Yes, here it is two days after Christmas, and I have yet to formally welcome you into our small but select clan. I hope you have a wonderful, long, and happy life here. Statistically, that’s highly improbable. However, let’s keep to the agenda and move quickly along.
First of all, I apologize for the delay. This year I was responsible for the family festivities which included Christmas dinner. Not a good excuse, I agree, except to say that, as usual, it was a tough day. Pictorial proof would have been pasted below showing an uncensored snap of me taken on Christmas night after a hard day of cooking, cleaning, entertaining, then happily imbibing a total of one bottle of bubbles, two glasses of Pinot Gris and an unquantified measure of Chardonnay – except I couldn’t figure out how to put a second picture in. Sorry.
Secondly, no, it didn’t escape my attention that you weren’t the first present The Girl unwrapped. I, too, was painfully aware of the speed and skill with which she navigated the gift pile then zeroed in on that PlayStation game, plucking it from the pile, and saying, “PlayStation game. Whoa! Turn around Crash!” Neither was I altogether oblivious to the pain in your eye when she returned to the pile to select the CD, excitedly squeaking, “CD, Pat Benetar,” before the wrapping was even halfway off.
My heart went out to you. Take whatever solace you may from the fact that it wasn’t Pat Benetar.
That aside, you finally made your grand entrance in startling form when I shook you from the bag. I apologize for the head-plant, by the way. You’re a three foot elephant. That bag was clearly unsuitable for someone of your size and stature. The staff have been spoken to.
So, a warm welcome. Glasses raised. Cheers all round.
Now, before we go on, you’re possibly wondering at the name Pauline. I must confess The Girl didn’t come up with it entirely on her own. It took a little probing, a little prompting, a little soul-searching before we settled on Pauline. In fact, we’d been hearing about this unknown – perhaps imaginary – friend named Pauline for some time. So, it was with a measure of relief that you happened along when you did. Now the mysterious Pauline has finally been personified. Or elephantized, if you will. As for the name, don’t worry if you find it slightly bizarre for an elephant, you’ll get used to living with an utterly ridiculous name. The Chukker-boy did.
Now, painful as it is, it’s imperative I mention a few house rules for your stay here. There aren’t many, but they’re vital to a happy and well-run household. First up:
1. Do not taunt the dog. It can only end badly.
2. The Girl’s bed is out of bounds. I recently had to endure the heart-rending chore of thinning the ranks of bedsitting toys and casting them to the far reaches of the closet. Only a privileged few get to share this domain with The Girl. At the time of writing these are Lilly Lion, The Dead Cat, Boo Boo the Bunny Rabbit and Lamb Chop. You may make the transition to the A Team – the elite of Lea Family Toy-dom, however, the standard wait time is around fifteen years and survival rates are not typically encouraging. Again, sorry.
3. Toy washing day is Friday. Refusal to comply with instructions and submit to a linen bag may result in torn seams, matted fur, and, in your case, a twisty trunk.
4. Dusting is on Saturdays. This usually entails anything from a mild shake through to whacking against the dresser, depending on activity levels of the toy involved. It is advisable to keep a good supply of Panadol on hand for afterwards.
5. The booze shelf in the pantry is also out of bounds. (I’m prepared to overlook this one transgression captured above because of the delay in the welcome letter. However, don’t let it happen again)
So, with those few formalities out of the way now, I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm and hearty, “Welcome,” to you, Pauline. We’re thrilled to have you in our home and in our hearts.
I hope you’ll find your stay with us long and prosperous.
The dog certainly has.