While claims of the Free-Ride offspring’s telepathy are in doubt, there is no question of the younger offspring’s telephonic prowess (which is to say, the younger offspring can remember all the digits necessary and sufficient to place a call to either parents or grandparents with no adult assistance; the long distance carrier is thrilled). This telephonic prowess was lately deployed while the sprogs were staying with the Grandparents Who Lurk But Seldom Comment.
Dr. Free-Ride: (answering the phone) Hello?
Younger offspring: Hello!
Dr. Free-Ride: Hey, what are you guys up to?
Younger offspring: I wanted to tell you that we went to the Wild Animal Park.
Dr. Free-Ride: Cool! Did you see any wild animals?
Younger offspring: Of course we did! It was a wild animal park!
Dr. Free-Ride: So what did you see?
Younger offspring: I saw gorillas, and lions, and cheetahs, and some other animals too.
Dr. Free-Ride: Hey, I saw some wild animals yesterday.
Younger offspring: Did you go to a wild animal park also?
Dr. Free-Ride: No, it was just a county park. But I saw some deer and some wild turkeys.
Younger offspring: I think we saw deer at the park we went to in Virginia with Duke and Super Sally and our cousins.
Dr. Free-Ride: You have a good memory — that was a couple years ago. We didn’t see any bears, though.
Younger offspring: Except in the movie about bears that explained how black bears are different from grizzly bears.
Dr. Free-Ride: You really liked that movie.
Dr. Free-Ride: I think we saw deer.
Younger offspring: Did you see any salamanders?
Dr. Free-Ride: No. But we didn’t see any of the wild pigs that eat the salamanders, either.
Younger offspring: At the Wild Animal Park, I got a hat and a panda.
Dr. Free-Ride: A panda? Oh dear, we don’t have any bamboo planted — what’s the panda going to eat?
Younger offspring: Not a real panda, a toy panda!
Dr. Free-Ride: Oh.
Younger offspring: I thought you’d be happy it wasn’t a real panda.
Dr. Free-Ride: Well, I’m happy, but you know how [Dr. Free-Ride’s better half] feels about the explosion of the population of stuffed animals in the house.
* * * * *
Reports of Giant Texas Desert Squid and Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus notwithstanding, younger offspring assures me that none of the creatures encountered in the Wild Animal Park resembled these squids. (Judging by the balloons, it seems possible that the squids may be on their way back from some family attraction.)