The Suitcase Lady


October 14, 2008, 10:14 pm

I was definitely upstaged last week, and I don’t mind one bit. Anyone who would try to compete with a mouse for children’s attention is a fool. Fortunately, I have learned that people charm is trumped every time by animal charisma. 

The mouse in question was spotted scampering around a classroom just minutes before I arrived to do a program. Not one child had anything but mouse on their mind. All I could be was a second tier act. My career has prepared me for such humbling incidents. 
The bookstore cat comes to mind. My program was going smoothly, and the bookstore cat was discreetly hanging out on the fringes of the group of children. Then I brought out my cat marionette. Bookstore cat proceeded to arch its back, make every hair on its body stand on end and hiss like a cobra. No strange feline was going to invade his territory. Nothing I could have done would have topped that act.
The lonely dog episode was another challenging scenario. I was at a very small library, and the program had to be done outside on a grassy lawn. I was facing the library with my back to the brick walled building next door. As soon as I started, a dog appeared in the second story window above my head. And this pup was extremely happy to have 50 kids and a program lady right below him. His owner was obviously not home, and the dog wanted to come out and join the fun. He communicated his desire by barking happily for the entire hour.
But my most challenging program involved 50 girl scouts and an open air park pavilion. As I was doing the program, I spotted the skunk heading out of the woods directly toward us. I told everyone to freeze. By some miracle and the influence of great scout leaders, the girls became statues. The skunk waddled into the pavilion, got into a trash can, had lunch and left. I am happy to report that none of us needed tomato juice baths that night.

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