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Editor's Notes: It’s hippo time
editor's notes

Like most of you, I’m a worried man.

Unless of course you’re a woman, but even then you’re still probably worried about Pablo Escobar’s hippos.

In the off chance you aren’t, well, you should be. You see, the late drug lord liked hippos so much he grew them on his Colombian compound. In fact, Escobar grew so many hippos that Colombian authorities are unloading about 70 of the creatures on India and Mexico, according to the March 4 story by CNN alerting me to this dire situation.

Editor’s note: The story came with a photo of some of Pablo’s hippos doing what hippos do, which is hang out together in water looking big and goofy and innocuous, like pot-smoking teenagers in a community pool.

And it got me to thinking. Why should India and Mexico get free hippos and not us? Actually it got me to thinking the Ford Field and River Club should have its own hippos, whether they were wanted or not, though of course they’d be wanted.

Who wouldn’t want a couple hippos? No one, that’s who wouldn’t want some hippos. You can’t look at a baby hippo picture and not need at least two, so they can keep each other company and not tear up the house while their human parents are at work. Imagine all the fun. Just like real fur babies, you can take your hippos for rides. Picture the joy of driving up and down Highway 144 with the windows down so your hippos can stick their heads out the window and let their tongues hang out and ears flop in the breeze.

Naturally, you can name your hippos whatever you want – Skeeter, or Barbara, or Larry or Wolf. You can teach them to play catch and heel, and roll over. They can be therapy hippos and service hippos and guide hippos for the blind. The possibilities are endless. Especially with hippos.

Anyway, being a hack weekly newspaper editor, I initially thought I’d have the folks behind the Colombian hippo diaspora ship me up a couple of hippos so I could sneak them onto The Ford.

That’s what the jet setters on The Ford call that swankiest part of Richmond Hill formerly known as Ford Plantation, which was before it became The Ford Field and River Club and shortened, as the silk-stocking set say, to “The Ford.” Have we been over this before? Yep.

I thought it might be funny to deposit a couple hippos – say two or three or four – on one of the greens on The Ford’s award-winning Pete Dye Golf Course around midnight and let them introduce themselves to golfers the next day, making those big hippo eyes that say, “I have all my shots, take me home.”

And just imagine, if you can, the smile on ol’ Thurston Howell Forbes III’s face as he steps off his The Ford golf cart in his The Ford member’s-only branded Bermuda shorts and shirt combo to enjoy the The Ford’s special quality of light available only on The Ford (and then only if your membership fees are paid up) and finds himself eyeball to eyeball with a couple of bashful hippopotamuses musing over the scenery.

“By Jupiter, just what I’ve always wanted,” he’d tell his wife, Lady, as a knave hands her a 3 iron. “By George, Lady, come see the hippos daintily nibbling our azaleas. The Ford really thinks of everything. Let’s invite the Hermitages and Van de Goosenberry-Swyfts over for cocktails so they can meet our new hippos.” Naturally, before you could say hippopotamus everyone on The Ford would want a brace of hippos of their very own.

I know what you’re thinking. Why should rich people be the only ones to experience hippo ownership? There should be federal or state programs – kind of like the one that provides summer lunches to kids less fortunate –

whereby anyone who would like a hippo can have one of their very own, courtesy taxpayers. We can call them Hippo Stamps. We are, after all, a generous and humane country and we love hippos.

Editor’s note again: I asked my retired Navy buddy B.J. if he thought we should order some hippos and turn them loose on The Ford and he said this: “We need rhinos. The meat is more tender. Hey, in your column about the Yankee surcharge for moving south, why haven’t we put toll gates on I-95? About 8 years ago Marsha and I went to Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Boston, Cape Cod, etc., and when we left Maine coming home we paid over TWENTY bucks coming down the (rhymes with dam) interstate in tolls. On another trip to Amish PENN area, it was the same thing. I think Delaware had TWO. The rest areas are in the center between the N and S lanes and toilets were filthy at every one we stopped at. One rest area had 13 ladies toilets and only TWO were working.”

It hit me then. That’s why folks from up north are coming down here in such great quantities. It’s not our hippos, which we don’t even have yet but will. They’re looking for commodes that work, and we’ve still got some.

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