Once upon a time…
That’s a good way to begin a story of make-believe, isn’t it? This is not a make-believe story. This is a true tale.
Once upon a time, there was a woman of more than three score years plus ten. One night as she was headed to bed, she had the bright idea that she must find a cute, soft, little, gray stuffed elephant to buy. Miss Sadie knew exactly where she would go the next morning as soon as the store opened. She was so excited with the thoughts running through her mind that she had difficulty going to sleep.
A few days prior, Miss Sadie had given away two adorable squishy elephants to a precocious kindergarten girl named Kate. If the woman already had those elephants, you may wonder why she gave them away. She made the decision based on a perceived need. She felt Kate could make good use of her wonderful imagination by having the two appealing elephants “discuss” important matters with one another. The woman envisioned the young girl holding one small elephant in each hand while encouraging their face-to-face conversations.
The little elephants were named Ava and Eva. Ava wore a pink bow above one ear and Eva had an aqua bow over hers. When she passed them to Kate, Miss Sadie explained the bow colors showed her which one was which. The tiny twins had lived on a desk in Miss Sadie’s house for a couple of years. They were there because they used to “write” letters to her grandson who also owned a cute, soft, little, gray stuffed elephant. His Ellie used to come to visit with Ava and Eva until he got too old to bring her with him. After that, the twins had stopped writing letters. And now it seemed they would be happier living with the cute little girl.
In the past, Miss Sadie had used some special children’s stationery with elephants on it. The stationery was outlined in different colors. Some was lime green, some light yellow, some pink, and some blue. Each piece had a drawing of a little elephant dressed in fancy corresponding colors of clothing of different styles. There were also matching envelope forms to print, fold, and glue. Now, she had big plans for using that stationery again.
The time was right. Miss Sadie was ready to find another elephant so she could give her a name, set her on the desk, take her picture, have her “write” stories about herself, and send letter-stories to Kate and the elephant cousins each week. The woman planned to be sure the little girl knew that Ava and Eva were twins and encourage Kate to make up her own stories about them, too. Knowing that the little girl was already an imaginative storyteller, Miss Sadie knew it wouldn’t be long until the kindergartener would be able to write her own stories.
Once Miss Sadie had the idea of finding a similar small gray elephant, she knew the search was going to be difficult. She figured it could be impossible to find an exact match to the twins, but she was a woman who would not give in to the thought of its being impossible. Too many times in her life, the impossible hadn’t been!
Morning finally came. Time for the store to open arrived and Miss Sadie went inside. She took a shopping cart and went directly to the stuffed toy shelves. She didn’t see any tiny, gray stuffed elephants. She didn’t see any elephants at all. She took one of the big boxes down from the top shelf and dug through all the stuffed toys. No elephants. She put the box back and took another down from the shelf to look through. Ah, there was an elephant, but he wasn’t very cute. Yet, he was a stuffed elephant. A stuffed, male adult elephant…not soft. She put him in the shopping cart and thought, “He might be okay, but I am going to keep looking.” She continued her search through box after box, until she had dug through more than ten boxes and several shelves, high and low, front to back. She pawed through tiny stuffed toys and big stuffed toys. She thought she might have to settle on a cute little black bear or some other bean-filled soft toy, but when she moved a large teddy bear aside, hidden underneath was a cute, soft, little, tie-dyed looking purple elephant! The floppy ears were purple with a white floral design on them. Each of her four feet was covered with the same fabric. After all the searching, this little elephant in Miss Sadie’s hand was more than a dream come true!
Miss Sadie just stood there for a minute, wanting to tell the world, “Look what I found!” In all her joy, she knew a few people would understand her complete joy; most would join in her happiness, but not really “get it.” She knew it was all part of a plan that came from more than her mind could fathom. She had a plan, a good plan, as described in the above story, but once she held that little purple elephant in her hand, other stories began to blossom that never would have come about with a cute, soft, little, plain gray stuffed elephant.
Miss Sadie believed God was in the little things. He didn’t hand a little gray elephant to her on a silver platter just because she wanted one; no, she had a plan, but He had a better one. He knew what she wanted, but He didn’t immediately answer in the affirmative. He watched while she searched, but He gave her strength to do it. And then, He watched and rejoiced with her when her hand and eyes simultaneously landed on that little purple and white elephant. He knew, without her saying so, that she was thankful. She knew that He had shown her again, that “once upon a time” can be a true story.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 11-15-2010
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