For a time, there was a vindictive sergeant who wanted to make sure soldiers couldn't attend church on Sunday, so he would wake them up at 5AM for KP duty. One Saturday the soldiers were alerted that the sergeant planned to grab them the next morning, so a number of them left and showed up at our house about midnight. Mom welcomed them and made them beds on various couches and the living room floor.
Most of the soldiers were destined to go to Vietnam. Many of them remembered the kindness of my parents and kept in touch for many years.
One day, our family made a day trip to Turkey Run State Park where we had fun hiking. As we returned and pulled into the driveway of our L-shaped house, I noticed something odd in front of our front door, which was somewhat recessed. Nobody else in the family noticed. "Look!" I said. "There's an elephant by our door.! I got some funny looks from my parents, who I am sure thought I was hallucinating, and a very sarcastic "sure there is" from someone else, but I was right. There WAS an elephant by the door. One of our soldier friends, Jim Bondurant, had mailed it from Vietnam. He decided to ship it without a box, reasoning that if the shipper could see that it was fragile, they would be more careful with it. It came with just a shipping label.
His reasoning worked pretty well, as the only damage was a small corner broken off the top. Mom patched it up and soon the damage was barely discernible.
Over those years, we met many new and wonderful friends. I always felt we were fortunate that none of them were lost to us in Vietnam. As for the elephant, it has been in my parents' living room ever since. It made a wonderful plant stand.