The Truth About the Elf Head
Here’s the thing, I guess you all know that my mom passed away the Monday before Thanksgiving. Yeah, it was tough. Still is. She died in the nursing home she had called home for almost ten years. My sister and I were at her side and watched her take her final breath. I believe she had slipped into Jesus’ arms several hours before the electrical and chemical stuff going on in her body finally seized.
It’s hard. I find myself thinking I need to go to the nursing home and visit her, to stop by for a minute or two just to say hello, bring her a cup of coffee. Mom loved coffee and in the last few years it was all she really needed and wanted—besides a kiss on the cheek. But then I remember. She is no longer part of my routine. It is a strange thing to walk the earth without a mother.
I’ve mentioned before that my mother was one of the funniest women I ever knew. She was quick to laugh and smile and also quick with a joke or a silly expression. Sometimes she knew she was funny and other times it seemed to pour out of her without her permission or knowledge. And for that I will always have fond and also strange memories.
This is what brings us to the elf head in the picture. Mom liked to make things and one year she had a bag of these elf heads. There must have been fifty of them in a plastic bag. Yeah, strange sight indeed. But nonetheless they existed. She had planned on fashioning bodies for them but never quite got around to it. Eventually the elf heads went back into the basement. Or so we thought. For years an elf head would show up in the oddest places. We called it “getting elfed”. If you traveled anywhere you would most likely discover an elf had made the trip with you when you opened your suitcase. Once I found an elf head in the glove box of my car. One turned up in my father’s toolbox. Another arrived somehow at my nieces’ wedding. It was discovered in the shoebox that held her wedding shoes. Another traveled clear to Israel with my Dad. He found it in his camera bag. Occasionally an elf would be seen in the freezer or medicine cabinet. You just never knew when or where. The funny thing is that an elf head would often appear at times when a smile was most needed. The elf head in the picture was discovered the day my sister and I cleaned out Mom’s room in the nursing home. I opened a bag that I thought contained some old greeting cards and there it was looking up at me. I had been elfed.
So there you go, the story of the elf head. Just a simple thing, a quiet memory of a woman who somehow managed to make you smile when she wasn’t even in the room, who somehow knew you needed a laugh.