Year of the Monkey
It’s the Year of the Monkey, and that reminds me: I’ve always wanted a monkey. I’m sure it’s because my father used to tell wonderful stories about a pet monkey he had while stationed in the Philippines sometime in the nineteen teens. Named Jocko, this monkey would sneak into the barracks at night while my father was sleeping and curl up around his head. A mischievous little monkey, Jocko would sneak into the PX, open the cash register, steal a few coins and would run up and hide them in the rafters. Unfortunately Jocko had the bad habit of biting women of color, so my father had to get him off the post.
When I would be eating lunch at my Aunt Dot’s on Saturdays, the Hurdy Gurdy man would stand under her kitchen window grinding out a tune while his monkey -dressed in a red jacket with gold braid, and a cadet hat, rather like a small bell boy – would run around holding out a tin cup for tips. My Aunt Dot would give me a dime to run down and put in his cup, and oh how I wished I could take that cute little monkey home with me.
I could picture carrying a monkey around with me, his tail wrapped around my waist. But
The closest I ever came to a monkey was in Costa Rica at an animal rescue farm. The guide put a monkey into my arms, and it immediately scrambled up onto my head and settled down in my hair.
I’ve also always wanted a goat, again because of my father’s stories. Somehow ,when he was a seaman, they had a goat on board ship. Unfortunately the goat ate all the crepe paper Christmas festoons and didn’t survive. I even picked out the kind of goat I wanted : a Dwarf Cameroon goat I saw at the zoo
.Someone who knows animals said, “You want a monkey or a goat? Those are the two dirtiest animals!” Well, of course I never got either one, but sometimes I’ll still say “I want a goat,” or “I want a monkey” just to see people’s reaction.
Dorothy C. Judd © 2016
Next post: Monday, February 22nd