bop a bear


it was a tradition.

every christmas morning after all our gifts had been unwrapped, Trouble and i could choose one gift to bring on our long trek to the home of our best friends in the world.....

mom would always lovingly guide our selections - no! not that gift! choose something else. No. no. no.  not that gift either! can you not choose something that won't break?! those gifts cost good money you know! take something cheap! - before snuffing her cigarette out in the fruitcake.  (dad always snuffed his out in pop cans which were always mistakenly put back in the fridge door... making sneaking a swig of any kind of ice cold soda one very huge mistake)

anyway, once the commandant mom was convinced our choice of gift was finally correct and we were appropriately dressed, dad would bundle us up against the cold and we would all crawl into the car... 

and hoped that it started.

after all none of us wanted to make that 6:05am 500 ft trek between houses in blistering december snow - especially my dad. which i always found odd, because my dad was a man who would ice fish for weeks at a time clad only in his long underwear...

it should be noted that although Trouble and i were always fully awake by 6am and as early as 4:07am on Christmas day, Trouble's sister and John quite often had to be dragged from their slumber kicking and screaming on christmas morning because on a normal days they were never fully awake or dressed until after 6pm. 

when we got to their house we were greeted by that oh so familiar smell of coffee mixed with cigarette smoke. once in the door, to my own mother's dismay, John's mom would pour me my own full cup of coffee. always strong. always black.  no doubt thinking i would eventually dislike it enough to stop drinking it. (to this day i am still triumphantly proving her wrong!)  Trouble got cookies and milk and we passed the hours away at the kitchen table waiting for John and Trouble's sister to finally rub the sleep out of their eyes, cast their wrapping paper blankets aside, and be ready to play...

*yawn*

but this year while we were sitting there listening as our mom and John's mom chattered on about some new Fashion Two-Twenty make up kit that Santa said he couldn't afford, dad and 'big' John busied themselves testing this years most interesting toy;

wait! what is that!?!

oh my gosh!  its a motorized bear!! 

a motorized bear that not only raced around the floor but came with a dart gun!

you could actually shoot this bear! 

and! if you shot this bear just right it would growl and howl and change direction! 

 
wow!











for the first time ever i actually didn't finish my coffee!

Trouble and i raced into the living room where dad and 'big' John were having a grand time trying to shoot the bear and make it growl. 

Trouble's sister roused from her slumber under the tree just as the bear was hit for the first time.
it growled and turned and shot toward her...

and when it did she quickly pulled herself into a tiny ball and rolled into the corner behind the christmas tree trying desperately to disappear under paper and presents. 

Trouble howled with delight and chased after the bear...

until it again was hit and turned to charge him.  Trouble then screamed like a little girl, lept over the bear hit the floor and snapped up a big box and took cover under it with his sister...

this amused me to the maximum…

and the more i laughed the more Trouble and his sister screamed.

which in turn made dad and 'big' John even more enthusiastic about hitting the bear and making it chase whomever they could.

and damn if the bear didn't zero in on me...

i made a mad dash and lept onto the sofa laughing, which woke my best friend in the world, John. 

poor John, he hardly had a chance to figure out who he was, let alone where he was before the bear roared loudly and headed toward him.

his hair stood on end long before he did.  after which he quickly climbed onto the back of the sofa screaming louder than any boy should have been able to scream. 

i laughed even harder. 

and the bear rammed the sofa and roared again.

John tried hiding behind the curtain - or maybe he was attempting to climb the wall... i really couldn't tell which...

Trouble and his sister peeked out from behind the box and one of them threw a new ball at the creature hitting it square in the gut...

it roared even louder, bared it's huge teeth, and promptly turned to race toward them...

i howled with laughter...

Trouble's sister wet herself...

and 'big' John and my dad were beside themselves knowing they could hit the bear with anything at all and make it move.

soon wadded christmas paper started flying and every body joined in the fun.

all of us taunting the growling bear...

except John...

whom i finally noticed was still standing on the back of the sofa against the wall peeking out from behind the window curtain with huge tears streaming down his face...

and the fun for me suddenly ceased.

i pulled myself up onto the back of the sofa and took his hand and tried very hard to transfer all the courage i could muster from me to him...

and it must have worked,

because he suddenly let go of my hand, threw back the curtain and bounced from the sofa onto the floor.
and there in his pajamas with his hands on his hips, his invisible cape unfurling, he stood firm in front of a growling bear, two dads, two commandants moms and god.

and with a voice that was loud and strong he said;

"I HATE THAT BEAR AND I WANT YOU TO GET RID OF THAT @#$  $%!*  #$%*ING THING RIGHT NOW!"

the bear halted in its tracks and tipped over dead. 
his moms cigarette fell out of her mouth onto the floor. 
my mom hid Trouble and his sister behind her back. 
'big' John quietly handed the gun to my dad, picked the dead bear up (along with his wife's cigarette) and took them both outside. 

we never saw that bear again.  not ever.  not even in the trash. 

and all the christmas' that followed were never the same for me...

things stuffed with pillow fluff could never measure up to that bear...

nothing ever would.

nothing ever will...

....i think about that bear every christmas and know that some where some how, even now, my dad and 'big' John are still taking turns shooting that roaring beast and having a grand time doing it....


Merry Christmas!!



5 comments:

  1. back on form i see
    nicely told...

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  2. why thank you Guitarman!

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  3. Wow. Why was he so scared of it?

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  4. Joshua , i have no idea.

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  5. Well dammit, this one slipped past me. What an awesome tale! But yeah, it's always fun 'til someone's crying. And damn, but this sounded fun! I hope the bear is still roaring somewhere.

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