How I Met Your Mother – a Guest Post by my father

In one of my first blog posts, I mentioned the story of my parents meeting and that I might have a guest blog post about that. The first of those posts is this one, How I Met Your Mother, by my father, Toby Styles.  I’m posting it today in honour of the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” which is airing soon after I post this. Hopefully my mother will write up her version of events soon so I can post “How I Met Your Father”.


Toby Calgary 1969

How I Met Your Mother

I was working for Movieland Animals out of Bloomingdale, California as a general all-around animal trainer, handler and keeper.

We provided trained animals for movie and television productions. A big part of our work was state fairs where we would put on a variety of animal shows. We had contracted to provide the animals and to operate a large attraction called Safari for Expo 67 in Montreal. I eventually became foreman/boss of the animal operation. One of the big attractions and revenue streams was the animal rides – camels, zebras (actually dyed white mules) and elephants. I spent most of my time with the elephants; we had 5 or 6 at the fair – Winkie, Stormy, Eli Mae, Lulu, Judy and Diamond.

tobyandwinkie

We started the rides at nine o’clock in the morning and many nights we went to midnight. Safari was situated in the amusement island of the fair called LaRonde with many restaurants and bars. So in the daytime we would get children and families and the evening we would get young adults.

One night three young girls came by and were talking to me over the palisade wall that kept the elephants separate from the people. I had come to Montreal thinking that I spoke French (Alberta/B.C. schools); of course I didn’t but did quickly learn how to say don’t touch. The reader must realize that my work day was from about 07:00 to at least midnight with maybe one day off every now and then. So I was not always in the best of moods. Anyway these three girls came by and the tall one who looked a bit like Ali McGraw, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn (I found out later her name was Suzanne ) came up and asked me the elephant’s name (“Winkie”), how old was she (“13”), how much she weighed (“Quatre tonne et demi”).

She informed me that she was going to steal my elephant……….she never did, but she did steal my heart and she still has it.

dadmomwinkie

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