Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Purple Cow

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I would rather see than be one.            Gelette Burgess

I have seen a purple cow and I loved her.

When I was young, maybe 8? I got a purple cow for Christmas.  I think from Santa.  A lovely stuffed purple cow.  My siblings and I really enjoyed Violet.  We used our Hi-Ho Cherry O game ( buckets to milk her.  She was an amazing cow. Each of her pink teats produced a different drink.  Milk, of course.  Chocolate milk. (are you surprised?)  some kind of juice maybe orange, I think. and strawberry milk or maybe apple juice.

I love stuffed animals (and real animals) and have had many.  Through all of life’s moves and changes, I kept my purple cow. 

Until one dark day.

Those of you who know me know that I struggle with time, money, and organization management.  I was never a really great house keeper, or even a really good one.  Then I had 8 children.  Not bad children at all, but children.  And most all of us were pack rats.  Some of them have overcome that now so that if you know them you may not believe me, but they were.   And I have struggled with (mild) depression much of my life.  What I didn’t realize until I got divorced was how much my marriage contributed to my depression.  As a result of all this, my house was quite cluttered and messy.

Anyway, David would be coming home from his mission soon.  I wanted to make home a little bit nicer to come to.  I decided to try to get rid of some of the clutter.   We had LOTS of stuffed animals and a charity truck was coming for donations.  I put aside a few of the nicest stuffed animals that I thought the children liked and filled two garbage bags with the rest. 

Including Violet.  It still makes me cry.  What was I thinking??  I think I was punishing myself for being such a lousy homemaker, mother, person, you name it.  Looking back I have found other times in my life when I have done something like that to hurt myself, to punish myself for being me.  This one still hurts. A surprising amount.

I put the bags out for the truck and the kids and I headed out on some errands.   I told them what I had done and they all protested that I should have kept the purple cow.  I said that if the bags were still there when we got home, I would save her.  But Violet was gone forever. 

I cannot even think that she was adopted by another little girl.  She was too old and worn to make it to the sales floor.   I killed an old, dear friend when I put her in that bag and took it out to the street.  I am pretty sure there are animals in heaven. I rather wish that there will be stuffed animals, too, but somehow I doubt it.

I have cried many a tear over my purple cow. I only wish that I felt such sincere regret over actual sins I have committed as over giving up that silly stuffed animal.  Siblings have nearly cried about Violet.

Once Benjamin drew me a purple cow. She is on my computer at home.

This Christmas Debi gave me a purple cow she sewed herself.  She is not the cow of my childhood, soft and rounded.  She is the cow Debi remembers, flat, but still cute.  No pink teats.  Those were long gone before Debi knew her.

I can tell you one thing.  I am not ever giving up this purple cow.  She carries a lot of love.


  1. You broke my heart, I wish "purple cow" had still been there when you got home. I know today I will never part with my childhood chipmunk named Poochie. He is so ugly, no ears, fur is gone and his plastic nose cracked but he is mine.
    I hope you learned that you have punished youself enough! I know today after much anxiety in my life that the expectations a person places on ourselves because we think it is what others just in our mind and they haven't even given it a thought. Fact: they want you to be happy, that will make them happy - period. Ask them!

  2. I don't know how anyone can read this story and not cry.

    Well, if stuffed animals don't make it to heaven, then I say they are reincarnated for more people to love. (Or for the same person to love more.)

    One lesson from the purple cow: People love you just the way you are.

    This thoughtful gift is just one example of that love. Just like you loved Violet--even though she wasn't as fluffy or as colorful as she used to be--people love you--even if you aren't as perfect as you'd like to be. They don't expect you to be more than you are or different from they way you are. They just want you.

    People like you--not because of the things you can & can't do, but for who you are & the love that you share. ♥

  3. Amen! to what both Melanie and Miriam said.

    I'm glad you have another purple cow. I think each of us have something like that, and it would break my heart to give mine up.

  4. What an emotional story...

    I have (or had) a teddy bear that I had my photo taken with as an infant. I slept with that teddy bear until I was in my twenties..

    Somewhere along the line, I lost track of it - I think my parents may have seen it at one point in their "Crawl space" in storage - but they do not seem to remember.

    I know what you are feeling - What I would give to have that bear back...