Leo the Lion’s Birthday

When I was about five-years old, I chased my sister through the house. Why? I do not know. Maybe she took something from me. Maybe I was It. Chasing siblings is something children do.

I distinctly recall going through the kitchen. She went out the back door. Then she slammed the door behind her. It was the screen door, but it still had the glass in it. I went through the door.

There was glass everywhere. I cried.

It seems to me my mother came to my rescue from the garage. That would mean it was the weekend as she would have been grooming dogs out there. There was blood.

Dr. Records’ office was down the street. I know I was there. I needed stitches. I had stitches in my forehead and on my lip. The stitches on my lip were hard. Over time, I know I moistened them with saliva making them softer.

Anyhow, to make me feel better, a large stuffed lion was procured. Later I learned that this had been Beth Brown’s. How it was negotiated, I do not know. But a crying little boy who had been stitched up was soothed with a huge stuffed animal. It was so unlike my family.

I named that lion Leo.

Cape May had pet parades. I know at least once I entered Leo into the parade. Mom painted a wooden crate white and then added black vertical lines to it. On the bottom, four casters were added. Finally, rope was strung through two holes. Inside the crate sat Leo. It looked like the lion was in a cage. Because of the casters and the rope, I was able to pull the crate through the streets for the parade.

I vaguely recall the parade ending at the school’s playground and me receiving a ribbon. I am sure it was just a participatory ribbon. People acknowledged, however, the cleverness of the situation with Leo. That ribbon was in my baby book.

For some reason, I crafted the idea that Leo’s birthday was the day after mine, thus 27 June. I don’t know why other than I suspect it was how children think (of course one’s birthday is the center of their world).

I am sure the incident of going through the glass did not happen on the 27th. It very well have been April or August or October. I just do not recall. Nevertheless, Leo the Lion is celebrated today.

What happened to Leo, I do not recall either. I know he was around for a long time. I don’t recall him falling apart. He wasn’t exactly a sleep-in-the-bed type of stuffed animal.

Anyhow, happy birthday Leo. You made this little boy feel better when his mean old sister hurt him. 🙂

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