Monday, March 31, 2014

Baby Daluca and Heaven Above

There might be two or three people in the world that look at Sea World photos and think about and hear what I think about and hear when I look at them. 

When the boys were 2 and 3, we moved from The Woodlands to San Antonio. Steve and I had done many weekend road trips to the tourist mecca 3 hours west of Houston over the years, and I even traveled there as a child with my parents and with various school groups. It always held an attraction for me. If Houston was the reliable aunt as a town, San Antonio was the fun cousin. And who doesn't love a fun cousin? So, when Steve's job offered us a relocation to San Antonio, we felt like we had won the lottery, and promptly began packing our bags.

We lived there for three short years. Steve didn't get the memo to do poorly and stay planted at his little store for a good 5 or 10 years. A larger store loomed and the promotion was too good to pass up. I never felt like I got enough time to live with my fun cousin, my riverwalk city, my cactus in bloom countryside. While we did live there, though, we made the most of it.

San Antonio was an amazing place to raise toddlers. So many warm and sunny days in any given year that provided an ideal climate for two outdoorsy boys who loved to run and climb and chase and roll and swing and slide. City parks and neighborhood playgrounds were abundant and many errand days or outings began or ended with a stop at one of them. It seemed natural, too, to invest in season passes to SeaWorld. 

I would be hard pressed to tell you who was more fascinated by the giant marine mammals - Steve and I, or the boys. We all delighted in taking in the shows, following the herd from one arena to the other on well manicured pathways defined by borders of lantana. We knew enough to avoid the splash zones and loved to sit where we could see all of the tricks and acrobatic maneuvers of the beautiful animals.

My favorite was always the beluga whale show. They seemed so graceful and full of secret stories as they slowly made their way along the walls of the giant tank of water. And I never see a photo or think of a beluga whale that I don't remember two tow-headed little blonde boys singing, 
"Baby daluca in the deep blue sea, swims so wild and he swims so free. Heaven above and the sea below and a little white whale on the go...Baby daluca, oh baby daluca...Is the water cold? Is your momma home? What makes you so happy?" 
I always secretly loved that they initially pronounced beluga as daluca. If you had any question as to what they were saying, their crescendos on the chorus line put your questions to ease.

Many family outings were spent at SeaWorld and living in town gave us the perks of going when the rest of the world wasn't invading our home town, allowing us to avoid the crowds. Once we moved south, we never really returned to SeaWorld. It was as if we were unwilling to become "those tourists" and, having lost our home field advantage, we opted to stay away either out of self preservation, or an unwillingness to face up to the loss we felt over missing our beloved riverwalk city. 

Ten years and eight months after moving away, we did return to San Antonio for a few days as a family, and we did also return to SeaWorld for the first time since moving away. It was so much fun to be back where things were so familiar and so full of memory, to take in the tradition of the same shows, and to discover the new features of the park. I always love to go back with the boys to a place they have been before and get them to compare and contrast, to remember and to tell.

We went to our same shows we always had loved, and we went to ride some rides and we went to the penguin habitat. I can still see the baby penguin in my mind. It was a great day to be together. SeaWorld had a way of making our day a little brighter, our world a little smaller, taking us back in time. 

When the day was over, we had fun recalling over dinner our favorite parts of the day. I was not surprised when the majority of the table answered that their favorite show was Shamu. It's hard to not be overwhelmed with amazement at seeing the giant Orcas swim and perform for a delighted stadium. I remember, too, that years ago, we would go for days to only see simply Shamu. Some things never change. And I'm secretly delighted by that. 

I think the song lyrics are spot on - "Heaven above and the sea below, and a little white whale on the go...." That is the stuff that days are made of, days that make you happy.

Simply Shamu ~ SeaWorld ~ March 2011

Paper: Echo Park

No comments:

Post a Comment