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Sami was able to patch the tusk.
There was this blue elephant, see? I wrecked it and I am feeling very, very bad about it.
It was harvested from a curbside trashpile many years ago and spent most of its time in the garage, ignored and buried under our own junk. The top has a deep depression in it so it’s probably a planter. Maybe a base for a glass topped-end table. It came into the living room last year so we could look at it and ponder if it (a) could benefit from a spray paint makeover or (b) should go back to the trash. Believe me, nobody ever wanted to trash it. It has great detail in terms of elephant wrinkles, toenails and tassels that hang from the howdah and the deep aqua glaze that stuck in those details and made it all the more compelling.
Finally its day in the sun came and it was decided that it would go Glossy Ivory and move to Philadelphia where my daughter, the curbside harvester herself, would incorporate it into the decor of the apartment she’s moving into this weekend. This morning I picked it up to test how heavy it was and if I could carry it out to the deck myself or if I had to wait for Sami to do it. It was surprisingly light and manageable. I thought all along that it was concrete but it turns out to be made of plaster. I walked it through the kitchen on the way out to the deck but I misjudged how wide it was as I carried it.
You know, when I was getting near the kitchen table, I thought maybe I should put it down and regroup for the rest of the trip. But I was so pleased with how I was managing and proud that I didn’t need any help to do this so I kept on going. So funny how life changes in a flash because right then is when I crashed it into the side of a chair as i passed it.
Severe tusk damage. Sad face sad face sad face. SAD FACE! I tried gluing it back together and it will probably be okay if I just find that one last piece. Maybe Sami can patch it up. He’s pretty good with holes in drywall maybe he can fill this. He thinks he can.
My daughter took the news very well. “It’s ok. At the end of the day it came from the garbage, right?” she texted back to me. I offered to spray paint the faded garden gnome hoisting a foaming beer mug for her but she declined. She’s really not upset about it but I feel terrible. I was the guardian of the blue elephant and I failed.
UPDATE! Sami was able to patch the tusk and also an area on the butt that we didn’t see before. Apparently, the plaster body has a slip coat over it and that is where the glaze was applied. That slip coat is no thicker and no stronger than the hard candy shell on an M&M. The elephant’s butt had an irregularly shaped 2″x 2″ section where the glazed shell fell off. Sami patched that too.
I sprayed a light test coat of Krylon Gloss Ivory on one side this morning and at the first pass, it became obvious that the entire shell is crazed. But I’m moving ahead anyway. It is my destiny to prop up imperfect things that are temporary and preserve them and share them as long as I can. Vintage redwood patio furniture that rots and crumbles, mid-century dinnerware that chips and smashes, even The Painted Deer which seemed indestructible but was felled by a hurricane.
There’s a lesson in all this I guess. Something about how all things are transient, or don’t get too attached to material things. Or maybe just you are a weirdo stop wasting your time. But how can I stop? And why should I? This thing is going to be magnificent. For as long as it lasts.
RIGHT? Maybe if I use enough spray paint it will strengthen the crazed shell and prolong the life of the elephant. Maybe.