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Monday, March 22, 2010

(The Best of) Monday Mug Shot

Originally posted on Yahoo, December 17, 2007

The Flying Elephant

This mug was a Christmas present about 8 years or so ago. It was under the tree with no “from” on it, so it was from Santa, Mom.

I have a thing with Elephants, I guess. My absolute favorite book from my childhood was the Little Golden Book, The Saggy Baggy Elephant. I actually still have a copy of that book in my books collection. I have given it to many friends as a baby gift. It’s just a wonderful story about not letting others tell you what to think or who to be, find what makes you special and BE special.

The story of Dumbo is very much like The Saggy Baggy Elephant. While that little elephant was told he shouldn’t dance and kick while he was walking and his wrinkles were the thing about himself he had to accept, Dumbo’s challenge AND special talent lie in his ears! I have always loved stories like that. Those are the stories where the hero must be strong in the face of others that didn’t accept them for who and how they naturally are and must persevere in the face of those challenges, finally winning their battle with their own special talents and with a lot of faith in themselves and optimism. I can’t tell you if those stories from my childhood made me the positive and accepting person I am now, or if that is just part of who I am and why I was attracted to those stories as a child. I just know that my young elephant heroes still fit my style, my taste and my outlook on life.

The one scene I completely love from Dumbo, is the “Baby Mine” scene. That’s the one when Dumbo visits his mother in the rain at the circus car she was locked up in as a “mad elephant” because she became violent when the other elephants were teasing Dumbo. I always and always have cried to the point of sniveling and gasping by the end of it. I likened Dumbo’s mom to my own. As a child I ALWAYS knew Mom had my back, that she would go to bat for me and protect me, no matter what. I thought that if we were elephants, she’d experience the same rage Dumbo’s Mom did if she felt I was being treated unfairly or that I was threatened. When Dumbo visits his Mom, she gently puts her trunk out and cradles him during that song, it always gets to me. (in fact typing that got me all choked up!)

One of the things paper has over electronic media. I can still read my copy of Saggy Baggy Elephant just as well, okay, even better, than when I was a kid, turning those pages and reading the words after a glance at the illustrations. I will eventually need to replace my VHS copy of Dumbo with a DVD version. Maybe some day I’ll need to replace it again with the media microchip under my skin. But the truth is that those stories and their messages have been under my skin and part of me for a very long time!

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