The (Other) Lion That Roared
James R. Aist
Funny things often happen when you are vacationing, but they don’t always seem very funny at the time. This funny thing happened when we were passing through Germany while touring Europe in 1972. We were driving our brand-new White/Red Volkswagen Vanagon and going from campground to campground to save money. A two-person tent served as our bedroom.
We pulled into Munich after sunset and followed the road signs to a large campground. After paying the camping fee, we drove to our camping spot and began to set up our tent. That turned out to be no small task, as the tents were crowded so close together that there was not space enough to place the tent stakes properly (see photo). In fact, it was so tight that at one corner of our tent there was no choice but to connect directly to one of our neighbor’s stakes! Having secured the tent, we retired to our sleeping bags right away, so as to get an early start at sight-seeing the next day.
We slept relatively undisturbed until daybreak, when something very unexpected and troubling happened. We woke up to what sounded distinctly like the roaring of very hungry African lions nearby! So, we took a moment to share our thoughts on the matter: “How can that possibly be? We are in Munich, for goodness sake. How can there even be lions anywhere near here? But, just in case, maybe we should get out of our tent and climb into the Vanagon for protection.” So, out of the tent we scrambled and took a quick look around before seeking refuge. And that’s when we saw it: a very large, …… unlit sign just above the treeline that read “MUNICH ZOO.” Now that explained a lot, to our great relief and embarrassment.
After another quick look around to see if we were, perchance, the only ones expecting to be attacked by roaring lions at any time now, we had a good laugh at ourselves. Then we proceeded to break camp and move on as if nothing scary had happened. And, in actuality, it hadn’t!
By the way, Munich was very nice, as expected. Apparently, all of the hungry lions were still in the zoo!
(To read more of my short stories, click HERE)