A Farewell to Otters

Some people are dog people. Some people are cat people. The folks who live in the Holmes household are otter people. This should come as no surprise to frequent readers of this blog (do those exist?)  seeing as making an otter-shaped cake was one of my past antics.

Now to be clear, my otter affinity is not an inherited trait. It was something I accepted when I started dating my girlfriend, much in the same way she is now a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.

But, that is not to say that I haven’t jumped into otter fandom with both feet. I frequent cuteotters.com (yes, that’s a real site) and I even pretend not to notice when an otter stowaway sneaks into my bag before “Survivor” set visits.

Gus the Otter on the Set of “Survivor: South Pacific”

In fact, one of the earliest wooing methods I employed was to arrange for an afternoon with the otters at our local zoo. It wasn’t anything special, we chatted with the zookeeper as she fed their two North American river otters. We learned that they had a girl named Delta (her Louisiana upbringing had earned her that moniker) and a boy named Jester (due to his April 1st birth date).

Visiting Jester and Delta became somewhat of a pastime for the two of us. The Brandywine Zoo is roughly the size of a 7-Eleven, so it’s no problem to pop in, watch our buddies swim for a bit, get angry when people called Delta “he” or “him”, and then go on with our day.

Sadly, when we stopped by this past weekend, we learned that Delta had passed. Of course, we were devastated, but it was some consolation to learn that she had lived to the ripe old age (for otters) of 21 years old.

Later that evening I was reminded of a conversation I’d recently had with a friend who had been waking up nights, freaked out about dying. His concern wasn’t so much the physical act of dying, but not existing afterward. Now, I’ve always had a “When your time is up, your time is up” attitude about dying, so that had never been a concern of mine. Every person dies. Every otter dies. It’s the circle of life, Hakuna Matata.

Now, not to get into an “As long as we hold someone in our heart, they’re always with us” spiel over an otter, but it’s kind of the truth. To Delta, we were just a couple of weirdos who swung by her pen every month or so and stared at her. But to us, she was an endless source of entertainment and inside jokes. The Delta Restaurant in town was clearly her favorite hangout, the Delta Chicken that’s served at the Blue Parrot is her favorite dish, and Mardi Gras is probably her favorite time of year.

You never know who you’ll touch or inspire.

So, in closing, hug those you love, forgive people for stupid stuff, and here’s hoping otter heaven is jam packed with smoked salmon, lazy rivers, and people who don’t mistake you for a boy.

Even More Whatnot…

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2 Responses to “A Farewell to Otters”

  1. Jim Burns Says:

    nice post, G!

  2. j Says:

    delta will be missed.
    sending hugs.to those i love

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