Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Heirloom

Don’t tell my son, but we now have an elephant foot in our house. Yep. It’s real, it’s old, it’s icky, and my 19 year old son wanted it badly.

Perhaps I should back up. My husband’s Aunt Sandy used to be a flight attendant for TWA. Back in the 70′s, she brought home an elephant foot table from Africa for her dad-my husband’s grandfather~AKA-the man who had everything. Rumor has it that the table was used and bragged about, and was the focal point of more than one house tour.

Years passed. The foot went into storage. When both grandparents passed away, Tom’s mom couldn’t bear to just toss out the thing, so it was passed to my husband’s relatives, taking up space in attics. Sitting and, well…molting. (the years have not been kind to this foot)

Fast forward to last month. My husband was talking to our son Arthur, who reminded him that the University of Alabama’s mascot is the elephant.(Roll Tide!) And, well, didn’t Dad think that elephant table would go GREAT in Art’s apartment?

My husband agreed!

(No, I wasn’t consulted)

Two weeks ago, we went to Charlotte to go to Tom’s cousin’s wedding. That’s when my husband decided he was going to track down that foot.

And so he did. Before the wedding and during the reception, Tom went from one relative to the next, just like a police investigator. Finally he discovered that Matt, the groom, now owns this foot! It’s in his mother’s attic. No, Matt’s new bride didn’t know about the foot…and no, she did not want the thing in their new home. (She is beautiful and smart!)

But Matt was not going to give up the heirloom easily.

Turns out, Matt needed tools. So Tom made a deal. He offered to buy Matt and bride tools as a trade for the foot. After all, it was their wedding day.


The next day, Tom drove to his aunt and uncle's house, got that foot, and took it to UPS. There, he asked them to carefully wrap it up. They were grossed out, but just like they say in their ads, no job is too big or too small.

Last Thursday~the 40 year old elephant foot, all hairy, yellowing, icky and molting~arrived here. Tom plans to tie a red bow around it and give it to our son for Christmas!

Until then, it’s out of the box and taking up space in my husband’s office. The wiener dog barks at it every time she sees it. I can hardly look at it.

So…I’m thinking maybe my son needs his surprise Christmas gift sooner than later. Arthur comes home this weekend. Maybe it’s time for an early Christmas present?

I hope we’re not the only ones to have possession of a truly awful family ‘heirloom’. Anyone have something they’d rather not have that gets passed down from generation to generation?

Shelley Galloway


Winter said...


Julie Hilton Steele said...

I think we have things that would be considered folk art by some and hideous by others. My sisters had to draw lots to get the turkey carved from a log. I got the peacock fireboard when my dad snuck it out of the house when he and his sister divided up my grandmother's things.

I really should have kept the chicken foot tongs I got as a wedding present....

Let us know if you break down and do Christmas early!

Peace, Julie

Shelley said...

Julie, thanks for the smile! I would love to see those chicken foot tongs!

Marin Thomas said...

Shelley--I have a stuffed Armadillo on my fireplace mantel. Not sure which kid will inherit the ugly thing one day :-)

Victoria Chancellor said...

I am so lucky that I don't have the type of family heirlooms that once once around, clucked or nibbled. At least your heirloom is "walking out the door" fairly soon. What a great story, Shelley.