Katie Mae and I have been married forty years in July. I just counted up and we have lived in nine towns or cities since we first so bravely said, ‘I Do.’ We are both natives of Albany, Georgia and although Albany has now fallen on harder times than when we lived there the good citizens never fail to amaze me with their dogged and never give up attitude when it comes to their continuing efforts to make it a great place to live.
We sometimes complain about conditions in our old home town and we love to reminisce about the way things were when we were young but you really have to stop and consider that a town the size of Albany has more things to do for young people than any place I can think of.
Radium Springs is only four or five miles from downtown and is the largest natural spring in Georgia. It retains the gracefully designed walls, walks and enclosures that once made it a showplace of the south. The water is generally a crystal clear blue and when the spring is pumping at its best it produces 70,000 gallons of water per minute at a constant 68 degrees.
Albany has a beautiful aquarium dubbed ‘The Riverquarium’ that’s brimming with examples of plants, shrubs, fish and reptiles all native to the area.
When we were kids, Albany had a zoo that could be compared with zoos in large cities. We had it all. Gators, an anaconda, other reptiles, monkeys, a crazy chimpanzee, ferocious psychotic baboons, blubbery manatees, otters, swans, an elephant, a buffalo that looked like an American bison, big cats, and a donkey. There were exotic eagles from Africa and South America. We even had a lion that could hike his rear end high in the air on the chain link fence enclosure and urinate a stream like it came from a fire hose and woe be it to the poor spectator standing there in the front of the cage with mouth agape.
Later the animals were all transferred out into the county to Chehaw State Park where a huge area had been converted into natural habitats for all the wild animals.
And here is where my cue came in and rapped its knuckles on my thick skull to wake me and remind me that the governing fathers of Albany and its surrounding area are still at it. Even in these trying times they have produced a great new addition to Chehaw. If you live near there be sure to stop in and say hello to Bogart, the Bactrian camel in his new house.
Bogart has a set of lips you won’t believe. He can twist and screw up his lips so they look like a long straw and he can empty a 55 gallon drum full of water in just a few minutes.
But the greatest thing about Bogart is he has two humps. He is an Eastern Asia camel so that makes him eligible for a second hump. Dromedaries are from Western Asia and Northern Africa and they have only one hump. So now you know all you need to know about hump-backed camels.
We asked our young friend Mac, who is pictured above admiring Bogart, how she likes the new camel. She said she loved Bogart but the whole thing makes her kind of sad.
We said, ‘Sad, how in the world can Bogart make you sad?’
And she said, ‘People who have a hump day have hump day only one time a week on Wednesday but poor old Bogart has a double-hump day every day of his life.
It makes good sense to me and I don’t think Mac will be sad too long. I know I won’t.