“I thought you were getting ready to write more about me!” Ted Bear snorts.”I thought I scrubbed up pretty well in my other two stories.” He points to my Kindle reader. He’s quite taken with this new piece of technology, even though he’s in black and white on this one. Ted has seen himself in living colour on the ‘big’ screen of my computer and is most impressed with seeing his name and face ‘up there in lights’, so to speak. It was him who insisted on that photo in front of my computer, with one of his book covers featuring behind him. (That’s in his section of the Gallery). His ego can be unbearably inflated at times.
“You’ve been besotted with your editing of your memoir, haven’t you?” He growls a bit, and I know he’s been watching me writing when I thought he was fast asleep in the wee small hours.
“Farming and animals, and all that grotty outdoor stuff… right?” He’s trying to squeeze a tear out of that glassy eye. I can tell.
“It’s like I don’t matter anymore. Not like once upon a time, when I shared your bed every single night. ” Ted cheers up as he remembers. “Couldn’t go to sleep without me in those days, could you?”
He’s right. He has been my Ted for almost seven decades, and I did need his comfort and warmth through all of my early days, since the day we first met and fell in love. I must choose my words carefully as I answer him in a kind and gentle fashion, so he will forgive my lapse of besottedness with him.
“Ohh Ted, my love,” I say. I pick him up and talk quietly right into his golden ear. “It’s not that I love you less… you know I’ve promised you that love, ever and always. But Ted, this memoir is about our ‘mature’ years and all the ‘funny farm’ happenings. I need to tell those stories, just exactly as I needed to write about you… and the Knitty Gritty Kids.”
Ted grumbles and growls a bit, as he tends to do often these days. He may be getting a touch of arthritis? Abruptly he frowns, as he registers my last words. He looks more than a little disgruntled as the thought crosses his mind. “… The Knitty Gritty Kids? They’d have to get in on the act too, wouldn’t they?” His apparent gruffness is only a case of beating his hairy chest a bit for effect. Deep inside he’s a marshmallow. I know… he can’t fool me. He loves those woolly kids as if they were his own. Elsewhere on this site you can see photos of how much they all really mean to him. At his age, I let him get away with a bit of posturing. It makes him happy to pretend he’s a ‘Big Bad Bear’ now and then.
He tries to screw up his nose but that’s been a bit tricky for many years now, since his surgery. I blame myself for his pain. After all, it was me who loaned him to my small son to cuddle in bed, as I had snuggled with him many, many years before. I really didn’t expect my son and his best mate would be playing with Ted, and get rougher, and then – horror of horrors – some small vandal ripped his black nose almost completely off. Seriously, it was hanging by a thread.
I nervously approached the delicate restoration task, needle and black wool in hand. It was, after all, my maiden operation – a giant step along my pioneering path. But all fears had to be brushed aside in this moment of Ted’s need. A steady hand and a stout heart were needed to restore his equilibrium, and his nose, too.
I have rarely witnessed the degree of stoicism Ted demonstrated that day. There were no whimpers or screams, no squirming in a feeble attempt to get away – actually it was more a ‘grin and bear it’ kind of attitude. With every painstakingly careful penetration of my darning needle, I whispered an apology to my best old mate. Unimaginable – surgery on such a delicate extremity, without benefit of anaesthetic. (But of course, that would have meant yet another needle. Ted declined this option.) Finally the last stitch was done… to the immense relief of both patient and surgeon. The good news is that this nose has withstood the elements and the ravages of time (30+ years at this moment), as you can see by his photos.
For now, an unpleasant confrontation has been averted, ruffled feathers have been smoothed (and hair standing on end gently flattened, too) and all is forgiven. And let’s face it, ‘there is nothing like a dame’… especially when that dame is your Mother!
Amazing thing, the power of Love, isn’t it?