I ♥ Elephants
I was just given the OK by my sister to tell this story. Hopefully it translates. It was funny as heck when she shared it with me.
My nephew, whom as before for the purposes of privacy I will call Ishmael, has become enamored of stuffed animals. Some months ago he started asking for an elephant. Our mother was able to get him one — a pink one, though, as gray stuffed toy elephants are apparently hard to find. Now, at 2½ years old, I don't think that a pink elephant is in any way either an indicator of nor an influence on his destiny; even if it were, and he ends up a 6'5", 275-lb. ballerino with a life partner named Frank, hey, God bless him. But I understand why my sister was still looking for a regular gray elephant.
And Uncle Brian found a gray elephant.
It turns out that by the time he did, Ishmael already had one, a nice big one that Ishmael hugged and loved and named "Ellie" and barely left alone. I held onto the little one I found for when Ishmael visited. My sister came to town last month without the kids, however, and decided to bring the little elephant back home. Maybe Ellie could have a baby or a little brother or sister.
The way my sister tells it, when she presented the new little elephant to Ishmael he clasped it to his bosom and exclaimed "Ellie!"
"No," she explained, "Ellie's over there. Maybe Ellie could have a baby or a little brother or sister."
"Ellie!" said Ishmael.
"So is this Ellie now?" asked my sister. Yes, said Ishmael. "What should we do with the old Ellie?" she asked.
Ishmael picked up the old Ellie, which he had hugged and loved and barely left alone, walked to his bedroom door, and chucked it into the hallway. "Throw him out the door!" said Ishmael. And then he slammed the door shut.
While I can't be sure that the surprising vehemence of Ishmael's preference for the new Ellie is a function of how much he loves his Uncle Brian, it's as good an explanation as any.
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