A Walk With Elephants

Hal Perrine.

Although he is no longer of this world, I will always remember the old man who collected anything and everything involving elephants. I do not have a definite reason as to why he was fascinated with such things; maybe for their dedication to family as his kin from far and wide always seemed to be looking out for him. Every time I’d see him there would be new stacks of letters and trinkets people had sent him.

I remember many unknown faces giving their condolences at his funeral. In any case, the shelves that lined his small apartment in a nursing home were filled with the small figurines and knick knacks he’d collected. My grandmother, his daughter, even kept giant display cases taller than myself with the shining statues.

You could say that in a certain manner he was like one of the magnificent beasts he was so fond of. He was always gentle and kind to those he knew and loved, but he could have a nasty temper, just as an elephant would be if it were to be threatened.

There have been studies that prove elephants will recognize and mourn their kind. Just the same, my great grandpa, or Gramps as I called him, always seemed to have a tint of sorrow behind his smile. Maybe because he was old, but I believe it is because he had outlived so many he had shared so much with – a wife and five daughters, countless grandchildren, and even more great grandchildren. They slowly passed while he endured.