A few posts ago I mentioned that my Aunt Janella and Uncle Ron came to visit me; what I didn't mention was that there was a reunion of sorts. Meet Ron, Janella... and Monkey.
Cute, right? That monkey was given to Janella when she was a little girl, and it was the coveted toy for all of us kids when we would go to visit Grandpa and Grandma Frankl. Their house on McCook Lake had tons of exciting things to do... there was swimming and boating, slot machines in the basement along with an old victrola. There was even a big old bearskin rug (with the bear's head still attached... scared the stuffing out of me when I was little) that sprawled out across the floor. But when we went for the toys, we all loved Monkey.
That poor thing was worn and tattered with holes and patches. All signs of being loved consistently for many years. After we were older Grandma took Monkey to some stuffed-animal guru and had him restored for Janella. Whoever did it did a wonderful job because he looked like the Monkey we all knew and loved... just with a face lift of sorts. When I was in college at UNI and Janella was preparing to leave for her missionary work in Bolivia, she had me come into her office at the Student Center where she worked and Monkey was sitting there in the chair. My friend Kate was with me and thought I had lost my mind when I went ape (pun intended) over the toy.
Janella wasn't taking many things with her and wanted me to have him for safe keeping. Kate was rather embarrassed to walk out of the building with me as I was holding Monkey on my hip, much as Janella is in the first photo. But she started to grasp the importance when we saw my cousin Janet, who also went to UNI, and she almost wrestled me for custody of the toy right there in the lobby. But I was more agile back then. I won.
Obviously Janella has been back from Bolivia for quite some time, but Monkey has remained safely here with me. And I offered to let her have him back when she visited... but I think she knew she'd have to get past someone else first, and Riley wasn't giving him up without a fight:
True love conquers all.