Saturday, January 13, 2007

elephant in the coal bin

My husband discovered a leak in our cellar. He thought our water heater was dying, and then realized the leak was coming from an old coal bin in the front of the house. We live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so a coal bin is not unusual in older homes. When homes were heated with coal furnaces, the trucks would come around and fill the bin, which is more like a small room in the front of the house. So there is enough room in the coal bin to store things and to use it as a private kids' clubhouse or hide things. Well, while we were cleared out the back half of the cellar to empty whatever may have been in the bin, my husband found something covered with a lap blanket that had gone missing for the last year. Under the blanket was a metal playground elephant on a spring.

I guess it needs to be noted that my children have all gone through a kleptomaniac phase. My older daughter I think was the most creative. It finally came to the point where when I heard on the radio news that a mannequin went missing from someone's front lawn, I had my suspicions. Oh well, who has a mannequin on their front lawn? But I asked my daughter, and sure enough, she and her boyfriend somehow found this an irresistable prize. They had planned to return separate body parts with a ransom note, but I threw cold water on this idea being that if she were caught, she could be arrested.

So, to find a metal playground elephant in our coal bin was at least within the realm of possibility, though still a rather surprising discovery. We questioned our younger daughter and at least found out it was a combined sibling effort. Somehow after this week and my decision to stop monthly visitation in favor of more stretched out visits to the prison, it seemed a funny reminder of Brandon's presence in our home.


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