A most unusual manicure
You just never know when life will hand you an unexpected and delightful surprise that lingers on in your mind long after an event is over. You readers know that sometimes the smallest happening ends up being fodder for this column.
We have been fans of the Oregon Coast Aquarium from the very beginning, way back when the idea was born. We have been enjoying the aquarium for years, taking houseguests in the daytime and attending various fundraising functions at night. Evenings at the Oregon Coast Aquarium are magical - kind of like Cinderella changing from blue jeans into getting all dressed up. Such a recent evening was the annual Jellyfish Jubilee. The weather was perfect, almost balmy. It is a rather long walk from the parking lot to the entrance, and we were early, so we took time to admire the lush landscaping, remembering back to when there wasn’t any.
The walkway is paved with bricks on which are names of folks who have coughed up bucks to help support the cause. We recognized names on bricks of several people who are no longer here.
When you first show up for an evening event, you hear music coming from somewhere, and you notice the lighting is (to us) romantically different than in the daytime. There is a professional photographer right near the entrance who will take your picture and have it ready when you leave as a complimentary memento. If you are inclined to imbibe, someone hands you a glass of champagne. If you don’t like the bubbly stuff, just keep on strolling toward the many tables of wine and exotic foods. I hope by now you are getting the feel of a special evening event at the aquarium. The Jellyfish Jubilee was well attended, and we enjoyed greeting old and new friends. One big reason for a successful evening like this is the helpful presence of volunteers, which brings me to the reason for today’s column.
Although we know most of the volunteers, today I’m focusing on one special lady. Her name is Jackie Anderson of Seal Rock, and she volunteers for many things. I love her sense of humor and always enjoy seeing her. She is usually so busy helping others and answering questions that I see her briefly for a hug, and that’s it. Not so the other night. Jackie came trotting up as Burt and I were seated at a table enjoying some delicious tidbits and asked me, “How would you like a special manicure?” Of course, a question like that was straight out of left field.
“Huh?” I said. “A manicure? Where, what, when?”
“The cleaner shrimp,” she said, pointing to a nearby tank. “C’mon, follow me.” Not one to miss an interesting opportunity, I followed Jackie to this rather large tank that held an assortment of fascinating fish.
“Put your hand in,” she said. There was a lady at the other end of the tank dangling her hand in the water, happily giggling over what was going on with her fingers. Not for a second did I think that tank was full of man-eating piranhas, although I can think of a few squeamish female friends who would not put their hands in the tank.
It really was an amazing experience. Those shrimp do not resemble anything you might order in a restaurant. They are strange-looking creatures, all skinny arms and legs - well, maybe legs and legs - and very determined to nibble gently at cuticles and anything else they find edible. I sent an email to Jackie asking for information. Here is what she replied:
“Well my dear friend here we go. I have been with the aquarium almost nine years and have a regular shift on Friday afternoon. I help out in the classroom on Monday and Wednesday when needed. I am on the training team for new volunteers and help out in other ways. The cleaner shrimp exhibit is to explain to visitors that they exist in the ocean. They live on live animals and eat the parasites. We open the tank several times a day so visitors can experience the great feel of having the dry skin eaten from their hands and nails. This is part of the fun, yet educational things we do for the visiting public. This exhibit is in Sea and Me, a new exhibit for children, but, of course, it is fun for all ages.”
Well, it was certainly fun for me. So is there a message in today’s column? Yes - the importance of volunteering, and my personal belief that when the brass ring comes around on this merry-go-round called life, grab it because it may never come around again.
On the subject of manicures, here is your chuckle for today: A man went into a barbershop to get a haircut, a shave and a manicure. While getting his shave and his manicure, he whispered to the cute manicurist, “How about going out with me later?” She answered, “No, I am married.”The man said, “Well, tell your husband you’re working late.” “You tell him,” she said, “he’s shaving you.”
That’s it for today, and I have enjoyed typing this with very clean fingernails and nicely trimmed cuticles. Thanks for the experience, Jackie. Yep, most amazing manicure in town!
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her husband, Burt, their dog, Charley, and a shelter cat named Lap Sitter.
Bobbie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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