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Temporary Employment

Monday 15 April 2013 - Filed under Penned by a Friend + Touch + Writing

Temporary Employment
by Ernest A. Jones

I want to report about my new job. It’s a specialized position. In fact, I fear I’ve worked myself right out of the job. I had the sole responsibility for bathing two hundred and fifty elephants. Yes, you’re reading correctly, I had to bathe two hundred and fifty dirty elephants.
It was about a week or so ago that I bathed one hundred and fifty elephants, from quite small ones to rather large ones. These arrived in the first shipment and showed they had been well cared for. When I was finished, they stood all clean and shiny, some with trunks trumpeting straight upwards, while a few held their trunks in front of them. But they appeared to be thankful for the bath, and all were in perfect condition.
Today I bathed another one hundred elephants that arrived in the second shipment. Poor critters, these had a harder time in transport. It was obvious some of their trainers were harsh on them. Such caretakers should be fired and replaced, because five elephants were badly injured. We had to do surgery on them. Four had been treated so badly that they were completely missing a leg. That’s right, the whole leg was missing, as if sawed off and left lying at the beast’s feet. But the fifth one was the worst. How she could still hold her head up is amazing. She had her trunk completely cut off, lying at her feet.
Thanks to a good surgeon, we do believe that all five of these beautiful animals will be able to face tomorrow almost as well as the other two hundred forty-five. The surgeon was very good at reattaching the missing limbs, and it’s felt they will mend quite nicely. We hope they heal rapidly, and we’ll take the wrap off in a few days to make sure. For the next few days, we’ll keep these five away from the main herd. For sure, they’ll need some special attention and extra food. But regardless, they need not fear, for even if they don’t mend perfectly, they’ll still be allowed to remain and have a full life.
The other two hundred forty-five are doing just fine, eagerly waiting for new green pastures. I’m afraid they might be in cramped quarters for a few weeks, but they seem contented.
While I was bathing the last hundred and the surgeon was repairing the injured, it was snowing outside—probably a couple inches of the soft but very wet fluff before the warming temperature melted the snow. The snow vanished almost faster than it had appeared. We didn’t expose our equatorial houseguests to the pleasures of snowball fights, but they seem to be tolerating the change in climate quite well.

The preceding is what I wrote after cleaning two hundred and fifty hand-carved miniature elephants, all made out of shades of the jade rock. They were later given as remembrances at our daughter’s spring wedding. Even though I knew these were hand-carved, I was still taken aback when I beheld the different sizes and shapes. Here we get so used to machine-made items, all pressed in the same mold. But with these, each one was different.

2013-04-15  »  Marilyn Brandt Smith


  1. Abbie Taylor
    4 July 2013 @ 6:39 pm

    You had me going there. I was thinking Ernie was actually taking care of real elephants. What a challenge that would be for anybody.