The Boring Word About Pink Elephants

April 16, 1986

My eight year old’s fascination with the evening news caught my attention a few nights ago. A lady was being interviewed who had 3,000 teddy bears in her home.

Bears were in the fireplace, sitting at the dinner table and could be seen in every nook and cranny as the camera panned the various rooms.

She talked about the bears that accompanied the family to bed at night and how they need a larger house to accommodate the growing collection.

Viewing of the broadcast could not have happened at a more inopportune time. I had just given my “we have to get rid of some of this stuff lecture,” and had made arrangements to have some old furniture hauled away. Plans were also to get rid of broken toys and old stuffed animals that seem to multiply daily in our house.

The accumulation of boxes and bags designated to exit with the furniture began to grow as I cleaned out closets and toy chests. However, I would no sooner add an item to the discard pile and it would reappear someplace else in the house.

I could write a book on the devious methods mothers must use to accomplish the task of “making room”.

Finally my collection of armless, headless dolls, used coloring and paint books, puzzles with only half the pieces, decks of cards with missing suits and numerous school papers and works of art collected over the last several years were put in large opaque trash bags.

The day the truck arrived to haul our discarded treasures away everything was going on schedule, then I heard, “Oh no! Not my pink elephant!”

Peeking out the hole in a bag already on the truck was “the” elephant. I was told he was the one adopted for 25 cents at a flea market a few years ago. Details of his purchase were described in a more frantic voice as additional items were placed on the truck and departure was nearing.

The driver gave me a “how could you” look as I explained no one had played with the elephant in a long time, that he has a huge hole in his neck, very little stuffing and really doesn’t look much like an elephant anymore.

My daughter insisted, as we retrieved the animal from the truck, that he had gotten into that bag by mistake. He was treated like a long lost relative for a few days after his rescue. His hole was mended with a few large eight year old stitches and for good measure two large safety pins completed the closing.

The pink elephant went on various excursions in the car, joined us at the table for a few meals and finally found his way back to the bottom of the toy chest. Maybe next year? (I hope we don’t end up with 3,000 pink elephants.)