Taking a full grown horse into a library for a literacy program can be an all-encompassing prospect, especially when the horse is Clifford. He is busy. He must be watched or he tends to grab things off shelves or help himself to the refreshment table. Plus, there are the duties. Clifford performs tricks, signs his own biography, and poses for photos with every single person in the room.
Clifford is a rock star. I am the slave. I have to make sure everyone is safe. When posing him with really small children, I have to tell them where to stand, how to hold his halter to cue him to look at the camera, keep their hands out of his mouth, and keep them from going places where they risk their feet getting stepped on.
But I have to hand it to the staff at Diamondale Public Library. They get it done. I didn’t have to do anything. Plus, I almost got a date!
It didn’t take long for this crew to get the rhythm of our photo-posing system. One kid holds the halter. Additional kids, if there are any, hold the lead rope. That way everyone’s hands are occupied and they have a spot to stand.
One crew member stood behind the counter and sold books as Clifford signed them. One person took charge of posing kids with Clifford. All I had to do was take a bunch of pictures, and then go help him sign books when someone needed one.
While we were thus involved, one little boy asked me, “How old are you?”
There were about a hundred people present, coming and going, and they shouted laughter. “How old do you think?” I said.
“I LOVE YOU!” I screeched. I ran at him and gave him a huge hug.
“Are you married?” he asked.
“No! Why? Are you available?”
Again, more laughter. I said, “Clifford and I have been together twenty-six years. He is the long term male in my life.”
Clifford and I have been to a lot of libraries over the years. But this group as much as any other totally got the gist of Clifford’s shtick. They just let him be himself and they really enjoyed him! We had a rollicking good time at this Library — the Clifford way. Thanks to the staff at Dimondale Public Library for making this happen.