Sunday, June 16, 2013


 Years ago I had a small squirrel monkey as a pet.  I had first fallen in love with him in a dark corner at the back of the basement of Kresge's store where they had kept their pet section. It not the sort of  goods that made up the bulk of their inventory.

I had grown up on the stories and pictures that my father's years of exploration in South America. And a favorite story had been of a squirrel monkey that joined him on a raft on one of the tributaries of the Amazon. When my father died unexpectedly a few days before Christmas, my teen-aged children pooled their meager savings and bought me Bobinho (Portuguese for "Little clown) as a Christmas gift to ease my mourning.

I was determined to be a good monkey mother. I bought him his favorite foods. He loved bananas and peanuts, as did I, but research led me to believe that he would savor a treat that was also good for his health: meal worms! The books were right! Given a choice of foods, the meal worms won his enthusiastic favor evey time. Fortunately they were available at a local bird store.

And what does a good mother do? She tastes her child's food, of course! I'll admit that I put it off for quite a while, but finally I picked up a squirmy worm and bit into it. That stopped the squirming.

How can I describe it? It was a bit chewy, but my surprised taste buds were immediately seduced by its flavor. No wonder Bobinho liked it best! It tasted like the best meat tenderloin marinated in a sauce of fragrant tropical fruits, sweet and spicy!

Next, I hurried to the bathroom, spit it into the toilet, then brushed my teeth thoroughly. There are some things that even good monkey mothers can't bring themselves to swallow!