I’ve been working on my memoir (“Popsicle Toes”) and it’s brought up all sorts of things, the way a giant burrito brings up heartburn and possibly gas. Not that all my memories are bad. I had a favorite stuffed animal and I still think about it. (And there are other good things too like mushroom hunting and Han Solo fantasies.) My favorite stuffed animal was, of course, something rather unusual. See, I lived in Traverse City and one day my mom got me a stuffed bison from Olsen’s Market. Olsen’s owned a herd of buffalo and every summer we’d eat buffalo burgers at Northern Community college and look at pottery during their art fair. (“Tanya, it’s good! It almost tastes like a real hamburger!”)
Anyway. I remember the bison and told my daughter about it. (Her favorite stuffed animal is a much-loved elephant.) I also remember us being pretty poor so the idea that my mom would just buy me a stuffed animal at the grocery store when I remember pretty empty cupboards at home didn’t make sense.
So when she came over yesterday, I asked her about it.
ME: Do you remember that stuffed buffalo I had?
MOM: A buffalo? You mean a bison?
ME: Yeah. A bison.
MOM: No. Don’t remember that.
You bought me one at the grocery store.
MOM: Ohhhh! Bison! I didn’t buy it for you. Bison did.
ME: Bison? Who the hell was Bison?
MOM: You don’t remember?
ME: I think I’d remember someone named Bison.
MOM: Oh, I dated him for a while. He was huge!
(Slight pause as I hoped she was talking about his height and not…something else.)
MOM: He was an ex-hockey player and was really scary looking especially because he didn’t have his two front teeth. People were really scared of him, but he was such a softy. When I found out he was into hard drugs, I dumped him.
Ah. Childhood memories. Now I know that my beloved stuffed bison was a gift from an actual Bison, the toothless ex-hockey player who was also a drug addict.
And that, folks, is why I’m writing a memoir.