A Penguin in South Alabama

A Penguin in South Alabama

Have you ever seen a penguin in The South. Yeah, it’s highly unlikely unless you find one of those fancy aquariums somewhere in the big city.

In Newton, Alabama, summers can reach over one hundred degrees and your weight can fluctuate five or six pounds according to how much you sweat. So, when I tell you that I have a pet penguin, I know it is hard for you to believe.

However, it is true.

This penguin lives in our house. He, I assume the penguin is a he, I never really paid attention in science class. I never gave him a name, but for the sake of the story we will call him Jake.

Jake likes to hang around the refrigerator, I’m pretty sure he is trying to stay as close to his normal habitat as possible. Although, as of now it’s twenty-eight degrees outside, he would probably be better off outside.

But Jake means too much to me to allow him to go outside. You see I am afraid that he may get away from me and I may never see him again. We’ve been through a lot together.

Jake has lived with me since I was a young adult. In perspective, Jake has survived thirteen plus years. During this time a lot has changed, five different houses, three vehicles, passing of other loved pets, heartbreak and finding true love. Then came kids of my own, and we all know how tough small children can be on pets.

You all probably have an image of a toddler pulling the tail of a cat or riding on the back of the family dog. So, you can imagine how hard it is to keep our children from injuring an animal that moves so slow.

I am not really sure of the life expectancy of penguins, should’ve paid more attention in science class. But who would’ve thought I would have one as a pet. But hopefully Jake will make it a few more years.

As you may have guessed, I don’t have a living pet penguin living in my house. Jake is a penguin that my nephew, Hunter, colored for me when he was less than five years old. He didn’t really stay between the lines and on the side of the picture it reads ” I love you Unkel Nate.”

Yes, I do know how to spell Uncle.

But those imperfections didn’t matter, because this picture touched my heart deep in a time when I needed something. At times in our lives, things get away from us. We make mistakes, hurt people, and push God away, even though he is the only way out of this downward spiral.

This picture provided me “Hope”, that no matter what mistakes I had made, a five year old boy loved me no matter what the world thought of my decisions. All he knew was that his Uncle loved him no matter what, because he let him sit in his lap and drive his Toyota pick up. His Uncle would also give him Mountain Dew and Bubble Tape and then hear it from his parents a few hours later.

So after all these years, the picture will remain on my refrigerator as a constant reminder that we are all loved. Someone always looks up to you, no matter your imperfections. God loves you as well, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it’s where you’re going.


Unkel Nate

Author: Rainey Days

Teacher, Coach, Parent, Love God and my Life

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