A Family Serengeti Experience

 I needed a break from writing, from phone calls to set up book signings for now and the fall.  I needed a big break from working on Brocato Publishing....Touching Hearts/Changing Lives - my new website. I am not tech savy but I get by but the new creation of the website stretched me way beyond my comfort zone.

In addition that weekend, Debby had all of us on edge.....the long days of rain, the high winds. I needed a break from tv and news. Here in Wesley Chapel, we received our share of high wind and rain. The limbs from our huge, old oak trees scattered the yard plus abundant water residue. However, we were fortunate that was the extent of our damages compared to surrounding counties.    

So you can understand my thrill at the hint of an outing at Busch Gardens - Tampa Bay, Florida.  It was tentatively planned weeks before for July 27th, a Wednesday.  On Tuesday, we watched the rain come down in torrets.  It was blinding.

Oh, but Wednesday arrived strangely calm and hot.  It was as though Mother Nature had behaved herself instead of going wild.  Michelle Kinser - Stutts, a friend who was about to retire from Busch Gardens on that upcoming Friday, after 38 years, was going to accompany my husband, Frank and I.  Plus our grandaughters, Rachel (8 years old) and Julia (5 years old). They were at our home early with high hopes but little Jadon ( three) was not of the five year old age limit so he could not come.  I promised I would make it up to him at Lowry Park Zoo soon. 

We boarded the open- air touring vehicle to trek across the wide and wild African Plains.  This Serengeti Plain is a 65 - acre recreation of life on the home of the last great migration on earth. (Busch Gardens website)  We saw hundreds of fascinating animals like ostriches, hippos, rhinos, and other exotic species.  I thought it was interesting that there were were two kinds of zebras: the endangered ones had wides stripes going into narrower ones while the other kind had the usual stripes we see in zoos.

Everyone knew my favorite would be the giraffes.  I love giraffes.  Before researching for Ivan Becomes a Hero, my children's book, I never gave giraffes a second thought but as I read about their magnificient speed, long purple tongue, keen hearing and powerful legs-- I began to respect this creature that God so "fearfully and wonderfully" made (Psalm 139:14).   We were joined by adults and children from Brazil and England. The laughter and anticipation were universal!

No one was disappointed.  As if right on cue, two beautiful giraffes galloped happily to the vehicle as we stopped. We were given lettuce to place over our heads to hand feed and pet them with ease.  The giraffes had different personalities.  One seemed friendlier and always ready to come near.  We were mesmerized and in love.

The baby giraffes were adorable and I wanted to bring one home.  Really.  So did the granddaughters. So we talked about having a giraffe in our yard and how we would raise one.  It was a fun discussion.

Frank, Michelle, Rachel, Julia and I had an amazing encounter with some extraordinary animals.  It was a refreshing time and I was ready to return home and begin to do what I am called to do.................get my children's book out there into the hands and hearts of unknown children as far as God will take it.

A celebration of life - a celebration of family - a celebration of taking time out to laugh and be a part of this wide world of one - day- at - a- time living.

Write from my Heart.....Brocato Publishing/Linda Rossetti Brocato   July 8, 2012

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