Back in July, I outfitted Tex, the first of my traveling teddies, with his own backpack for a trip around the U.S. A month later, little sister bear Texie was prepared for her own circuit. Each bear entered a different teddy bear round robin equipped with a backpack for collecting treasures and a “passport” for the hostess to add a page to the bears’ stories. When I first started, my plan was to blog regularly about Tex’s and Texie’s travels, and to post stories of the bears visiting here.
Unfortunately, life intervened–both in the blog and the round robin. The round robins haven’t gone as smoothly as the planners hoped, although they did as much as they could to keep things moving. Sometimes it was a simple case of someone getting overwhelmed. Then each round robin had an individual who simply disappeared–in one case, one person had almost all of the bears before we realized that none of them were moving. Fortunately, that person eventually sent all the bears and most of their belongings on–a few items are still missing. In the other, the person is continuing to ignore all attempts at contact, though she’s chatting with other friends (and she’s the person sending to me, so I’ve been putting a lot of effort into it. We’ll see if the most recent attempt, a registered letter, makes a difference), and she’s holding three bears hostage. That round robin has shrunk so much that between the missing bears and the drop outs, there aren’t many of us left.
I’m lucky–Tex’s journey is almost over and he’ll be home in a few weeks…and I’m pretty sure I know where Texie is. At least, whomever said she had her last is still participating in the group! But it is a bummer that something we entered with such enthusiasm has been damaged by the selfishness of a few.
And I didn’t want to leave it at that. So I thought I’d do a review of the visits I’ve had, and remember why it’s been so much fun.
The reactions of other people might well top my list. Mostly, I get covert double-takes. Sometimes, they’re more overt. And very rarely, someone will get up the nerve to approach the crazy lady and ask a question. After watching me take a picture of a teddy bear outside the post office–there’s a large sign on the building that lists our town, and I take the bear’s pictures there before I mail them along–a lady had her husband stop the car so she could ask if I was visiting. Another time, a family watched me on the deck of the USS LEXINGTON for a bit before the mom cautiously approached to ask if I wanted to be in the picture too. I cheerfully declined the offer and explained…but I’m not sure they thought I was any less crazy for having a reason.
Speaking of Lady Lex…we’ve lived here in south Texas since August 2005, and I hadn’t been onboard her before this. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to visit, but Jeffrey’s been too young for most of our stay here to really appreciate the visit, and I didn’t want to go by myself. This visit, though, I wasn’t alone!
The bears have also helped me appreciate places I have been already even more. I take most of the bears to the Texas State Aquarium. Usually it’s just Lexie and I when I take the bears, because it can be hard to wrangle a preschooler, a stroller, and a couple of bears. And that gives me the opportunity to move at my pace, not a three-year-old’s, and see the things I’m interested in (in other words, things other than just the sharks and the dolphins). Other times, I take Jeffrey, because he just adores going to the aquarium, and it’s so much fun to watch him.
We even got to take one of the bears to another much loved family outing–a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game. The games are always a blast, but Jeffrey and I had got a lot of giggles out of finding places to pose the bear for a picture. He and our visiting bear even got to meet one of the team’s mascots.
One of the bears got to take a special trip with us. We were hosting Pippin when we traveled to Indiana for my niece’s first birthday, and while there we took a trip to Chicago. Pippin tagged along for the flight, the party, and the trip to the American Girl store for lunch.
The bears weren’t just fun when we were doing special things–they made the mundane more fun too. A bear escorted my son to his first day of preschool. Another one came to my daughter’s music class. They reminded us how pretty the Corpus Christi area is.
Several of them have visited my husband’s ship, USS AVENGER, much to the bemusement of his Sailors. They’ve done everything from stand watch in engineering and on the bridge, to train for damage control, to work with the Executive Officer, to sit in the Captain’s chair, to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Of course, we can’t forget knitting. After all, I got into these round robins through knitting, so it’s no wonder the bears were partial to yarn and needles. Some of them had quite discriminating tastes, and some were rather talented. My Sit n’ Knit group always enjoyed a visit, and got a kick out of coming up with new bear poses at our LYS.
It’s been harder than it should have been, or maybe we were a little too optimistic. I’m still hopeful it won’t end in total disappointment for a few people. But I have had a lot of fun doing this, and I’d like to thank the bears for being such great visitors and reintroducing me to my hometown.
And I’m looking forward to seeing Tex and Texie again soon!