I have a long running relationship with the Red River Lions of Grand Forks. I have several friends who are members of this group, and I support their activities whenever I’m asked. Usually this means I donate some time, write a check, or speak at their meetings about my work at the Human Nutrition Research Center. This week, however, I took my involvement in the Red River Lions Club to a new level!
When I was home for lunch on Monday, my friend Dewey called to ask if I was busy that evening and he went on to tell me about the Lions Halloween candy give away at the South Forks Plaza Shopping Center. I was already familiar with this annual tradition because I had taken Carl to it several times in previous years and I believed it was a great activity. The merchants of the mall, along with other groups from around the area, set up booths to give candy to trick or treaters, allowing the kids to collect their goodies safely inside.
I told Dewey that I didn’t have plans, as I thought he was looking for someone to pass out candy. He then told me that they had an adequate number of people to pass out candy, but the person who was going to wear the large brown lion suit wasn’t going to be able to make it. I knew what he was going to ask next before he even said it: “Will you put on the lion suit tonight and greet the kids when they come for candy?” I mulled it over in my head only a few moments before I said “yes” in a moment of temporary insanity!
I put on the suit that evening, and started to enjoy it almost immediately. I gave the older kids “high fives.” I knelt to say “hi” to the little kids. I posed for pictures with kids at my side and on my lap. I did my newly developed “Happy Halloween Dance” whenever I had nothing else to do, and some of the kids even joined in with me. Of course, some of the really little kids started screaming in absolute horror as their parents came near me, but most of the crowd seemed to enjoy having the lion running around.
Sue, of course, wasn’t going to let this moment pass by, so she and Carl came out to see me in costume. The highlight of the evening was when Sue took my picture with Carl, and I remembered back to when he was a little scared of the lion the first time he saw it more than ten years earlier. I could never have imagined that it would be I who would eventually end up in the lion suit in the near future! I have truly become an entertainer of children in 2011: Now I just need to work on my roar!