Elephant Wrath and House Fire


As a child one of my fondest memories was Mom reading stories to me. These included Little House on the PrairieMoby Dick, a horse book called Black Beauty, and a collection of funny stories about a veterinarian named James Harriett. There was a large children’s Bible in my bookshelf, but we never read that. One day I happened to pick it up and was looking at the pictures. The only picture that registered and remained in the foggy background of my memory was the one of a man carrying a big piece of wood.

I’m sure this little monkey was well deserving of her share of spankings, but I recall only one incident: Following the spanking, which occurred upstairs, Mom went downstairs leaving me to ponder my sins alone. However, as far as I was concerned I was innocent and had been wrongfully punished. Therefore I was determined to get revenge. With all the wrath a four-year-old can muster I grabbed the most lethal weapon I could find – my big blue stuffed elephant. Marching halfway down the stairs I took aim at my target, Mom’s back as she stood washing the dishes in the kitchen. Unleashing all my fury I hurled the missile envisioning it striking her head and her head going down into the yucky dishwater. But instead the thing landed on the ground just behind her feet and she appeared not even to notice. Outraged at my abysmal failure I yelled something and retreated to my room to pout.

Seven days later I was sitting just outside the house playing in the snow while Mom and Dad were across the runway hitching-up Beauty to a sleigh for the first time. All of a sudden I heard them screaming and shouting and Mom came sprinting across the runway. She was crying as she scooped me up in her arms. I had no idea what was going on until she turned around and faced me toward the house. The house was engulfed in flames! She had thought I was inside.


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