As a kid, I had a special little bear. And he was pink. Laugh, but don't judge. He, along with Blue and White, the name I assigned a soft toy dog, and a handful of others were my comforters mostly at night.
Here in Forest Hills at the north end of Greenwood County, just a rock's throw from a now-vacant Greenwood High School, at the urging of Peggy Hammett by way of a note in our mailboxes, a bear hunt was begun. Peggy thought back to the origin of the Teddy Bear, named for President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. Don't know the story? Here's one source that explains why the iconic soft toy became popular and gave so many kids comfort: nps.gov/thrb/learn/historyculture/storyofteddybear.htm.
And so it goes that most households put bears in windows, at their front doors and even outside on sheltered porches. The idea was that while we maintained physical distancing, we can walk in our neighborhood and distract the kids with a bear hunt.
My kids are not kids any longer. One has three children she and her husband are now keeping at home and coming up with all sorts of ways to teach at home — although they are on spring break. They have also had to come up with ways to explain the coronavirus, ways that the minds of 3-, 5- and 9-year-old minds can understand, but without instilling fear.
We participated in the bear hunt. The little fella in the photo sits at the front door, keeping watch and, we hope, providing comfort to kids walking by with their parents or grandparents. We have two others looking out from our kitchen and dining room windows.
Truth is, they provide us comfort too during these uncertain times. And I bet they do the same for our neighbors walking by with their children.
I had my pink teddy, along with the other toys, stored in a chest in the room where I stayed when visiting my grandparents' home on Eastern Shore of Virginia growing up. I figured one day my children would enjoy them and find them to be a source of comfort. But they were consumed when that house burned to the ground in June 1972.
Laugh if you want, but I admit I wish I still had that little pink bear today.