Jenny and the Ostrich

Last spring we were on a cruise to the Caribbean and one of the ports was Aruba. We took a day tour and visited an ostrich farm. Our two grandchildren Austin and Jennifer had a chance to feed the ostriches….Austin was not sure if he liked them and was worried losing a finger or two in the process. I don’t blame him, they were about 8 feet tall and had big hard beaks and big eyes that stared at you (not friendly). The feed was a small type of pellet and the trainer poured some into their cupped hands. The birds would reach over the fence and peck the food from your hands. Jenny didn't like them either but the guide gave her the feed bowl so we could take a photo of her "feeding" the ostrich.

I didn't feed them, didn't even give it a thought. I never did like ostriches. The trainer made a huge ostrich squat down and the children in the group were allowed to sit on it’s back so the parents could take photographs. This was one of the few tourist stops that didn't charge for photographs and the parents were clicking like crazy.

When it was Jenny's turn she climbed on it's back and the ostrich decided to get up and take a walk around the enclosure. The ostrich was probably getting tired of the whole thing and just wanted to be left alone.

It started off as a walk but it was more of a trot with the trainer trying to grab it's neck. The trainer didn't have a rope or leash on the bird (obviously it wasn't supposed to go anywhere).

Jenny didn’t know that it was planning to get up and take off....when the other kids were on its back, it just sat quietly as they had their pictures taken. Suddenly Jenny found herself 5 feet in the air on the back of an ostrich who was squawking and flapping it’s wings.....doing it’s best to get away from the trainer. Jen had a look of pure terror on her face! The trainer wasn't looking too happy either.

He kept telling her to hold onto the wings, but she was afraid she’d hurt it. And, grabbing two big flapping wings is easier said than she floundered from side to side trying to keep her balance for three full gallops around the pen. Once it slowed to a stop, she slid off it’s tail. I don’t remember if she was laughing or screaming but she was definitely relieved to be on solid ground.

I’m sure she’ll fondly remember her first (and last) ostrich ride.

She is now the star of a whole bunch of home movies. The other passengers thought the whole episode was hilarious.