Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO! I reminded myself of this phrase as I sat across from a life-sized stuffed gorilla and his baby at the new Wild Ginger near Lake Union. We had caused enough ruckus when we exited the Lyft and carried the gorillas from the passenger seat into the new hip eatery. Upon arriving and getting situated at the restaurant, patrons stopped eating and approached our table to inquire what we were up to.
Over the years, I have received a tremendous education from my sister and BFF, Patti Savoy about animal conservation. In 2015, under Patti’s tutelage, she assembled 11 of our tribe and we raised record breaking funds of over 2.4 million for Jungle Party, the Woodland Park Zoo’s annual fundraiser. Our focus was on big cats, where I learned there are less than 3200 Tigers left in the wild.
Patti is passionate about wild life and her work with over a dozen trips to Africa to witness up close and personal is a testament to her commitment.
So, when Patti called me screaming, ELLEN IS COMING! ELLEN IS COMING! It came as no surprise that I found myself seated in the second row of Benaroya Hall with a t-shirt that said, Ellen, Let’s Go Ape!
(Note Patti in the audience to the left of Ellen from her recent studio show).
Ellen had been gifted a gorilla sanctuary in Rwanda by her wife, Portia for her 60th birthday. Ellen’s mission is to raise awareness and vital funds necessary to carry on the works of Dian Fossey (Gorillas in the Midst.) Dian Fossey was an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until her death in 1985. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda. As a Menopausebarbee, it is shocking to realize she was only 53 when she was tragically killed protecting these beautiful creatures.
When Patti and I arrived at Benoroya Hall, security scoffed at us with our life-sized stuffed furry friends.
Our cell phones were confiscated, locked in pouches, our bags which could be no larger than the palm of our hand were searched, and so the odds of us carrying in VIP (Very Important Primate and his baby Yola) as cute as they were was zero to none. “They are a gift for Ellen!” Patti exuberantly exclaimed. “Sorry but we can’t allow them.” While sitting at The Wild Ginger, I had already overcome the objection and had purchased a seat for the Very Important Primates. “But he has his own ticket.” The attendant was admittedly overwhelmed as the line bustled with eager attendees to see the live taping for Netflix. So as we whined and waned, “Ellen is saving gorillas.” “He has his own ticket!” “We are supporting Ellen’s efforts!” “He has his own ticket!”
The manager took pity on us and sent us to the artist entrance to deliver our offering with a detailed message that not only did Patti hear the cry for attention, she wanted to help! “We want her to know that we and the City of Seattle support her efforts,” Patti said. Looking at the decked out gorillas, Patti had styled them wearing Ellen underwear, gold lockets with Ellen and Portia’s name, an invitation for private and behind the scenes tour with our group of gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo.
As we sat and listened to Ellen’s hysterical routine, tears pooled around our eyes from her antics and life stories. After the show was taped, she took time for questions and answers. I stood and asked of all the people who have had an impact on her life, who had influenced her the most, comedic or otherwise. Ellen took the mike from my hand, and thoughtfully shared, “Steve Allen, Wood Allen before he married his daughter and Dian Fossey.”
Ellen, you are definitely on our list of influencers. Thank you for your efforts, the laughs, and always using your platform to do good.
Oh, and a very important post script- Patti received a phone call from Ellen’s assistant. VIP (Very Important Primate and Yola ) are sitting in Ellen’s office and she loves them. May they be a daily reminder to keep gorillas in our midst and on our minds!