I asked Steve if he wanted to contribute to the blog seeing as how we are in this together. Here is what a trip to Cabelas looks like when Steve takes Brandon.
Brandon and I have been going to Cabela’s together for many years, it’s one of his favorite places to visit. He’s always loved looking at animals and talking about them, and Cabela’s is almost like going to the zoo. All of the animals there are on display after being prepared by talented taxidermists so it’s not exactly the same as going to the zoo. Maybe he likes the fact that they don’t make any noise and don’t try to run up and lick him or bite him.
We have the same routine every time we go. We start by visiting their aquarium, where he always says he wants to see the swordfish. They of course have no swordfish in a freshwater tank. He wants to see the gar, which my father and I always used to catch when we fished on the Cuiver River decades ago in Old Monroe, Missouri. It brings back fond memories and makes me smile every time. There was a special technique to hook them every time, and another entirely different technique required to remove them from the hook.
After Brandon has taken his time looking at the fish in the aquarium, the next stop is always the African animal exhibit. We start with the Impala, then the Wildebeest, then the Lion, then the Eland.
Most of our interactions about the animals are fairly similar. We talk about the color of the animal’s nose, the color of their fur, how many legs they have, what color their eyes are, where they live, and typically move on.
Brandon of course loves the repetition, so we’ll usually talk about the same things for each animal every time we go. He loves the African Lion, and always seems somewhat disturbed at the violent scene played out in the display, insisting we say “Lion, no biting, be nice, play with your friends in the jungle”. I love that he thinks all of the animals should just play nice and be friends. His good intentions and good heart are on full display and it makes me smile.
Brandon also insists on reading the placards in front of each of the displays. It always starts with him saying “Help, Please”, pointing at the words and asking me to read it to him. I’ve read every one of them so many times I could almost do it from memory now. It makes him happy, so I do it every time.
Brandon will always point at at each animal he wants to talk about with me and say “Dad, start”, or “Help, Please”. He’ll want to talk about the color of the animal’s nose almost every time, but I’ll try to mix it up every once in a while and ask more about their environment, what they like to eat, or anything else I can think of at the time.
Our trips to Cabela’s tend to be all about his routine but I do try and mix it up some with each trip and look at a few things I like too. We’ll browse through the firearms for sale, look at some clothes, check out the camping or fishing gear, usually with him begging me to move on to the next animal display the entire time.
I enjoy our outings. It’s fun to spend some time with him and give everyone else at home a small break from his sometimes disruptive behaviors, and it gives me a bit of time away from the house. And who doesn’t love spending an hour or so at Cabela’s? It’s an awesome place.