‘I Rode the Flamingo!’

August 16, 2019


by Doug Robinson

I am willing to bet, of the thousands of people who read this story, that none of you have ever ridden or thought to ride a flamingo.  I can hear you now.  “How can you ride a flamingo?  Not only are they little, have sticks for legs, most of the flamingos in the northeast are plastic.”

Well, truth be told, and thanks to the blessings and imagination of Carolyn Beaulieu, Activities Coordinator at Laurel Place in Hudson, many residents of Laurel Place had that ride of a lifetime.

And, most importantly, they earned their badge:  “I Rode!  2019”

Dressed in flamingo hats, flamingo shirts, flamingo glasses, and even holding flamingo stuffed animals, the residents stood or sat in line for their turn to “slip and slide” on the huge, 6-foot, inflatable flamingo.  Nothing was going to deter these super seniors from earning their badge, “I Rode!  2019.”

The outside patio area of Laurel Place had been transformed into what looked like a breeding ground for flamingos.  The pink birds were everywhere.  They were in the gardens, walkways, and manicured flower beds.  The flamingos owned this territory.

Music echoed, playing songs from the Beach Boys and Elvis.  Residents gathered together like the groupies they were, and sang loud and proud.  They bee-bopped in their chairs, chair danced, and they swayed in tune with the music. Many seniors sang in unison not missing a word.

However, the purpose of their presence was located front and center to all.  It was the biggest, tallest, and most friendly flamingo of all.  She (I am guessing that it was a she) stood at least 6-feet tall with a wing span exceeding another 8-feet.  Her smile went ear to ear and she sported a beautiful necklace around her neck.  Her backspace, now open, afforded her riders the opportunity to “ride the slide” in comfort, style, and control.

Laurel Place employees took special care to assist every rider onto the back of the flamingo so that they could all have the “ride of their life.”  Once seated, belted, and secured, each rider hung on as they were propelled along watery slip and slide.

The flamingo ride was so fast and furious (get it?), that not only a seatbelt needed to be worn, but two additional security attendants needed to accompany the ride to ensure the safety of the rider.

While some riders could be heard shouting, “Faster, Faster,” others approached the ride with trepidation and nervousness.  These riders not only genuflect for salvation, they acted like professional ball players who had just crossed home plate after a home run, pointing, and thanking Him from above.  Others, however, when their ride was complete gave the “thumbs up” or the belly laughter of excitement asking, “Can I go again?”

Tears of enjoyment and boisterous laughter abounded from all.  Family members, sitting in chairs videotaping the event, congratulated their loved ones for their riding success while others hugged and extended hi-fives.

Having survived the ride, everyone feasted on black raspberry ice cream and pink lemonade.

They all earned their badge, “I Rode!  2019.”