Liger Encounter - What's a Liger?

During our Logan, Utah years (1966-1975) among our many wonderful friends were Bonnie and Larry Smith. They were our age and our young families did many things together. Phyllis and Bonnie were closest of friends and were Weight Watchers partners. After WW classes, they always enjoyed a huge lunch together! (Phyllis told me to add that.) 😉

Bonnie had been a Miss Idaho Pageant winner in 1958 and had then won the Most Talented Musician award (clarinet performance) at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. She had a wonderful sense of humor and loved making others happy. Larry and Bill were colleagues in the Music Department at Utah State University.

Bonnie suggested that we take our families to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City to see the famed Liger, Shasta. We had never heard of a Liger before. We quickly learned it was a hybrid: half lion and half tiger. Shasta's parents, Huey (a lion) and Daisy (a tiger) had been raised together from infancy. Shasta was given her name as a result of a naming contest in the Salt Lake City Deseret News. It is reported that the name came from the saying, "She-hasta have this and She-hasta have that."

We gathered at the front of Shasta's enclosure and marveled at this rare animal with the head of a lion and the body of a tiger. Bonnie was especially excited to watch Shasta elegantly lift her long tail high in the air while facing away from us. Then, the unexpected happened: Shasta suddenly and publicly answered the "call of nature" and with fire-hose force and precision, sprayed Bonnie and drenched her from head to toe. Even Bonnie's shoes were filled with Shasta's urine! AND this was just the beginning of the day. This gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, "urine trouble!"

Shasta the Liger
Shasta the Liger

Shasta the Liger

Liger Parents
Shasta's Parents, Huey (lion) and Daisy (tiger)

Because of Bonnie's love for fun, she especially enjoyed dressing as a witch for Halloween. Phyllis was at home with the kids when Bonnie (below) knocked on our door. When Phyllis opened the door, Bonnie let her best witch scream screech forth and held her hands in a claw-like configuration over her head. Phyllis has never been so frightened and she joined the blood-curdling scream and has not stopped until this day!!!

Bonnie Smith, witch
Bonnie Smith, the very best witch

After visiting our house, Bonnie then went to the Fine Arts Center and stopped the band rehearsal with her entrance. She was probably the only person in the world who could have successfully interrupted Max Dalby's rehearsal and still live.

Bonnie's Halloween exploits are legendary. In 1978, she organized the Fright Factory in the basement of the old knitting mills building on Main Street that was attended by thousands and raised cauldrons of money for the Heart Association. She also started the famed North Logan Pumpkin Walk in a local barnyard. (Excerpted from Bonnie's obituary.)

To read the Salt Lake Tribune Liger article, click here

Return to Memories Index