Man, you know what I was just thinking about? How much I miss Sally the sheep.
Let me explain.
Like most couples, Laura and I’s first home we shared was a red brick apartment building with lots of steps, outdoor parking and bad tan kitchen cabinets. You know the place. It’s where basically everyone lives at first. We actually had three different apartments during the four years we spent in this complex, as we kept downsizing our units as the prices went up. We went from a 2 bedroom to a 1 bedroom, then that adorable little poodle entered our lives and we had to move yet again to one of the new “dog-friendly” buildings.
The bedroom in the apartment was massive. In the corner, we had a big TV stand between the side wall dresser and the end tables. What this stand didn’t have on it was a TV, instead it was covered with several dozen stuffed animals, or as we called them, “friends.”
Laura and I had been ritualistically buying stuffed animals for each other for years. The very first thing she ever gave me was a small brown teddy (which I promptly and without reason named Douglas after Douglas Macarthur) and our first Christmas, she bought me a Winnie the Pooh that you could hug and he’d giggle and thank you for it. Fabulous.
By the time we were in our third apartment, our pile of friends was outrageous. Each one had a name, from Cosmo and Clancy to Wendell, Patch and Sammy. We enjoyed them. But it was getting hard to spend sufficient time with each one, so we came up with a written-down system to rotate when each one would come to bed and sleep on our pillows. That way everyone got their equal time and wouldn’t feel left out.
When I told Laura I was going to write about this, she said “Are you sure this is a thing you want to admit to people?” I defended our actions by saying I’m pretty sure most people understand the idea of personifying stuffed objects. After all, isn’t that the point of things like Toy Story? In the first story, Woody was sad because Buzz was getting more attention than him. In the third, they were all sad because Andy was older and didn’t need them anymore. In order to initially come up with those story concepts, and in order for us to appreciate it as an audience, we all have to at least have some idea of what it’s like to personify an inanimate object and assign it emotions when we know it has none.
I think it’s the face. Humans can attribute feelings and personality to things with a face because it “looks” back at us.
When we moved to our house in 2010, we knew we weren’t going to have room for all these toys. It was an insane amount, far more than most children have. We packed the majority of them into trash bags to take to Goodwill, giving the bags one final hug of goodbye to squeeze out all the extra air. The most important ones were put in storage bins that we’d take with us. Most of these are still in the bins in our shed, because we don’t know what to do with them but want to keep them around for when we make young people. Then we can get mad when they rub feces on them. (Babies rub feces on everything, right?)
Last spring we went out to the shed to find Sally the sheep. She was a huge sheep from Target. $20. You could stick your fingers in the curls on her back and it felt exactly like a real sheep. She was awesome.
And she wasn’t there.
We looked through all the coffin-sized bins of stuffed toys, every bag, every box, every container in the shed and she was not to be found. We stood there in disbelief, unsure of why in the MOTHERF-ING world we would have given away Sally the sheep. But it seems we did. And we miss her.
She was one of our greatest friends, and certainly the most entertaining to play with – because really, who doesn’t like touching a sheep?
That is what Sally looked like. She was big, she was wooly, and she was awesome.
Target only sold her during one Easter season, in 2007. During the following years they sold a similar sheep, but it was only about 1/3 the size of Sally and not nearly as cool.
If you have one of these sheep, give it to me. I will pay you money. Send me an email. I want it.
Sally must come home so I can stick my fingers in her and be amused.