I took my daughter to the L.A. Zoo last Wednesday, April 20, and Lionel was one of the people (who happen to be animals) whom Madeleine specifically wanted to see. It was mid-afternoon, and the zoo was crowded, perhaps because of spring break. When we got to the lions' small exhibition space, there was a large, noisy group of people clumped in front of the area where Lionel and the lady lion, Cookie, were sleeping. Lionel was laying on his back with his paws in the air. I thought that was funny, the big lion sleeping like a dog or house cat, and Madeleine agreed. But I felt badly for him sleeping like that while people hooted and tried to get his attention, get him to do something. He looked vulnerable, if indifferent. Years of experience would have taught him that people might hoot and heckle, but they wouldn't try to cross into his space.
So the great lion slept quietly, and we watched him for a couple of minutes. He was one of our touchstones.