Ever since he was little, folks had always been telling him how he should live; that he should ‘do it this way’, or ‘do it that way’, or ‘you’ll never amount to anything, not with that attitude’.
Now either, he was plum crazy (and there was always a chance that was true) or perhaps he simply walked to the beat of a different drum (judging by the rest of the folks around him, that was definitely true). Just because they couldn’t hear his tune, didn’t mean that it wasn’t playing somewhere in the air.
The problem was that he always pretended to hear their music (something, no matter how hard he tried, he simply couldn’t do) and when you fake it, he realised that they probably knew deep down that he was deaf to their tunes. So one morning, Gregory decided he didn’t care what folks thought about him, he was going to do what he’d always wanted to do and that was to fly. And like they say in the song, you ain’t never seen an elephant fly.
Did that stop him? Well kind of, until he realised that there was many ways to fly. He’d jumped off a hill and flapped his ears (just like the movie), he’d built a huge kite and strapped it to his back. Each time he crashed to the ground and the other elephants would sneer and laugh and give him one of those ‘I told you so’ looks.
And yeh, there were nights when he cried himself to sleep curled up with his big trunk, and some days he felt that maybe he was out of step with the rest of the world and wouldn’t it be easier just to tow-the-line and be an elephant. One evening he was sitting by a tree and wondering if perhaps this world wasn’t for him and that he’d go and look for another one, when a little bird called ‘Sadie’ landed next to him. Sadie wanted to know what was up with the big elephant and he told Sadie about his wish to fly. Sadie smiled and laughed ‘cause she thought that flying was the easiest thing in the world and told Gregory that she would help him, as long as he showed her how to squirt water. Gregory laughed at squirting water, since he found it the easiest thing in the world.
All its life the universe had been waiting for Sadie and Gregory to meet. They both knew a little of this and a little of that, but it was different things they knew and together, they knew everything. Then one glorious, elephant day, Gregory and Sadie built the largest flying machine they had ever seen – and okay, it looked like a nest but, hey, sometimes you just go with what you know. And as Sadie and Gregory took off and flew above the town, they could see the ones who had scolded them looking up and wondering why they hadn’t tried it. Then Gregory looked down at his home and saw his mother crying and waving and he felt brilliant and realised that you never, ever, never, ever give up; not now, not tomorrow, not ever.
bobby stevenson 2017