by Caroline Grace
Just for fun… if you have a little person in your care, they might like to hear this true story of how I found my little teddy bear at age six.
The Very Worst, Very Best Christmas Ever
Once upon a long, long time ago, an almost-new little brown teddy bear started out on a great adventure with his little boy. It was a cold, rainy December day when the very worst thing and the very best thing happened to that almost-new little brown bear.
The day of the great adventure dawned dark and gloomy, but that didn’t matter to Little Boy. At first light his eyes bounced open wide. He squeezed the little brown bear and said, “Wake up, Bear! Today is the day I am going to visit Santa Claus.”
Before he could go on his great adventure Mama said Little Boy had to make his bed. And so he did. He crawled up on the bed to smooth the wrinkles away, but when he slid down to the floor, there were more wrinkles than before. But Little Boy didn’t mind.. He was going to see Santa.
After his bed was made, Mama said he had to eat his breakfast. And so he did. He chewed his bacon and toast as fast as he could until Mama made him slow down. But Little Boy didn’t mind. He was going to see Santa.
After he ate his breakfast, Mama told him to brush his teeth. And so he did. He left little drops of green toothpaste on the sink so he wiped them away with his washcloth before Mama saw them. But Little Boy didn’t mind. He was going to see Santa.
After he brushed his teeth, Mama told him to put on his coat and hat and scarf. And so he did. His scarf got tangled in the zipper of his jacket and he asked Mama to help. But Little Boy didn’t mind. He was going to see Santa.
Then Little Boy asked a question. “Mama, can I bring Bear?”
And Mama said yes. Little Boy and Bear didn’t know this was the beginning of the very worst thing.
In the car Little Boy hugged Bear tight. He had practiced being good all year and now he practiced what he would tell Santa when he sat on his lap. Little Boy whispered into Bear’s fuzzy, floppy brown ear all the things he wanted to say. Cold hard raindrops made a snapping sound as they hit the window, but Little Boy didn’t mind. He was going to see Santa.
Mama steered her blue car into the shopping center where Santa’s house sat in the corner where the sidewalks met. Little Boy looked around. Santa was having a very busy day, and Mama had to park far away. Mama and Little Boy and Bear stood together at the back of a very long line and they waited. And they waited. And they waited.
The rain kept raining and the wind kept blowing until all of them were rain-soaked and cold and tired. Little Boy started to cry, so Mama found a dry place for them to rest under a tent-like canopy outside a toy store. Mama set her bags and her purse down on the dry sidewalk under the canopy and Little Boy set Bear down in the store window sill. They all rested and waited until the rain stopped, then Mama picked up her bags and purse with one hand and took Little Boy’s hand with the other. And then the very worst thing happened; Little Boy was so excited to see Santa that he forgot to pick Bear up from the windowsill. Bear could only watch as Little Boy faded into the busy crowd.
Bear tried with all his might to throw himself off the window sill, but he couldn’t move even one inch. Bear tried to call out, but he couldn’t make even one sound. Mama and Little Boy were fading farther and farther away and Bear could only cry. Little tears fell from his plastic eyes, but he was already so wet no one could tell.
Bear waited and waited but Mama and Little Boy didn’t come. Bear was wet and cold when he had a sad thought: no one would ever call the almost-new little brown bear almost-new again. Because he wasn’t. Even if he dried out and warmed up, he feared he would never be the same. He was wet clean through to his stuffing.
The windowsill where Bear sat was close to the ground, and people on the sidewalk passed right by him without even a glance. He had never felt so alone. He hoped Little Boy and Mama would come back for him, but in his little bear heart he knew better. The rain had started up again and the wind blew cold against the windowsill where Bear sat.
Quite suddenly Bear found himself eye to eye with a little blonde, brown-eyed girl. She was tugging on the arm of the lady next to her. “Mamaw, look! A little teddy bear, and he’s all wet. Please, can I take him home and dry him off? He must be lost. If we don’t take him, what will happen to him?”
Mamaw hesitated and the little girl spoke quickly, “Please Mamaw…look how sad he is.”
“Well, honey, we don’t know where he’s been or what kind of germs he’s carrying.”
“But Mamaw, you can clean him up, can’t you?” The little girl clearly had absolute faith in her Mamaw. Bear missed his little boy but he was starting to like this little girl.
“I suppose I can.” Mamaw hesitated and the little girl grabbed Bear.
“So we can take him home with us?” the little girl asked.
If Mommy had been here she would have said, “We’ll leave him here in case his owner comes back for him.”
If Daddy had been here, he would have said, “We’re not taking that wet thing home!”
If Baby Brother had been here, he would have screamed and cried and no one would have listened to the little girl at all..
But Mommy and Daddy and Baby Brother weren’t here. Mamaw was here. And Mamaw said, “Yes, honey, we can take him home,” then turning to the bear she said, “Okay, let’s get you home and cleaned up, little fella.” Mamaw put her purchases together in one shopping bag, then swept Bear up and deposited him in the empty bag.
Bear heard the car door slam and felt the car moving, but it was dark in the bag where Mamaw had put him. Little Girl was asking if she could get him out and hold him, but Mamaw said, “Not yet.”
Then Little Girl said, “His name is Fuzzy, Mamaw. That’s because he was almost new and I can tell he was Fuzzy before he got wet,”
“That’s a good name, Honey.”
His little bear heart surged warm and he would have smiled if he could have. Fuzzy! His name was Fuzzy. He had never had a proper name before. Little Boy had just called him Bear.
When they reached Mamaw’s house, she wasted no time cleaning him up. Oh, the things she did to that little brown bear! Mamaw used sprays and powders and washcloths and towels and hair dryers until she finally pronounced him clean.
And it was then that the very best thing happened to Fuzzy. Little Girl picked him up and she never let him go. She slept with him and she dragged him from Mamaw’s house to her own house. She set him up on the bed every day so he could see when she came home from school. He met her other dollies and stuffed animals, and soon became fast friends with them. He had never been so loved in all his life.
He was so loved, in fact, that over time he lost his little red mouth. Little Girl took him to Mamaw’s and she made him a new one. And then he lost an eye. Little Girl took him to Mamaw’s and she made him a new one out of an old button. When his stuffing started coming out under one arm and then under the other, Little Girl took him to Mamaw’s and she re-stuffed him and patched his torn places with cloth the color of his fur.
Years passed as years always do, but Fuzzy and Little Girl remained the best of friends. Fuzzy began to lose his fur. And Little Girl grew up. But she still tucked the little bear into bed with her every night. Sometimes when she was sad she would hug the little bear tight and he would get wet with her tears, but he always knew just how to make her feel better.
In time, Little Grown-up Girl got married and had children of her own, but she never forgot the little brown bear. As a matter of fact, every Christmas, Little Grown-up Girl reads the story of the Very Worst, Very Best Christmas Ever to her own children.
And, to this very day, every morning when Little Grown-up Girl opens her bedroom closet, she looks up on the closet shelf and blows a kiss to Fuzzy, the old, raggedy, almost-new little brown bear and Fuzzy winks right back at her with his best button eye.