A New Year’s fable


t was another dreary and depressing day as the end of another year approached on The Farm. 

The Elephants and the Donkeys were huddled in their own halves of each of the two barns on The Hill, down the lane from the Big White House. Elephants and Donkeys rarely communicated with each other these days.

It was different just a few decades earlier. 

Back then, the Donkeys and the Elephants argued passionately on the floors of their respective barns, but when the workday ended, many of them would mingle around the water tank, ask about each other’s kids, exchange stories and generally do what animals everywhere do when they’re off duty.

And they pulled together when it was important to do so, and The Farm produced.

But no more. 

These days, there was almost no congress between the species. Elephants hung out in their half of each barn, and Donkeys did the same in theirs. 

The problem was a lack of trust on each side. Elephants disdained Donkeys, and Donkeys resented Elephants.

The Chief Execuphant down the lane in the Big White House was no help. He operated under a love-hate relationship with the Elephants in the barns. His relationship with the Donkeys omitted the love part. 

The Chief Execuphant preferred instead to communicate with his admirers beyond The Farm through Trumpetings and Tweetings. 

So The Farm yielded very little production. The Elephants and Donkeys refused to pull together, and the Chief Execuphant Trumpeted, Tweeted and watched a lot of TV to see what those off The Farm thought of him.

But it was the last day of the year, and New Year’s Eve was on all of them. It was time to Party.

The Elephants had stockpiled huge stacks of hay in their sections of the barns to celebrate. The Donkeys had done the same in theirs. (About the only thing the species had in common was that: they both liked hay.)

The Parties started early in the evening. As the hours wore on and great quantities of hay were consumed, contentment settled over the barns. 

And then it happened.

A few Elephants, bellies full of hay, wandered aimlessly out of their sections of the barns, just as a few Donkeys, also stuffed with hay, ventured beyond their sections.

The wanderers met in the great rotundas in the centers of the barns, under the giant haymows. At first they recoiled in fear and loathing and started to retreat to the safety of their own sections. 

But full bellies and the spirit of the season prevailed. 

Cautiously they eyed each other. Then, with a mutual unspoken attitude of “what the heck,” they turned around and slowly approached each other, finally merging into a mixed herd, rubbing shoulders and hides.

And each species discovered the other to be simply animals, not all that different from themselves.

A few nods were exchanged, then a few smiles, a few grins, a few guffaws, and it wasn’t long before the Donkeys and the Elephants were celebrating the New Year together.

Others back in the barn sections heard the festivities and ventured out themselves to see. Soon the great rotundas rang with song, back-slapping, and even some conversation about how to increase The Farm’s yields and production.

Much later, in the wee hours, the Donkeys and the Elephants, wishing each other a Happy New Year, plodded back to their own barn sections, pledging to make the most of their newfound respect for each other from then on, and wondering why they hadn’t got together long before now.

Not likely. But wouldn’t it be great?

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Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

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