By Charles Towne 

Please believe me when I tell you that normal Zoo directors don’t arbitrarily wake up one morning with the idea that, “Today I am going to become a lion tamer!”

More years ago than I care to contemplate I was the director of a small Midwestern zoo.  Totally full of myself I woke up one morning and I decided, quite arbitrarily I might add, to become a lion tamer.

Looking back from the perspective of those years, I can see that there is some truth to that old saying, “The Good Lord takes care of old men, children, fools, and crazy zoo directors.”

Up until that time and since, I suppose that it might be said of me that I have at times bought “fool” to a very fine degree of perfection.   How else would you describe the quaint pastime of noodling for snapping turtles?

Oh my, you say you have never heard of noodling for snapping turtles?   Allow me to elaborate.

Imagine that you are standing in a river in waist deep water.  The water is murky, almost coffee colored, but you jam your hands beneath the surface and began feeling around.  Ah, you find what you seek!  Grabbing it, you pull forth a twenty-pound snapping turtle, very capable of ruining your day.  (They call it “noodling” because your fingers look like noodles to a big, fat snapping turtle.

Ahhh, now you are beginning to get an idea of what I mean when I refer to foolishness.
Let us return to lion taming, shall we?
But wait, before we return to lion taming we will throw another element into the mix, prayer.

Prayer is a very powerful entity.  The only reason I am here today is the fact that my dear, sainted mother spent an almost unreasonable amount of time praying for me.

All of that aside, I am somewhat puzzled that prayer is not used more often.

I am sure I prayed before I stepped into that lion’s cage.  My prayer probably went something like this, “Lord, please keep me safe from the lion.  Amen.”

And never once did I hear a deep, God-like voice say, “Sorry Charles, Daniel you are not, and I really do have a hard time fixing stupid.”

I broke every rule in the manual of lion taming that day so I am sure Papa God was taking care of me in spite of my stupidity!

And in regards to prayer, I wonder, do you suppose that, just perhaps, the lion was praying?   If so, perhaps his prayer would have gone something like this, “Please Lord, send a nice, tender, and not too bright human to walk into my cage so I can have a delicious meal, Amen”

Lions, as well as all other big cats, are worked in round or ovoid cages for a very good reason.  When entering the cage with the lions or tigers the trainer always keeps the cats circling to the outside walls of the cage, so the reason for the round cage becomes apparent.  No corners.

When a large carnivore is backed into a corner it feels trapped, therefore there is a very good chance that it will retreat forward, right over the top of the trainer, where it is apt to pause momentarily to exercise its claws and teeth with great vigor and zeal.

With a certain level of fear and trepidation, I opened the door to the lion’s cage.

Keep in mind you are not supposed to show fear.

Remember, animals sense fear, so I whispered a mantra of, “I am not afraid, I am not afraid, I am not afraid…!”  All the while hearing an accusing voice whispering back, “Liar, Liar, pants on fire…!”
In my right hand, I held a light-weight kitchen chair and in my left a broom handle.  (As you can see this was all very high tech.)

I stepped into the cage.

I stared at the lion while I was pondering, “What are you doing Chuck, don’t you realize this is a lion?”

The lion was staring back at me wondering, “What are you doing Chuck, don’t you realize I am a lion?”

The animals in the other cages were watching and thinking, “What is this idiot doing, doesn’t he realize that is a lion!”

Looking back at it all from the myopic vision of many years and with my somewhat warped sense of humor, I have to wonder, was the lion praying for protection from the idiot human with the silly stick?  Or just perhaps the lion was praying, “Please Lord, give me patience!”  Or, I can just imagine him asking grace, “Thank you Lord for sending this tender human that I am about to eat, Amen.”

Well, it is obvious the lion didn’t eat me because of the fact that I didn’t end up as a large pile of black, tarry, and very smelly substance on the floor of the lion cage.  Therefore, one thing I have had to accept since that long ago venture into the wild side is this, God really does protect idiots, and He does eventually fix stupid.

How many times has God saved you?  Are you in the habit of praying, visiting with Him?  It has been said that prayer is “communication with God as with a friend.”  And so I ask, are you in the habit of calling on your Holy friend only in time of desperate need, or, do you visit with Him spontaneously, enjoy being in His presence as though He really is your very best friend?


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Love this article…conjuring up memories of my Cat-taming days. I worked with Bengal tigers and Florida panther in the mid 90’s. Yes…I am evidence that God will protect Stupid, too! I treasure these crazy memories and adventures and I thank God that he allowed me to live wildly and make it out safe and alive! I have fabulous memories and stories to tell and will continue to devour everyday experiences in the same manner. Life fully…Live Now and enjoy the moment! Remember the mantra: Be…Here…Now.

  2. Oh NH, Life is absolutely, marvelously, deliciously, incredible! As I look back over the years I can’t help but think of what a marvelous God we serve, and how he has intervened in my life. I wonder, do you suppose Papa God looks at the bold, the brave and the bodacious, yes, even the bad, with a certain amount of special patience, perhaps even with a bit of pride, grinning all the while because He knows that once they surrender their hearts to His will He will be able to use them in an especially beautiful way to glorify Him. I believe that He must appreciate the quirky and squirrely among us, at least I hope so! Thanks for sharing my friend, Chaz

  3. I agree completely, and if God had not been looking out for this fool during my late teens and early 20’s who knows what would have happened to me.

    I suppose that’s one of the wonderful things about our Creator; He loves us and protects us but He’s also a patient loving parent who will work with His children no matter how long it takes us to figure out the things we need to learn.

    Well written as always Chuck! God bless!

  4. That’s not fair, Unka Chuck, you left us hanging! Yes, I know God protected you and you lived to tell the story, but how did it all play out? Inquiring, curious minds want to know!

  5. Don, you are so correct except in one small item. The word tells us that He knew us from before we were conceived. This tells me that there has never been a time, never a moment, when He wasn’t watching over us, over you! What a wonderful friend He is! Trust that you are never alone no matter how lonely you feel. Oh Papa God, if we could only be as faithful to you as you are to us how much happier we would be. Chaz

  6. Dear Linda, life aint fair! Only He is fair so how can you expect me to be fair? Suffice it to say I love to leave you hanging! All good storytellers leave their audiences wondering, wanting more, yearning for, THE REST OF THE STORY! You be a good girl now Sissy, Unka Chuck

  7. Too true. God kept me alive when I rode my trike down the basement stairs and then turned around and tried it with my wagon. But I have found that the stupidest thing we can do is try to walk a day without God.

  8. Oh dear Mama Mia, you remind me of the old saying, and I say it with a goofy grin, “Beware a woman scorned!” God bless you dear lady. Chaz

  9. GW, that makes me think of the time a friend’s 10 year old son rode his unicycle off the garage roof. Why that boy didn’t spend the rest of his life speaking in a high pitched voice is beyond me? We are told that when we were children we did childish things, but when we became adults we… Oh shucks, go ahead, ride the barrel over the falls, you won’t get hurt! ISN’T GOD WONDERFUL? Chaz

  10. Dear Mama Mia, Your comment makes me think of Daniel’s experience in the Lion’s den. Those lions were not gentle little pussy cats, they were raging, starving, wild lions, but the influence of God rendered them harmless. Think of it now, Papa God actually closed their mouths! Wow! and yet when Danny boy was taken from the den and those that were conspiring against him were cast into the den we are told that the lions tore them to pieces before they hit the floor of the den. Roaring doesn’t demand any strength of character, any nit wit can roar. The Father says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” That is acceptable service. No offense meant. Chaz

  11. What a humorous, but edgy story. Were you crazy back then??? YIKES!!
    That was a real-live lion!
    I can think of a few ‘stupid stories myself. It is SO amazing how God is right there with us, never letting us go…and that’s a good thing!!
    I wonder why His patience never wears thin when He’s guarding and protecting us and waiting for us to come to Him more often.
    Thank you, oh Lord, for loving us like you do and sticking by us through all kinds of amazing adventures….some of them worse than others.
    I’m glad He answers us more than we pray to Him. May we be ever-mindful of just how much we need Him and how much we should show it by coming to Him often, if even just to say thank you or I love you, Lord.

  12. Chuck, the only thing I can think of is, God must have saved you for when I needed a friend! What would it have been like at Anytime Fitness without a guide? Or, someone to talk to when I lost my wife recently? Your prayers for and with me have been worth more than money could ever buy!

  13. Dear CSG, what do you mean, was I crazy? I want you to know that I have walked a fine line, sometimes wandering into the realm of strange, other times crossing over to eccentricity, and then backtracking into weird perhaps, but never crazy! Yes, isn’t it glorious that He is determined to never let us go? Praise you o Holy Fiend, our guide and constant companion. Much thanks, Chaz

  14. Oh Don, everything that you have mentioned, “glorious friend, all knowing guide, constant companion,” these, and so much more are what Papa God is for us every moment of every day, forever and beyond. What a blessing you are to so many of God’s children pal, and so often they don’t even know it. By saving me, even in my foolishness, He was making provision for the present. He knows what we need before we ever need it, how neat is that? Blessings on ya pal, Chaz

  15. O.K. CSG, perhaps I was a little bit crazy, not certifiable mind you, But a little bit, just a tad mind you, well, borderline. Oh alright, I WAS CRAZY, BUT I GOT BETTER, SO SUE ME! Chaz

  16. The lion in the photo is not roaring….NO….he is yawning, as he is bored to death with all the ya-ya talk….no offense, Mr. Towne….lol

  17. Thanks for another entertaining and God-affirming story. It is interesting to imagine animals praying to the Creator. Love it. Like Don, I’m glad you survived all of your adventures so you can be here with us as a friend and an inspiration! Thanks for giving so much of yourself.

  18. Dear Kristin, thank you so much for the affirmations. It pleases me mightily that I can have the opportunity to bring a laugh, and perhaps a thrill, as well as a blessing to all you dear friends. Imagine what we can enjoy and share in heaven! I love you all, Chaz

  19. My Dear friend EJ, I suppose we have all asked that question, “Why me Lord?” And then we have sat back waiting for an answer. As we ponder this conundrum, just perhaps a faint sound reaches us. It is God’s sweet voice whispering our name, and saying, “I have saved you again and again and again, ad infinitum, simply because of the great, wondrous, magnificent, mind blowing, fantastic, overwhelming, miraculous, incredibly beautiful, sweet, beyond understanding, love that I have for you!” Yeah, that is what he tells each of us, not because we deserve it, but because He is! Blessings my friend, Chaz

  20. Mama Mia, I can’t hear if the picture is making roaring sounds or not but I can see his eyes are open and that don’t happen when you yawn! God’s blessing to you, we just seem to have differing opinions!

  21. Dimitri, You seem to have quite logically mentioned the obvious, which to me, even a retarded, gibbering monkey would have known. The lion in the pic is snarling, which indicates he is one ticked off dude and about to emasculate some other poor dude, or worse. Of coarse, being a dude, I can’t imagine anything worse than being emasculated by a lion. Ouch! Having differing opinions, at least for normal folks, doesn’t mean your bad, just that you have a different opinion! Thanks oodles, and the Lord be with you pal, Chaz

  22. The “eyes” and the “eye teeth” tell me that this is this cat is ready for meal time not nap time. On this one I am with Linda Scott and need your best Paul Harvey impression to tell us “the rest of the story”.

  23. Oh, so inquiring minds want to know do they? O.K., HERE IS THE STRAIGHT POOP FOLKS, THE LION ATE ME! Naw, you are not going to accept that are you? I don’t know why it is but it seems that all male lions are called Leo so I opted for a different name and named him Leo. Original, don’t you think? That big male lion was my first venture into the “Wild zone” but by no means my last, and Papa God saved me through it all. Another male reared up on me and took the top of my head in his jaws. This was just after being mauled by an adult female so one might conclude that I was not ready for a repeat performance. With those huge jaws clamped on my head, I screamed in terror and smacked the lion on the nose. It was awkward but effective. The big lion, somewhat miffed by my girly sounds, let me go and backed away. Another time I had an African leopard shot of the top of me with a ten gauge shotgun. I have had enough close encounters of the weird kind to realize that God is definitely watching over me. I have escaped death many times in my dull life therefore I have to conclude He has something for me to do yet. It is all quite simple, God makes up for our boo boo’s. Blessings on you all, and to all a good life! Chaz

  24. Apparently, it takes one to know one, as in the case of a retarded gibbering monkey, that Mr. Towne keeps referring to concerning anything I say, and apparently he knows sooooo much about retarded gibbering monkeys. I also happen to think he actually hates women too….IMO…. and I don’t care any more of his verbal crap followed with his blessings either! NOT A FAN!

  25. And when I read your retarded monkey gibberish (under the label as inspiration) I am capable of yawning BIG TIME, both with my eyes open, or my eyes closed, for you FYI, monkey man.

  26. Dear, dear Mama Mia, up until reading your latest comments I thought our interchanges were in good fun but I now see that I have offended you, deeply I might add. I have known some very fine monkeys in my time, some being quite reasonable and intelligent, so your calling me “monkey man” is more of a compliment than I deserve, therefore I thank you. I deeply regret hurting your feelings dear sweet lady. Chaz

  27. Chaz, your story reminds me again of something I have mentioned before and still strongly believe that we all have our guardian angels and they do not desert us as we grow up! I
    think maybe the lion could see your guardian and thought twice! Sometimes I think Papa God assigns his angels because if He had to keep all the people,that do stupid things safe from themselves He would have scant time for anything else!
    How many cultures from native american peoples to the nomadic warrior tribes of the steppes in central asia to the mongol hordes all consider ” crazy” to be “touched by God”! Some are only judged crazy when compared to ” normal” folk.!!Keep the lessons coming my friend!

  28. Richard, I am of the belief that you are correct and that most of us have survived life due to the intervention of angels. So much of what some call “dumb luck” perhaps has in actuality been our angels at work. Accept it, or reject it, This is just another merciful act of a loving God. Thanks so much pal, Chaz

  29. Mama Mia I find myself in agreement with you, perhaps Chuck could have been a bit more diplomatic about monkeys but let me assure you, I know Chuck personally and he is the least malicious person I have ever met! I come from a place where people were not allowed to speak their thoughts or freely discuss differences for fear of government censure and so I celebrate the freedom here where we are allowed to speak our minds and hearts. Occasional ineloquence does not indicate a personal attack. And one last point, Chuck is possibly the least misogynystic person I have ever run into! It is pure truth that I wish God’s blessing on you, we may disagree on other matters but on this I can only say that the love of God in my heart means I wish no person anything bad, love drives out evil and hate!
    Last of all, I have read his (Chucks), apology and believe it is sincere and he truly is sorry for any offense. Do not you also have tbe ability to forgive?

  30. Dimitri, You don’t have to answer me, but you say you are from a place where people are not allowed to express their thoughts, or freely discuss differences for fear of government censure. This makes me wonder what place you are from? I have a guess as to where you may be referring to, but are not certain. Unfortunately, I feel with our “leadership” here in this country, with Trump at the helm, our country’s citizens are headed in the direction, that you describe, which is government spying into our lives, both on the internet, phones, or anyway possible that they can, even at the polls to vote, for the purpose of oppressing us like a bunch of commies and silencing us. Don’t think it is possible? Trump’s administration is the absolute worst to oppress us, as I have ever seen in my life, IMO. As for forgiveness, of course I can forgive, as I have forgave Mr. Towne before, for his stupid comparison of myself, and a “retarded gibbering monkey”. Mr. Towne also supports the” retarded gibbering monkey”, Mr. Trump, so I expect another of Mr. Towne’s crazy and stupid responses to me, but I could care less…..Peace be with you Dimitri! LOL

  31. My good friend Dimitri, You are absolutely right, I didn’t mean to insult monkeys in any way. You take care my friend. CHAZ

  32. Dear Mama Mia, perhaps if you were to go back to my original gibbering monkey comment you would see that it was not directed at you per se, but at people that can’t figure out why they never see animals when they go into the woods. From reading your hostile rhetoric the readers must conclude that you are perhaps a sad and unhappy lady for which I regret. Perhaps you, Dimitri and I could meet one day for coffee and I will do my best to not tick you off. I believe his English is good enough so he will not have to speak Russian and you will be able to understand him. Blessings to you and yours, Chaz

  33. Getting eaten by a lion wasn’t God’s plan for you, and eating a human that day wasn’t God’s plan for the lion:)

    I learn faster by doing, even if it’s stupid stuff. So glad He is there to stop me from doing some truly stupid stuff, and happy as well that He has allowed me to do stupid stuff. God is good and He loves us all the time.

  34. Dear Gymrat, so very true! And the lion, the poor, poor lion, the poor, poor, poor lion, would have had an upset tummy! In all seriousness, I feel that we all are guilty of foolishness at times. I wonder if the greatest foolishness could possibly be cruel or thoughtless words, and/or acts to those others in our lives? Blessing on you dear friend, Chaz


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