" old circus animals. I used to go and work there summers. He couldn't pay me (or anyone else most of the time) but he did offer me a pet one year. "Pick what you want" he bellowed. Lou was a little hard of hearing, so he yelled most of the time. Now I, being a sensible type, picked a monkey. He was retired from a life with an organ grinder. Really, he used to wear the little hat and coat and beg while his owner played. His name was Mickey, but I called him Steve. Steve was awesome. He was about as smart as most of my friends. Hey, he flung some poo occasionally, but we all have to let off steam. He learned to interact with most of our family activities. I remember him cleaning up on weekend mornings. We usually let him vacuum and sweep. I had sawed the handle off of a broom to make it easier, and he loved the Hoover. He would try to vacuum outside sometimes, so he wasted more than a few bags, but he really saved some effort on our parts. When I would go to school, Steve would just turn on the TV and settle in. He loved the game shows. I remember on Let's Make a Deal, how he would roar at the animals they gave away as gag gifts. I am not sure he understood some of the shows, but he would watch anyway and seemed to really, really enjoy himself. Steve died in a skiing accident. We were down at the lake (come on, surely you didn't think SNOW skiing!! He was a monkey!) and Steve had been watching us all ski and try to ski. He tried to put on some skis and jump in the water. We all laughed and told him we would get him some skis. Later that week we had fashioned Steve some skis from an old pair we had around. Modifications were made on the size and the footholds. Anyway we strapped Steve in and got him on the water. He grabbed the rope handle and gave a mighty whoop as the boat took off. It was on his second jump that he lost it. He somehow got the rope around his neck and was decapitated right in mid-jump. Wow, I get chills now thinking about it. Steve was pretty cool.

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