He's a very old bear, as bears go, and he's been around so long that we really do consider him a part of the family. He was born in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where black bears are a lot more common than they are in Memphis. He came to us as a gift from a quiltmaker whose work I was admiring. I ended up buying a quilt from her, of course, and the teddy bear came along with it. That was back in the early nineties, and he's been traveling with us ever since.
He's not easy to get along with, however. He has his own mind about things, and tends to wander away if we're not vigilant. He's so old now that he's getting skinny. The nice padding he was born with is pretty lumpy these days and his arms and legs are so floppy that they allow him to squeeze into unlikely hidey holes.
It'll come as no surprise to anyone who knows him that on more than one occasion he has gotten himself lost. But the story of how he managed to be left behind in a hotel, only to be rescued by an observant housekeeper, has always been a special part of his mystique. Now that story is coming to a Kindle device near you, and we'll be inviting you to share it with the little ones you know, as well as with all those parents who never managed to grow up enough to quit loving bears.