Thursday, August 31, 2006

Merely Meerkats

Even before we were married, my husband and I found out we had one other thing in common besides college classes and mutual attraction: we both loved zoos. On a college trip to Mexico City, we rode the subway system to Chapultepec (Aztec for grasshopper hill) Park, an area that encompasses not only a zoo but a museum and a castle, by following the grasshopper icons. Had our children been able to know what kind of family they were being born to ("Look--historical marker, let's pull over and read it!") they might have opted out. Instead, they were stuck with us and should have enough museum and zoo knowledge to carry on appropriately with their progeny.

We all have favorites in the zoo and mine quickly came down to river otters and meerkats. The former are clowns, and I've always admired the one-on-guard-duty aspect of the latter. So when Animal Planet announced at the beginning of this summer that there would be a thirteen-week series called "Meerkat Manor", I set the VCR.

We were immediately hooked. Friday nights being "date night", we rarely watched it in real time. Coming in from dinner and a movie, we were usually too tired to follow the exploits of Matriarch Flower, she who runs the tightest meerkat ship in the Kalahari, and her family. But Saturday morning, I'd cook breakfast and we'd ignore the newspapers as the soap opera that was the tightknit meerkat family held our attention.

And then, it was over! OVER! Thirteen episodes gone in the blink of a hot summer's eye. And the rascals, they leave us hanging, not knowing the fate of Shakespeare, favorite defender of the troop. How could they do that to us?

Simple. There's a second season. It begins this Monday and I can hardly wait.

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