Hey there, Delilah!
This afternoon, my little girl Emmy and I were out for a walk when we came across an out-of-town visitor. Well, of course we recognized Clawdeen right away, because we have seen her picture on the photo-a-day page! Clawdeen asked us very nicely if we wouldn’t mind telling her where she was.
“Well, you’re in Omaha, Nebraska!”
“Omaha? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it,” she told us. Have you ever heard of Omaha, Delilah?
Emmy asked Clawdeen if she would like to come inside because it looked like it might rain.
We helped Clawdeen inside and got out the map so we could show our guest exactly where Omaha is.
Clawdeen decided to climb up into the window so she could get a better look at her surroundings. As she sat there, she began to look a little wistful. We asked her if anything was wrong. She said that she was just thinking about the gloomy, cold weather and all the other weather she had seen in her recent travels. She told us she had seen cold, snowy mountains and warm, sandy beaches. We told her of a place here in Omaha where you can find almost any kind of weather you want at any time of the year. It is called the Henry Dorley Zoo, and we promised to take her there the very next day. Well, that got Clawdeen very excited!
Emmy introduced our visitor to her best friend, Lola. The two of them sat and chatted all about Clawdeen’s travels and about you and Jackson, and your mom and dad until bedtime.
Lola could see that Clawdeen was very tired, so she offered her bed and told her she would bunk up with Emmy.
In the morning, Clawdeen was up and ready to go, so off we went! As we drove along, Clawdeen saw a famous statue standing by a big sign that said Boystown. She wanted to take a closer look. I told her the name of the statue is “He’s not heavy, He’s my brother!” and that is a symbol of Boystown. She asked if Boystown was a town full of boys. I explained that it is a place where boys and girls who struggle with their behavior and family life can go to learn extra skills so they can go back to their families and be more successful. She decided to climb up onto the statue so she could take a picture to show you. The statue is a pretty cold place to sit when you’re wearing a short skirt, so we hurried back into the car and headed on our way.
As soon as we got to the zoo, Clawdeen burst through the gates. The first thing she saw was a building that had the word “Omaha” on it. I told her there used to be a television show about animals and nature called “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and that a lot of people think of it when they think of Omaha. Inside the pavilion there are lots of exhibits and even classrooms where children can learn about animals up close.
Then Clawdeen saw a building that looked like a big glass bubble. It’s called the Desert Dome. Inside that big glass bubble is the largest indoor desert in the world! I told her that it is always as warm as summer time inside the Desert Dome.
Once we got inside, Clawdeen saw the sand and couldn’t wait to jump right in! She said it felt so good to be in the warm sand again. But then she wanted to know where we could find outdoor winter here at the zoo.
Off we went to the aquarium where we could find the penguins. The zookeepers were making fresh snow inside the penguin habitat. The penguins were playing and swimming.
Clawdeen asked me to hold her up to the glass so she could get a better look. We were very surprised when one of the penguins swam right up to Clawdeen and knocked on the glass with his beak to say hello!
After we were done enjoying the aquarium, Clawdeen saw the Butterfly Pavilion and asked if we could go inside.
She saw so many beautiful butterflies and even stopped to have a chat with one. She didn’t tell me what they talked about, but she wanted to take a few moments by the butterflies’ waterfall to think. I think she was thinking about you, Delilah.
As we walked around, Clawdeen spotted a map of the zoo and saw just how big it was. I told her it is actually one of the biggest zoos in the world. You could spend the whole day here and not get to see all the animals or do all the things there are to do.
Clawdeen was getting a little bit chilled again, so she wanted another little taste of summertime before we were on our way. I took Clawdeen to the Lied Jungle. It is hot and humid inside the indoor jungle, which has a great big tree in the middle. Clawdeen could hardly believe so many rainforest plants could grow indoors! I think seeing all of the vines and branches brought out Clawdeen’s wild side. She even climbed one of the vines and pretended to be a real jungle girl!
As we were leaving the zoo, Clawdeen noticed a big sign that said “Rosenblatt” across the street. I told her there used to be a baseball stadium here where the College World Series was played. The stadium was moved downtown, and they gave the space to the zoo, but they saved a little bit of the baseball diamond and stands so people could still come visit and run the bases!
There was one more place that reminds people of Omaha, which we wanted to show our new friend. A long time ago, before people had cars and had to travel by trains, a railroad was built that ran all the way across the whole USA called the Transcontinental Railroad. Half of it was started on the West Coast and the other half started on the East Coast and the two tracks met in Omaha! Clawdeen decided to strike a fierce pose in front of one of the trains that now stand near where the two tracks met.
Well, all this talk of trains got Clawdeen thinking about you, Delilah, and how you and your family sometimes get around on trains in Brooklyn. She decided it was time for her to be traveling on so she could get back home to you.
We will miss Clawdeen, but we will be happy when she is back home with you!
With lots of love from Omaha,
Shannon and Emmy Koch, and family