3 Memorable Moose Moments

Moose Moment #1

My brother and I had a memorable moose moment during our childhood trip to Yellowstone National Park. It was the summer before I started 5th grade, and my parents had left Brent and me back at the rental cabin so they could enjoy a quiet dinner together at the lodge. I don’t even remember what caused us to look outside, but all of a sudden a big moose was lumbering through the forest nearby. We grabbed my mother’s expensive camera, which had film in it for slides and was not something we usually touched. Somehow we captured a blurry shot of the moose, I think. I don’t actually remember seeing the shot. But I remember being really excited and discussing the idea of keeping the whole memorable moose moment a secret. That way, our parents would totally wig out when they viewed that particular image in the slides from vacation. But, our memorable moose moment was too thrilling to keep as a secret, and I am pretty sure we gave our parents a full account of the event within seconds of their return to the cabin that evening.

Moose Moment #2

If you read my post last summer about our trip to a cabin up north, you might remember that I mentioned seeing moose in the wild then. Actually, I mentioned moose that evaded the camera. Really, there were two specific moose that evaded me, my camera, my shutterbug friend Kate, her camera and one of her daughters. 

Yes, we missed the memorable moose moment because we stayed back at the cabin while everyone else in our two families ventured off to get fresh water from the spring. Two moose approached the slow-moving minivan en route to the spring. Everyone in the van saw them but no one had a camera. So despite having lots of passionate witnesses of the memorable moose moment, we have no evidence.    

Moose Moment #3

This week I had another memorable moose moment. The girls and I were joining a few other families in our homeschool group for a field trip to Stages Theater to see the play If You Give a Moose a Muffin, based on the children’s book of same title. It’s a light-hearted and humorous story about a boy who encounters a loquacious and hungry moose while spending time at the family cabin.

We arrived at the theater a few minutes early, and so we had time to read the book together, and all agreed we were in for a treat. As the other families began to trickle into the lobby, the girls set off to look at pictures from earlier performances of the same show. They usually love to see the costumes and the cast of characters.

Pretty soon Laurel approached me, looking very somber, and said, “I’m afraid of the moose. He looks tall and scary.”

“Oh, no. Not good.” I thought to myself, remembering last month’s angel incident at Orchestra Hall. I tried to reassure her. “The moose isn’t scary. Remember the book. He’ll be funny. You’ll see.”

“But I don’t want to see the moose. I’m afraid of the moose,” she maintained in worried tone.

Soon it was time to line up and head inside to our seats. We were assigned seats as a group, on the second and third rows. Laurel ended up with an aisle seat on the second row. That sent her anxiety level through the roof because we were entirely too close to the stage plus who knows what might slink down that aisle beside her. She started sobbing. I was still struggling to get her calmed down when the theater’s photographer walked up to our group.

Then I remembered the e-mail. The theater had asked permission to photograph our homeschool group as we watched the performance. I tried to respond kindly as the photographer introduced herself and confirmed the agreement to photograph our children. But Laurel was such a mess and I could barely focus. What am I going to do with her? I was growing anxious, too.

The photographer scurried off somewhere, the theater grew more and more crowded, and Laurel continued to cry. I felt helpless. All I could do was pray. So I held Laurel close to me and whispered prayers. I thanked God for the opportunity to share this experience together. I asked God to help her overcome her fears, to be brave. I asked for peace. 

Soon after I opened my eyes, the photographer reappeared closeby and noticed Laurel’s tears.

“What is wrong, Honey?” she asked Laurel.

Laurel couldn’t answer so I replied, “She’s afraid of the moose. She saw his picture in the lobby, and we just had a bad experience with some large puppets recently and…”

“Would you like to meet the moose backstage?” she asked Laurel.

Laurel shook her head. “No, no, no.” She was convinced it was a terrible idea.

I, on the other hand, thought it was a grand idea. “Yes, let’s go!”

So off the three of us headed toward the exit at stage right. It was darker there and Laurel was still certain she didn’t want to meet the moose.

“This is the special, secret passageway. Follow me,” the photographer explained.

Being rather fond of secret passageways, Laurel followed a little less reluctantly, her curiousity piqued.

Next we stood in a well-lighted hallway just outside the dressing rooms. The photographer went in to fetch the actor. Seconds later she came back with the moose-man, who knelt down to Laurel’s eye-level to introduce himself. He was only partly dressed in his moose costume so his face was completely uncovered.

“My name is Todd. What is your name?” he asked.

“Laurel,” she managed.

“Nice to meet you.” Tugging on a mysterious contraption around his neck, he said, “Laurel, this is part of my moose mask. I’ll wear it on my face when I come out on stage, and my first line will be ‘Mmmmmm… What is that delicious aroma?’ Okay, enjoy the show!” He disappeared back into the dressing room area, and the photographer pointed us back toward our seats.

I sensed Laurel was calming down some, but I still was not certain she was going to make it through the show without another meltdown.

Back in our seats, I noticed a little girl in the front row with a little stuffed moose.

“Laurel, if you can be brave and watch the show, I will buy you a little stuffed moose like that. Would you like one? Do you think you can be brave and not cry?” I asked.

“Yes, I’d really like a little moose. I’ll try,” she commited. “Can I please sit in your lap?” she asked.

“Yes, yes. You can sit in my lap.” I said, pulling her close.

Pretty soon her sister and other friends asked what it was like backstage. She proudly told them that she got to meet the moose and that she knows exactly what his first line will be.

“Mmmmm. What is that delicious aroma?” she said over and over. The words seemed to help her.

The performance itself went just fine; we had no further moose anxiety. God answered our prayers for peace and courage.

Afterwards, I did buy a moose for Laurel, and Linnea used her allowance money to buy one also. I felt a little ridiculous standing there buying two moose, but they were quite inexpensive and I really felt like Laurel’s bravery should be remembered with a furry “bravo!”

For dinner that night, the girls had a little muffin party with their new moose friends. And that memorable moose moment was easily captured by my camera.

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