When Trava was very small, still bald, and not able to walk or talk much, I bought this Cadillac of strollers, a very expensive stroller. It was so fine that she just absolutely loved it. I had purchased it used at Goodwill. The other thing Trava loved was being with me; walking, hanging out. She got to roll around the world. She absolutely adored animals and they all adored her. I have a-lot of stories about Trava and animals.
This is the first story… I took out a membership to Brookfield Zoo, and I would take Trava to the zoo as a reward for good behavior at least once a week. I was there with Trava in the stroller, and as a member, when the zoo closed we didn’t have to leave the zoo. My little one really liked the closing time because animal trainers would take the animals out of the cages and walk them around inside the zoo for exercise and training. Trava absolutely adored that time of day. She would get to see the creatures close and touch them.
One such day, as we were walking down one of the city block wide center aisles, there was a zookeeper walking an elephant. My Trava was in her stroller. She was all enthusiastic about seeing the elephant. So I was hanging out near the elephant; letting her watch the elephant, which is what she wanted to do. Actually she wanted to ride the elephant. On the opposite side of the boardwalk this really good looking, very athletic blonde goes running by. She’s keeping her body in fine tune. Being me, I watched with great admiration how well her body just slipped through the air; how athletically buff and healthy she was.
While I was lost in ‘Happy Dream Land’ looking at this beautiful runner, as she passes me, smiling at me. I watched her fondly as she jogs by me. I was about ready to turn around when suddenly this hysterical guy gets in my face, screaming as he clutches at me. “It’s going to be all right! It’s going to be all right! Don’t get excited! We will get her back! We’ll get her back! Don’t be excited!” This guy was really incredibly excited, and about what I didn’t know. Nor did I get why he thought I was going to be excited. So I turned around to look at my daughter but she was not in the stroller. I was still holding the stroller. She could not have gotten out with me holding it. Could she? Well, she had done stuff like that before. I often thought I needed a dog-like leash that would attach to my Trava, who must be Houdini’s current reincarnation. So I was not totally shocked by seeing, that my daughter wasn’t in there. This guy was all flustered and excited, and now he was far enough out of my face that I can finally see he is an animal keeper from the zoo. I am like, “All right, so what is the deal here?” What do you know about my kid that I do not?”
This zoo keeper animal guy is, flustered, excited, flailing his body about, gesticulating madly. I wonder if he is maybe having an epileptic seizure. I don’t know what’s going on, but to hell with him, my daughter is not in the stroller. Where is my baby? Being a baby, I looked on the ground for her and then I noticed that all these people were “wooing and awing” and gasping and stuff like that. They were all pointing in the same direction. So I followed their fingers to where they were pointing and I found my daughter: Happily sitting on a elephant’s head. An elephant, that the zookeeper had been walking, had reached into my baby buggy, picked up my daughter, and put her on his head. How? Maybe the elephant keeper had been looking at the same delightful girl at the same time I was.
So here’s my baby, diaper and all, sitting up on top of the elephant’s head and she is totally ecstatic, totally happy. Well, I’m not totally happy. Well, I could understand how she got up there. There were plenty of witnesses there that knew that I was watching the blonde and knew that the elephant had just simply decided that he…or she….I never thought of that..not until this moment… that he/she was attracted to my daughter, and put her on her head, intending to keep her apparently which was interesting. I wanted my daughter back; my daughter didn’t want to come back; the elephant didn’t want to give her back; the zookeeper had absolutely no influence whatsoever on the elephant’s behavior; all that and the crowd kept growing larger.
After a bit, the elephant decided that it should allow me to reunite with my daughter. It bent its leg in such a way that I could just stand on its leg to use that to get up on his back, which I thought was great because my daughter was extremely happy, and I didn’t mind riding an elephant either. I thought it was actually very good until I sat down. You know, elephant hair is like wires. I was sitting down on all these little pointy wires on my next-to-bare butt. I had pants on and all that, but that was only one layer of cloth between me and all those little tiny spikes. I realized that my daughter was so absolutely happy because she had on this really big thick diaper, that was plastic on the outside, and she was not being poked by anything. Then I came to understand why the zookeeper was saying weird things such as, “Don’t worry she’ll be alright.” because my daughter had the diaper protecting her.
The elephant eventually let me have my daughter back. I think the elephant was aware of my discomfort on the back of itself, with those tiny prickly hairs all up inside of my much bigger body than my little girl. That’s the story of an elephant stealing my daughter. I think I got it all. I think it’s probably one of happiest days in her life; and actually I like the story. She didn’t mind it up there at all. She and the elephant were buddies.