© 2019 Christine Larsen
© 2019 Christine Larsen
Ta-ta-ta, dee diddle dee da-a-a-a-a-a-a-a! (Pretend drum roll, because my arms are too short!)
Harrhumm… LADIES AND GENTLEMAN. YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE!
It gives me the greatest pleasure to introduce you to a most famous group – the like of which you’ll rarely see in such numbers and diversity.
You know about the Beatles, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?
And hurrhum – Einstein, Thomas the Tank Engine, Elvis Presley?
Not to mention Smokey and the Bandit, and Mantovani – ahh… the list could go on forever.
Few can compare to the trials, the tribulations, the rejections and desertion these helpless and hapless small children have endured among the heaps of unwanted and no longer loved little rejects of Life.
Here are their stories – direct from their private, hidden retreat in the country these days, their safe place to fall, a home they never wish to leave. For humane and educational purposes they agreed to only a few photos and for our Mum to write the precious tales they’ve shared.
PARDON? Did you say you wanted to learn some of their names? (sigh) OK! If you insist!
There’s about sixteen (or more) of these little critters, so I’ll only tell you a few – to whet your appetite. Check these out –
Gran and Grandpa, Bimbo and Clarence (the clowns), Simon Scarecrow, Harry the Painter, Bert the Chimney Sweep, and Sally and Sammy – the disabled kids.
Not a cast of thousands, but each has a story they’ve entrusted to our Mum, and I’m not alone in thinking they are each rather special. But what can I tell you? With a mentor and kind of Father figure like ME, how could they go wrong??
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN- (l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g pretend drum roll)
THE SMALL KNITTY GRITTY KIDS!
“Oh, oh, oh... it’s beginning.” Jonjon is all but jumping out of his PJs, he’s so excited. “The voices, Sarah. Will there be voices now? Will there?” Now his bounces are so enthusiastic I’m in danger of dropping the precious book.
I nod enthusiastically… nothing less will do. Still, I warn him, if I don’t get some quiet, I won’t be able to continue. Well, that fixes everything. He freezes – same as he does in his beloved ‘What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?’ game he plays with his pals.
And the voices I use now are most tricky. They have to be old as I can make them, but ‘stroft’. ‘Strong’ and ‘soft’ all at the same time. It’s a tough ask, but will impress Jonjon no matter how they come out. How lucky I saw that funny glinty shine in Ted Bear’s eyes when I opened the book to HIS page.
Could it be he’s given me some kind of magical powers… like Granny and I are the same, sort of? As though I know exactly how she felt when she wrote her precious words? That’s how it feels. STRANGE indeed… but kind of lovely and warm. I feel her smiling – truly I can.
I’m inspired to do the best job possible just for her (and it won’t be much of a chore doing this for Jonjon, either).
NOT the tale-telling kind that’s not-so-friendly (can even be quite a bit nasty sometimes) – Ted Bear Esq. tells tales about himself and his family, with lots of love and loyalty and the strongest wish to share with you and your family.
Let’s go, readers… no matter how big or small you are!
Copyright note: This is a children’s book solely created by Christine Larsen and so is fully protected by All Rights Reserved copyright. If you are reading this elsewhere than here or Wattpad, it has been taken without my permission and I/Wattpad can take legal action.
© 2018 Christine Larsen
She’s not crying ‘cos I’m hogging our chair… truly! (T.B.Esq.)
A Few Words from Christine
Ted Bear and I have been best mates since I was two and he was new.
I had only barely been a doll person until I met Ted, but he won my heart on that birthday when we met and has owned the oldest part of it for over 7 decades now.
He holds one little girl’s secrets and the tears (both happy and sad), and even after all this time, never, ever told anyone else a single one. What a champion!
Straight after deciding he wanted his story told, he naturally chose me, the person who’s known and loved him best in this whole wide world. It’s been yet another joy to share with my best mate, Ted.
(Trumpet fanfare…. drum roll… 21 gun salute)
– a LOT of words from Ted Bear Esq.
Hallo – Ted Speaking (haarr-haarrumph)
Telling Mum what to write is a tough job, but someone had to grin and bear it – that is, tell Mum what to do about anything. It’s a challenge I’m up for after all the years we’ve shared. There’s a stout heart beating strongly beneath this hairy chest. Plus, I have the added support of small friends at Mum’s computer… there’s Guide Dog Puppy in a red coat, True Blue the Aussie Koala with his Anzac Day badge pinned to his jacket, another Guide Dog Puppy in a blue coat, and most importantly, the best assistant I’ve ever known, Charlie the One-eyed Crows supporter (he’s made from a gumnut with a knitted ‘Crows’ cap, and poor fellow truly only owns one eye). Although they’re only little chaps, you know the saying about good things in small packages? Well these kids are simply the best.
I’m sure it’s already quite clear to you – like a great wine, I am ageing beautifully. There are the odd niggles – a bit of thinning hair here, a suggestion of sagging there… ah well, I try to accept the wear and tear always trooping along with the ‘getting of wisdom’… it happens, even to nobility. Mine not to reason why. Mine but to bear, or cry… ( haar-haarumph! That’s enough now!)
These days I find I need glasses more often than not. My vision problem began when I found my arms were too short for comfortable reading. Did they shrink, do you think? Funny – I didn’t feel my arms getting smaller. It began to disturb me as it worsened each time Postie Bear brought me important mail from far away friends and I needed to squint and twist my head every which way to read those precious words.
‘Twas quite unbearable for a while, until Mum bought spectacles for me. At first I felt a bit weird. Kind of different, you know? And sort of ashamed and scared. What would others think about Ted Bear Esq. in glasses? Snigger? Whisper behind my back? You know… ever had those feelings? I thought maybe there’d be people who wouldn’t like me anymore. It felt gross, and made me SO unhappy. Trust Mum to gather up all the Small Knitty Gritty Kids – and Gran and Grandpa too – to sit together on the lounge and talked it through.
They’ve all been SO kind. I had armfuls of hugs from small people telling me how much they loved me, with or without glasses. I could hardly bear it, and must admit to the odd sniffle. And as if their caring wasn’t more than enough, the Small Knitty Gritty Kids went without all manner of things to give me warm and special scarves for the coldest nights.
Sometimes I wear the pure wool scarf we inherited from my Mum’s Dad. The one he loved and wore heaps, many long years ago (bit of an honour actually). It’s all brown and cream and SO cosy when I’m sitting there – on guard – watching over Mum through the night.
Then, for a change, and if I need a lift of my spirits on dreary Winter days, I wear the gorgeous pinky, purply one – thanks to the overwhelming kindness of the Small Knitty Gritty Kids. Who else would have guessed how mean those chilly nights can be as you sit perfectly still… for hours, and hours? And understood how stiff a neck can get after it doesn’t move… for hours, and hours? The Small Knitty Gritty Kids could – bless their small loving hearts. What a family!
If you haven’t seen our group snuggle photos before, you probably don’t know story-telling is my way to thank them for their kindness. They love it, and are SO quiet and still you could hear a stitch drop. And THAT IS QUIET… I promise you.
I wasn’t always old, you know. Once upon a time I was but a cub – it’s true! My Mum and I became family when she was two, and I was new. We can’t remember anymore what our first words to each other were… but most definitely we fell in love at first sight. I didn’t know then that I would be exactly what she wanted. I didn’t know she had never really been in love with dolls, and for the rest of her life would prefer cuddly kids (and animals, too).
I still have my chair from brand new. I call it my chair, and these days it truly is – although it actually began life as one of Mum’s later birthday presents. Don’t quote me, but I think it was her 5th birthday. In those days, we both fitted into our chair in a traditional cuddly kind of fashion. The good news is, as Mum outgrew our chair, I didn’t – and like Goldilocks, I found it to be just right. Funny how me and my chair still fit as well as ever we did.
I share my chair most days with two likely lads. Greengrass is the youngest of we three bears by many years; he’s a quiet sort of a chap who mostly listens – and learns – many pearls of wisdom from Postie Bear and myself, (Ted Bear Esq.) while we reminisce. Greengrass truly knows ‘listening is as important as talking’.
Actually, it’s a curious thing with Greengrass. I firmly believe he’s an old soul (you know, like he’s lived before… in another time and place?) It’s maybe hard to understand this, because Mum only made him less than a decade ago. I think she stitched her formidable history (or two? or more?) into Greengrass when she created him. Strange thought… isn’t it? And yet it truly seems possible to me‼
And Postie Bear? He is chock-a-block full of postman stories involving much whistle-blowing, and bearing tidings of great joy (and sometimes sorrow) – and dog stories – never-ending dog stories. Like ALL postmen, he has a million of them.
His feet are extremely thankful his postman days are done. You will often hear him say – “Those modern posties don’t know they’re alive… zipping and zapping every which way on their motorbikes. And all the protective clothing for bad weather days! Hurr-hum-hh… Now back in my day…”. He can go on for hours about this subject.
And then there’s THE Letter… the one Postie Bear insists he didn’t write – but look at the signature! Need I say more?
Dear Mrs. Brown
We would like to thank you for using our service.
We received your letter that was posted today and we are very happy that you think Australia post staff are that intelligent that you do not need to address it.
Sadly I have to inform you that none of the hapless post office employees are gifted with such astute mental powers nor do the slackers have any telepathic powers that would allow them to read your mind so I am sorry to say that you will have to please address your letters in the future.
PS: a bloody stamp would not hurt your cause either.
They’re the good memories. And the bad and the ugly? I think we won’t go there or dwell on things like that – not here, not now. It’s one of the things we old fellows share amongst ourselves sometimes, late at night – the way good old friends tend to do. You see, the three of us choose to live our lives by the old saying – It’s OK to let your stuffing show… now and then. We prefer to do this in private, baring our chests only amongst ourselves, you know?
Now and then, at most special times, visitors stay for a small holiday. We love that. We always say “ALL VISITORS WELCOME – ESPECIALLY OUR ‘SPECIAL’ FRIENDS”.
Jemima is a favourite. She’s a little lady in a faded pink baby jump-suit. Jemima belongs to my Mum’s grand-daughter, Cirena. They were both born in 2000. Jemima is a most special old friend, despite her young age. She’s been coming on holidays for most of her life, and for lots and lots of overnight stays. I don’t see her through the night time, because Cirena always loved to take her to bed to snuggle with, all through her darkest hours. Jemima and I had the same job – to make sure no bad dreams drifted in to our two Mums’ sleeping minds.
I love the way Jemima hugs me… bless her little heart. Maybe she wrote the saying – Hugs are even better than chocolates. It’s always good to be together again, and we have SO much to talk about. You can’t imagine how many things happen in our lives in between visits. We have many different friends, Jemima and I… mainly because our homes have often been far apart.
And the other special friend who visited Greengrass, Postie Bear and me a few times, is a young fellow called Billow. He’s a seal and he comes from Queensland. Oh, don’t worry… he didn’t have to swim all the way to South Australia. No, no, no… he came by plane! Huh? I know… I could hardly believe it at first, either. But the answer is simple. The first time he came to visit, he came with Cirena, and I believe she had Billow tucked safely under one arm and Jemima under the other, never letting them go for anyone. She had no doubts about the saying – Everyone needs someone to hold onto – and no way would she be visiting the Lost Children desk at the airport.
Mum and Dad once went for a holiday to Tasmania and came back with Captain Chas. (I think Mum found those two weeks without me totally unbearable and just had to have something furry and bearish to cuddle.) So Captain Chas and I get together fairly regularly to swap seafaring yarns and sing a sea shanty or three.
I wear my Riverboat Captain cap so that Chas doesn’t mistake me for a scurvy, lily-livered landlubber. We say Ahoy Matey and Avast there and Hoist the Jolly Roger, and we pretend our toy boat is an evil black pirate ship with lots of gold swirls and curls, and many great cannons poking out each side. In our dreams, we two scallywags (or scoundrels… whichever you prefer) – sail the Seven Seas once again. We shout Heave Ho to make our crew put some muscle into hoisting the sails to go to sea, and Avast when we want to stop.
Much later, when we’ve said Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Rum a heap of times, and had a slurp or two, we seem to always end up doing a lot of aaarrrrgghh… ing in between loudly singing –
‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor… ‘,
and the next verse –
‘Put him in the longboat until he gets sober… ‘
Well-ll-ll, all I can say is… Shiver Me Timbers
But wait! There’s a completely ‘other’ side to me, rarely revealed to the public, so shhh… we’ll just keep this between you and me, OK? You see, sometimes, on really sunny days, I concentrate on getting in touch with my feminine side and spend time with the ladies – Gertie Galah and Rosemary.
The first thing you should know about Gertie Galah is that she’s really beautiful – all pink and grey and white. And she has this cute little white topknot of feathers on her head, that can stand up tall when she’s alarmed or sometimes when she’s just being nosy. But when she’s comfy and quietly thinking, or smiling, or maybe settling for the night, then her topknot lies down nice and smooth.
Gertie is a really funny gal… she makes me laugh a lot. Some humans say Galahs are the clowns of the bird world. I agree. I’ve seen Galahs doing some really funny things. I wonder if you’ve seen them when a light rain falls, after many long, hot and dusty days? Galahs love to crowd onto telegraph lines and have a shower. They spread their wings, and whilst hanging on tightly with their curly claws, they swing around on the lines a few times, and then stop when they’re upside down… high above the ground. This way, they catch as many raindrops as they possibly can, and then flap their wings furiously, to get rid of the excess. (After all, you wouldn’t want to be waterlogged for flight, would you?)
I have seen Gertie doing this high wire act, too. Around and around and around she would go… where would she stop? I didn’t know. I was quite dizzy, just watching her. But she had no fear. Like all the rest of her family and friends, she only wanted to ‘come clean’.
After that, each and every feather must be lifted and ruffled and run through with that tough curvy beak, until they all lay smooth and flat (and of course, squeaky clean once again). Then, at long last, the Galahs sit in the sun to dry out completely.
Gertie tends to squawk more than talk… well – that’s how it sounds at first. But when you be very, beary quiet and listen most carefully, you can hear her words. (This is easy for a Teddy Bear – it’s our basic personality.) Humans are different. More often than not, they have problems understanding why they have two ears and only one mouth – “All the better to hear you with, my dear” (as a famous Wolf once said).
We Teddy-type bears have no problem with this, OR any other loyalty and caring and loving type things. You may have noticed this about us.
Oh yes… and Rosemary? She’s what we sit on in the great outdoors – Gertie and me. Although sometimes she’s a girl in other houses – Rosemary is a bush at our place. And although a bush by any other name would smell as sweet, it’s a lovely name for a special gal who shares her sweetness with anyone who brushes past, or indeed lingers, as Gertie and I do.
Long ago when I was just a whipper-snapper, I was a devoted football fan, cheering loudly for a South Australian footy team fondly called the Eagles, and their colours were blue and gold. Then Dad came along and things became complicated. His team were the Redlegs, and their colours were red and blue. Then South Australia created its own State football team. Now all our problems were solved, and we all felt happy. This proud team is called the Adelaide Crows and their colours are Red and Blue and Gold… how fortunate is that?
Mum went a bit crazy in those early years as a dedicated supporter. She knitted a l-o-n-g scarf, and crocheted a knee rug – and then another – finally joining the two together for a double knee rug for her and Dad to snuggle under together and keep warm between cheering at the big matches. Then she crocheted two cushion covers to sit on and soften the chilly concrete bench seats at the footy oval. She says cheering and cursing the umpire usually kept them heated nicely most of the time, but on particularly wintry days, her handiwork was most welcome.
Mum lent me her best footy cap on game days when she couldn’t go to the matches. She crocheted one huge eye and sewed it to the cap to show what a ‘one-eyed’ supporter she was. She made one for Dad too, and sitting beside each other, bundled under their rug, they look like a two-headed, one-eyed alien. The first l-o-n-g scarf had to be replaced because Mum insisted on having it looped through the car and flying out from both back car windows each time the Crows won. The scarf I get to wear for photo shoots is the new you beaut model in a wonderful silky and feathery yarn that looks like it glows… truly it does.
Crow Bear and Crow Clown and I love to cuddle up in all the gear in front of the TV on a chilly Saturday afternoon, and cheer them on. Don’t know if the Crows can actually hear us, but our house gets quite rowdy each time we’re on a winning streak. We three are actually fervent footy fans, in case you hadn’t noticed. Learned it all from our Mum. We like to think the Adelaide Crows are comforted by the old saying –
When all the world’s against you, Ted is on your side (…as are Crow Bear and Crow Clown, too.)
There are other truly grand people I fully support who aren’t footballers. They would be my own sweet family. Every now and then, my girl Betsy comes visiting this beary loveable old critter (uhrr yes, that would be me), and she brings my grandies… to crawl all over me.
Love ’em to bits… I tell them stories from last century and they are SO impressed by my yesterdays. Well-ll-ll, to tell the truth, Betsy hangs on every word, but the grandies soon lose interest and begin fidgeting and whispering and squirming. It’s time to suggest they go play outdoors, and before you can say hugs are even better than chocolates, they’re out the door and off to start another great adventure.
Luckily, we live on a farm and they can shout and sing their blessed little hearts out, without worrying about disturbing the neighbours. Betsy and I don’t have to worry about them being in any danger from the farm animals – those cows are far too big for our tiny bambinos. They scare the little tykes much too much to come anywhere near them… not even anywhere near their paddock fence.
To tell the truth, I’m not too sure about those great critters either. I reckon a few licks from a cow’s rough tongue could turn me into a skin-head, just like that! (As I say those words, I would snap my fingers if I could, but I don’t have any… just two velvety paws that actually stroke very nicely.)
Even the hens Mum and Dad love are a bit of a worry. They have scary pecky beaks, and talk about beady eyes? Well-ll-ll, chook-lovers ought to study those hens up close and personal, that’s all I can say. And people who are not in love with bears reckon we have beady eyes? It’s not true. Some bears actually have buttons for eyes. Sad really… I believe their eyesight is particularly bad, even though they are nowhere near my advanced age.
Now here’s a tough one, even for an old hand like me! You see, there are places Mum publishes my tales, where we can make a picture story (and I absolutely require a pictorial record to cover ALL I do in an average day!).
Other places, however, can only show the front cover – no pics inside whatsoever. Ah well… their loss! The thing is, I’ll have to make a condensed version for those poor unfortunates. Sigh… another challenge!
Haarrumphh – deep breath (or three) now... OK!
First things first – I L-O-V-E to greet the morning sun through the bathroom window. Warms those creaky old joints that stiffen overnight. Normal bear wear and tear, I guess.
See the wide open spaces behind me? Fresh country air… I LOVE my sunburnt country.
Time to quickly check emails and Facebook and what Mum wrote about in the wee small hours. She’s an insomniac (no, no, no… not a maniac – it means she wakes up and can’t go back to sleep, so she sensibly writes for a few hours, instead of fretting over her sleeplessness). Sometimes I think she’s a show-off with her touch-typing skill, when I’m restricted to paw-patting one key at a time… but truthfully (shh, don’t tell her this), I’m basically overawed at her speed for an old girl (on the keyboard, that is. Not so much in other times and places). She loves to tell people she’s seen the model typewriter she learned to type on in museums, often asking staff if they need an antique operator, too.
Because home is a farm, we only have mail delivery three times a week. Pretty neat timing actually, providing exactly enough effort for Postie Bear, my personal postman, to trot all the way up our drive to the road and letterbox, and return… hopefully with something in hand. This particular pic is us reading a treasured card from Mum’s grand-daughter. I suspect Postie Bear gets a charge out of reading special mail, just like me.
Time to make sure Wilfrid Wabbit has his carrot fix for the day. It’s important for all rabbits, but most especially Wilfrid. You see, he was born with weak eyes, causing the poor little blighter to have to wear specs already… and he’s only a little guy yet. Hopefully, enough extra carrots should solve his problem well before he gets to his ‘terrible teen’ years and becomes besotted by the Playboy Bunnies. He will HAVE to have 20:20 vision to be able to say, “All the better to see you with, my dear”.
Here’s another old geezer I hang out with on sunshiny days. This one’s Farmer Dan. He reckons he’s a lucky duck whenever we have our get-togethers to discuss the weather (and whether it’s going to rain because our corns are aching; and definitely there’ll be a frost because a huge mistiness ringed the moon last night; and rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning – a shower is coming from the west), and planting tips and times (above-ground plants should always be planted in the morning, and underground chaps during the afternoon. Hmm, dunno. We’re not convinced about the last one, Farmer Dan and me). Our truly best stuff, after we’re warmed up, is to stretch the truth beyond its limits about absolutely everything, and tell the odd smutty joke (not dirty ones… that’s not the style of old-time bushmen). We simply concentrate on humour and enjoying the lazy luxury of fine times in the sun, doing nothing more energetic than chin-wagging. That’s us alright… Farmer Dan and me.
Sometimes if the sunshiny moments get too warm atop the Rosemary bush, Gertie Galah and I seek a shady place up a leafy tree somewhere. She really is a tonic – my ‘giggling Gertie‘ – keeping me in stitches with her tales of all the things she sees when she flies far and wide. Great stories to share with the Small Knitty Gritty Kids, later on… before their bedtime.
Sheesh, my Mum owns a l-o-t-t-a books. I get exhausted looking at the line-up, let along reading them all. And all those stacks of books in front of even more books. Phew! How DO her eyes stand up to it? There are times Dad gets exasperated in charity shops and at clearing sales having to tear her bodily away from any books for sale. Then she reminds him she’s pretty cheap to run, compared to dames who want jewels and pearls or maybe ‘just one more pair of shoes’.
As the daylight hours are ending, and before the Small Knitty Gritty Kids nod off, there’s time for one more Bedtime Story. I know I’ve already shown you this pic, but what can I say? They’re the BEST family in the world – and you may have noticed, I’m a tad proud.
This isn’t the prettiest picture of me you’re likely to see, but I have many old-fashioned virtues, and ‘Honesty is the Best Policy’ is an important one. The truth is, I L-O-V-E a nightcap or three before bed. Smoothes out the cares of the day and makes me all warm and fuzzy… you know? Some may turn up their noses and say, “Pardon?”, but I reckon if it’s the worst I do in this world, it’s not too bad.
Cheers! Skaal! Prost! Sante! Cin Cin! Here’s Mud in your Eye!
Speaking of advanced age, I can’t miss the chance to pass on some ‘cultured pearls of wisdom’ from the two sweetest antiques I’ve ever met, Gran and Grandpa. They are old souls too… I just know it. When I’m with them, I feel like a playful young cub again – forever young and all that stuff – so I take my specs off and pretend. It’s actually their fault for encouraging me… but look at them. Can you blame me for being putty in their hands?
Their plain, old-fashioned good sense and down-to-earth way of looking at Life’s problems is such a comfort when times get tough. With their never-ending supply of wise sayings and thoughts for every situation you can imagine, they simply soothe the soul.
Look at these ones especially for bears they picked up somewhere along the way –
There’s no such thing as too many kisses.
One good cuddle can change a grumpy day.
If the heart is true, it doesn’t much matter if an ear drops off.
Bears do not like to be lent. Save to very small children in very great distress.
I’m sure I’ve already used a couple in my story already. You don’t need to tell me – I know. It’s because I quote them SO often nowadays, talking to the Knitty Gritty Kids and any other small folk. You can use them too, if you wish. They can lift a chap up on a ‘down‘ day, and work exactly like that great line – you are the wind beneath my wings. Try one… go on! You’re going to feel better… truly.
Now I’m getting beary weary and it’s time for a last brush of my teeth before bed. Mum’s right about ‘brush twice a day to keep the Dentist away’ – I haven’t needed one in years and years!
Looking at the clock now… Good! Time for one more short bedtime story for my darlings. Except this night it’s less a bedtime story than a discussion about me having another bite of the cherry, so to speak, with Mum making this story – yet another one all of my own. Now it’s their turn to be revolting – clamouring for me to tell Mum she can’t rest those tip-tapping fingers yet – she simply MUST tell more about those little rascals, the Small Knitty Gritty Kids… or else! (Or else what, I’m not sure. Bit hard to go slow when your every move is already almost a non-event! Maybe they’re thinking to ration their cuddles. Now that would be DREADFUL!)
It’s looking as though a little pillow talk with Mum has become No. 1 on my ‘To Do’ list! (mmm… haa-rum-ph… phew… y-a-w-w-n-n-n… hmm… in the morning, I think – when we’re both fresh as daisies!)
Don’t you love that time of night when you’re all snuggled down under the covers, warm and cosy, and you go into a sort of dozy, dreamy state? Not quite asleep, but only barely awake – and you think of many things – and some are absolute brainstorms, and others are just sifting through the happenings of your day. Here’s a ‘thinking bear’s’ thought. I believe the words ‘barely awake’ came into being from the fact that bears never close their eyes… and the original words were ‘bearly awake’. See? Just like that saying that Gran and Grandpa taught me –
Someone’s got to keep their eyes open all the time.
And whether this next memory was in my dozy time or actually in my dreamtime, I’m not sure… but it was as if it were all happening for the first time. It went like this –
Mum and I were pretty young… can’t remember the exact year. It was Christmas Eve and we were in bed, trying to go to sleep so the night would pass quickly and we would wake up to find our presents at the end of the bed. They would be in the pillowcase we put there, waiting impatiently, just like us, for Father Christmas to sneak in and fill up.
But, we perfectly understood that we absolutely MUST be fast asleep, or else that jolly old man would NOT be laughing, and would not come while we were awake, and might not even come at all, if we took too long to drift off. (Of course, for those of us who live ‘Downunder’, we are very quite close to the end of his list.) We tried… honestly we did, but sleep just would NOT come.
We thought we heard a noise in the passageway, like someone creeping. We did… and it just had to be Father X. Oh no – and us not asleep! We buried ourselves deep beneath the covers (a pretty hot and nasty place to be in Australia at Christmas time. It’s REALLY hot, in case you didn’t know!) And we sweated… and sweated, from the heat and also from the fear that we would be discovered, clinging tightly to each other and barely breathing.
Somehow, we got away with it. Father X never suspected that there were two wide-eyed and wide-awake small folk trembling in the bed, as he filled the Christmas Stocking (pillowcase, actually… all those years ago). Later, we would have nightmares about this experience, and what it would be like to wake up to NO presents at all from that jolly old gent. Whew… doesn’t bear thinking about!
As time has passed, that nightmare has become only an occasional bad dream because it had a good outcome, after all. Still, it’s well on its way to comparing with a bear’s chief nightmare… which is being left behind. OHHH…DEAR!
On that note, it’s time for sleep… and dreams about all the good Christmases and Birthdays and just generally loving times we’ve shared, Mum and I. She has not the slightest doubt that ‘a Bear is as alive as you need him to be’. We read that somewhere, and we’ve never forgotten it. SO many grand times we’ve had together… SO many dreams come true.
Think I’ll just drift o-f-f into that special d-r-e-a-m-y place … yawn (oops sorry, my paw doesn’t reach my mouth too well)… mmm – d-r-e-a-m-y pla-a-c-c-e…
mmm… ‘n-i-g-h-t’ … (snore)
Christine speaking again, because this is the only time I can get a word in edgewise with ‘HE Who Rules the Roost’.
Please sshhh now… because Ted Bear Esq. is sleeping. Don’t be fooled by the eyes wide open – that’s the way he rests… truly!
But his slow and steady breathing are the give-away. That, and the gentlest of snores… but don’t tell him that.
Because I know him so well after all these years we’ve shared, I can hazard the best guess about what he’s dreaming of. It’s his adopted family – the Small Knitty Gritty Kids. He’s feeling quite disturbed because they are restless… and upset… and pouting quite a bit.
They want a bit of that stardust/stardom treatment, just like Ted. And so they take over his dreams… and I think I feel another book coming on – the one about the –
BORN AGAIN… SMALL KNITTY GRITTY KIDS.
Watch out. I think they’re coming soon.
But definitely it’s Good Night from him and it’s Good Night from me… for now.
20/10/2016 Change of cover because Ted Bear Esq. has been expressing his most disgusted disapproval of the cover I made. He says it looks like a gremlin crawling out of a coffin. Oh dear! This was it –
So here’s the current cover I’ve created… anything to keep my old mate happy (well, almost anything!) Will it be the ‘forever’ one? We’ll see!
Need to check out something from the beginning? Here we go —
Ted is disgruntled. NOT a pretty picture. Almost unbearable. ALMOST…
He says I’ve been too focused on my other writings for too long. He says I’m in love with flash fiction and short stories and stand-alone chapters of longer books. He even goes so far as to mention the ‘B’ word – ‘besotted’! You know what? He’s right. It’s painfully true.
And have I neglected this site in the travelling of these other roads? I surely have. Do I feel bad? Well-ll, yes… and no.
No-one should EVER neglect Ted Bear Esq. Even his name suggests this is a bear of distinction, quality and class. A bear who will always hold a special corner in the hearts of all who know him.
I’ve just made his own ‘up close and personal’ page in the Rogues’ Gallery. He probably won’t think much of the ‘rogue’ label, but he WILL love all the pics of him…LOOK!
Of course, it wouldn’t be difficult to guess I was coerced into writing yet another story about him – “now that you’re getting better at it”, he had the nerve to say. Here is your free read on Wattpad [and you don’t even have to be a member – unless you would like to comment on any or all the chapters – Ted and I would love that!]. It’s called ‘The Talebearer’.
I had also promised him I would shine my spotlight on his best friends – the Small Knitty Gritty Kids. And I haven’t. Well, more like a powerful torch, actually – as I have written a large amount of words about these small souls. It’s just that none of it has been public as yet. And therein lies his angst.
So the salve to my conscience is…? Thanks to my ‘busyness’ creating so many other works AND spending a deal of time writing, editing, rewriting my sweet kiddies’ stories, I believe my writing has improved in leaps and bounds. I know I can now tell these better than ever. In another several years I’ll probably disagree with myself, but for now, think it’s best I get these public ASAP.
Here’s the plan. ‘Publish’ excerpts here, with links to the full stories on Wattpad for free reading. There is an opinion that this will make them unacceptable to most would-be publishers – others believe if they are taken down from these ‘freebie’ reading platforms before official publication, all will be hunky-dory. Either way, it’s OK with me. Self-publishing is the only way I plan to go, IF I ever publish ‘publicly’ at all, and I don’t plan to put any restrictions on myself.
So Ted’s neck hairs have laid down flat again and if I look carefully, I can see the glimmer of a smile at the edges of his mouth. If he had them, I’m sure he’d give me a ‘thumbs-up’, but I’ll settle for the twinkle in his eyes. Mothers instinctively know the subtle signs of their kids’ mood swings.
We’ve had a new addition to our family.Look –
She’s a beautiful little girl we’ve called Molly, and you can see how happy the rest of the Knitty Gritty kids are. Will you look at those cheerful smiles? Even Sally and Sammy, the disabled kids in the back row are smiling. Despite not being able to see her, they can feel the love pouring out of every stitch of the others.