I went to Australian Zoo today. My guts were churning, it just didn't seem right to NOT go, I had to. Steve Irwin, no matter what you may have thought of him, gave so much. It seemed the right, respectful thing to do.
Before I got there, I pulled into the local service station, and bought a bunch of local native flowers. As I paid, the sign behind the girl took my attention. "All Aust. Zoo staff to show identification before staff discount."
When I pulled the 4wd into the side-road, the media were there to the left, filming, phoning, talking, bored, restless, waiting for something to happen, for something to 'grab'.
From 20 employees 20 years ago, to over 500 employees now, Steve (and Terri's) enthusiasm and passion to the animals and their environment, certainly paid off in dollars and cents. I don't mean their own personal wealth, far from it, I mean in the local tourism business and employment of young locals.
The constant stream from the car park of young kids and their mums, pushing prams and strollers, laden with flowers and cards, quickly showed me the way to go.
The elderly were there, in wheelchairs, the infirm, the disabled, the housewives whose kids were employed there, the locals who have seen the zoo rise from a two-bit nothing dump to a world-class tourism destination, they were all there...and the flowers, the candles, the cards, the balloons madly giddying around in the light breeze, the media and the photographers to capture it all.
School kids with creative teachers, and not-so-creative teachers, adding their homemade cards and tributes to Steve, our darling Steve, and also to Terri, Bindi and Bob.
Some brought gorgeous shop-designed floral tributes, others, a simple handful of what-grew-in-the-back-garden.
All nice, all gorgeous, all placed reverently with a small tear, a cough, a nodded head. Respect.
Steve, do not Rest In Peace! Get out there and tackle God, and ask him why He sneezed and "got ya"!
Live life gloriously!