When I was a kid of about four or five, I had a host of stuffed toys that I loved very much. I had a small brown triceratops, which I still have to this day, though my beagle with a death wish, chewed it’s eye off last year. I had a raggedy Andy, and a sock monkey. These were great and all, but my favorite by far was a stuffed Elephant named “Jumbo”.
Jumbo looked like the picture, but I seem to remember his colors being blue instead of pink. Then again, it has been about twenty-five years give or take since my friend and I were together. He may have changed since then. I’m choosing to remember him being blue, cause a four year old hanging out with pink elephants is a little disturbing.
Jumbo wasn’t just an ordinary stuffie, he had a wind-up music box that played “You are my sunshine”. My mother taught me the song, and I think that, rather than any deep meaning in the song, it became special to me more because it was one of the first songs I knew all the words to, and could “play” on Jumbo, and sing along.
My addictive personality coupled with a “more is better” outlook on life spelled Jumbo’s demise. In a stroke of brilliance, I realized that if I only wound Jumbo a little, he only played a little. It stood to reason that if I cranked him more, he’d play more, right?? Yes! I cranked that damn thing until my fat little digits hurt, and Jumbo plinked away for longer than he’d ever done before!
Eventually, he played himself out and I’m sure his little stuffing lungs probably ached. Nothing I couldn’t fix! I cranked and cranked and cranked and… CLACK.
Jumbo played music no longer.
Crushed, I implored my father to fix it, cause I knew he could fix anything (and to this day, I stand by that, the man COULD fix anything. …except cancer, but that’s a different story… And in his defense, I don’t think it had ever crossed his mind to try, so… ) He looked at it a little cockeyed, and although I was young, I remember I could read his skepticism.
Over the next few years, I’d find Jumbo in some remote corner of the disaster I called a room, and I’d give him a hopeful twist, but the music simply wasn’t in him any more.
I don’t know what happened to ol’ Jumbo. If my experience as a father has taught me anything, it’s more than likely he was tossed out during one of our moves when I wasn’t looking, or something like that. Still though, I rather picture the rascal hanging out with sock monkey in some home for retired toys. I’ll wager he’s playing his battle-damage up, getting attention and sympathy from all the broken barbies. I’m sure in his story he’s quite the hero. I know he was in mine.