A Teddy’s Tale

We were coming back from the Grove,  going into our driveway a couple of days before New Year, when Em and Fry noticed a teddy bear lying outside the neighbour’s house.

These are the neighbours opposite us.

They have three children that used to be excessively noisy.

Now, all kids are noisy, but these kids were somehow bothersome noisy if you know what I mean. Yelling and screaming, fighting, blaming each other and a lot of hysterical crying that indicated somebody had not gotten their way, more than pain.

It used to go on all day—at that stage, none of the kids were in school yet. It got so tiresome that often we could not sit on our swinging bench in the front garden because it was so darn unpleasant.

Worse, we’d hear the parents fighting too. Yelling and shouting at each other.

The kids have grown up in the last five years and are no longer so raucous,  but the parents can still be heard, bickering and yelling, across the street.

Perhaps a lesson to us all that our voices carry and neighbours are privy to our private business.

Back to the teddy.

“Shall I toss it over their fence?” Fry queried, thinking maybe one of the kids had forgotten it outside and would be very sad if it went walkabout.

Em nixed that, reckoning it looked like it had been deliberately chucked outside.

I expected it would be retrieved soon and thought nothing more of it. But the next morning, the poor bear was still lying on the grass when Em and I set off for our walk.

“Maybe it was one of those cases where one of the parents said… if you do that again, I’m chucking your bear outside—or something?” I muttered.

Em just shrugged, “More like they got a new bear for Christmas and didn’t need the old broken one. Or they out-grew it.”

That made me even sadder. I always used to keep my kid’s toys and pass them on to somebody else to enjoy—in good condition. Parents should instill stuff like that in their children, not let them chuck out the old so wantonly. How are they supposed to grow into nice adults?

Later that morning, Chris and I were going back to The Grove so that Em could help Leila sniff out some bargains at the Cotton On 50% off sale.

Em is an excellent shopper.

She should be a personal-shopper-type person that helps people look fabulous. She riffles through rails and flings apparel at you, saying try those on! Then stares you down until you slink off to the changing room and put on the revolting garment that actually looks freaking amazing and, better still, costs next to nothing.

It’s a talent, I tell you.

Anyway, once again, I digress. The poor teddy bear was still sprawled on the grass just off the driveway. It looked so forlorn and sad that my heart squeezed.

I mean, there was a big squishy brown bear that one of the kids had cuddled and loved, presumably, abandoned to the elements.

It had been a stormy night.

“Hold on,” I said to Chris, “I just want to move that bear.”

My husband rolled his eyes, “Leave the bear alone. It’s not yours.”

Just then, Em hopped into the car, took one look at Rollo, who was going along for the drive and declared that her son was not roadworthy.

The poor kid looked a tad stricken. He’d just been to the mall just the day before, and clearly, the thought of going anywhere was making him almost toss his porridge. He’s a big puker in cars, and it’s something we try to avoid at all costs.

“I’ll stay,” I declared, unbuckling my wee grandson and hauling him out of the car seat. He whimpered with relief. He’s actually extremely good at the mall. Sits quietly in the trolley and checks stuff out. Snacks on Chicken Flings when things get a bit much for him. Gets entertained by his GG, whizzing him around between the aisles…but we don’t subject him to it very often.

Two days in a row was testing his three-year-old-ASD-patience.

As Chris opened the gate, Em leaped out of the car, dashed across the road and propped the bear up against their fence.

So he didn’t look so abandoned and sad.

“He’s broken. That’s why they threw him out,” my daughter said, hopping back into the car.

Mr. Bear spent the day against the fence, despite his ex-family being at home.

On New Year’s Day, when we hit the street early for our usual walk, we saw that Mr. Bear was gone.

I breathed a sigh of relief, but it was short-lived. He’d merely been moved from their driveway and was now sitting limply against a tree instead.

Not their tree, I might add, their neighbours’ tree.

I was miffed.

It was a good few days from Friday to Tuesday, trash day. So why didn’t they keep it in the house until then? Or at least put him in a black bag, so he didn’t get all muddy and yuk. He might have been a tad bent and broken—missing an eye, mouth, a few rips and a bit of stuffing—but he would make a delightful friend for somebody who was bearless.

On our way back from our walk, we decided to give Mr. Bear a better view.

Em propped him on a low-hanging branch so that he was lying back, relaxing.

We scampered (if possible with a dog and a pushchair) across the road like naughty children.

Monday rolled around, and Mr. Bear was still parked off in the tree.

When we returned from our walk, the neighbour was mowing his lawn. I fully expected that he’d toss the furry creature out. After all, it wasn’t his teddy bear, but to his credit, he didn’t.

Mr. Bear spent a second day peacefully surveying the world from his higher vantage point.

Today is Tuesday—rubbish day.

Loadshedding hit at eight am, and we set off for our walk soon after. I clean forgot to check out the bear. It was one of the gorgeous glad-to-be-alive summer days. Crisp and sunny but not too hot.

Folly was behaving like a hooligan, yanking me all over the road, and it was all I could do to hang onto her. No time for sightseeing.

We ducked and dived around the rubbish bins, greeting all the usual trash collectors as we made our way around the neighbourhood.

 “Hey—look!” Em suddenly yelped as we passed the corner of the road where the dudes, who collect stuff from the bins, usually sit and sort.

I looked.

Mr. Bear was lying on their trolley in style.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief.

He was on his way to a new home.


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