Rules for everything!

When I was very young, there were rules for everything. Do this. Don’t do that. One of my parents’ favorites was I had to read for an hour each night before I went to sleep. I didn’t mind reading but, an hour? It wasn’t long before I figured out a solution to this problem, I started reading comic books. Maybe my parents had one upped me. Because, after reaching high school, I never read a comic book again.

Don’t play with your food!

A favorite dinner pastime was to be-speckle my rehydrated mashed potatoes with my hated canned peas. My mountain of potatoes spotted with peas was a glorious site until forced to eat them. For lion cubs, playing with your food is encouraged. Mama lion says to a teenage cub: “go out and get me a mongoose, dead or alive, and give it to your younger siblings to play with. I want them to learn to handle their food.” The rules are much different for the lion cub where a delicious mongoose becomes a toy.

Who could have thought a dead mongoose could be so much fun.

Stay in Line!

An important rule of grade school was to stay in line. I was never sure why, but this is what we were told. And, as I remember, I hated it. Now I spend my time on-line but still hate being in line. When I see a line, especially a slow-moving line, whatever I may have wanted can wait. But not in pre-sixth grade school. You step out of line and knuckles can be whacked. For cheetahs it can be a matter of life and death. If one gets out of line, it can become a prey. These younger cubs followed mom, in a straight line, up a hill to a safe haven.

Even the cheetahs of the Mara follow Covid spacing

Don’t play in traffic! 

Another rule, which does make a lot of sense, is “don’t play in traffic!” Looking out for moving cars is essential for maintaining your health and possibly your life. When I was fourteen, I crossed in front of bus to try and cross a street. Bam! Two broken legs later I learned the wisdom of this rule. For older cheetah cubs, their mom never communicated this rule. Maybe it is not a rule among the cheetahs? Four cheetah cubs frolicked in and around and under safari vehicles. I suppose they knew they were the stars of the show, not worrying that a vehicle would move, knowing that all cameras were on them.

When you are the star, you can go anywhere you like.

These cheetah cubs (and two others) continued to play in front of us for nearly an hour. Truly amazing.

Family Outings.

As a youngster into my early teens, I almost always hated family outings. I would do anything to avoid attendance. “How is school going?” “Tell me what you have been doing over the summer.” No one ever asked me anything of importance such as, “how is your baseball team doing?” For the lions they take pride in their family outings. They are enthusiastically attended by the entire family sans older males, they are off doing man things. Everyone else finds a beautiful spot to rest, drink, and play.

An idyllic scene. For 90 minutes we were the only witnesses to their family outing.

Sometimes a female would sneak off to covertly meet up with a male.

What males do.

As time goes by, rules change. But there are always rules. Now retired mine have morphed into: play pickleball each morning, work on my photos, take a nap. These are rules I can manage!