12

The Adventure Bear Show (Part 2 of 2)

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So far – Joey and Mikey Bear were both trying to win a contest on The Adventure Bear Show. To win they had to write an essay about something nice they had done for someone. Somehow, both cubs had ended up at the same place to do the same job.

Joey was stunned and disappointed. Now what was he supposed to do? He didn’t have another idea. Mikey’s mom must have known about the Ursalines too. Mikey grinned from the sofa.

Joey turned to Mrs. Ursaline and said that he didn’t realize that she already had help. He didn’t want to bother her. She said not to worry; there were plenty of things to do. She was sure she could keep them both busy. So Joey sat on the sofa next to Mikey. Mikey’s grin faded. He knew Joey was a good writer and would be able to do a better job explaining their work.

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Mrs. Ursaline was right. There was a lot of work to do. They needed to clean out the garden and cover the plants with mulch. There was a lot of raking to be done. All of the tools had to be cleaned and put away. The back part of the den needed to be raked out and covered with leaves and moss for the winter sleeping.

This was going to be a lot of work. Joey hadn’t counted on anything this hard and wondered if he could back out. Then he remembered that if he did, Mikey would get to go with Adventure Bear. This had to be the best job anyone would have. Grrr.

They each grabbed a rake and started to furiously clear the leaves, trying to outdo each other in the amount they raked. After a while, Mrs. Ursaline came out to see how they were doing. She was not impressed. She called the boys over and told them that it wasn’t a race. They needed to be more careful and make sure they got all of the leaves up. They should work as a team.

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Joey and Mikey looked at each other guiltily. She was right. They had done a terrible job. They told her they would go over it again. They divided the yard, and each cub concentrated on getting all of the leaves. When it was done, it looked great.

They decided that they should rake out the den next. That way they could use the best leaves for the bedding. While they were in the den, they started talking to each other again. They decided that it was stupid to fight over Adventure Bear. He probably already had a favorite cub in the area. They decided to be friends again.

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They found some nice, soft moss for the ground and covered it with the best leaves they could find. None of the icky, smelly ones that had already started to rot. Those ones would be good for the garden. They went outside to get started on the garden.

When they got outside, they discovered that it was already starting to get dark. They told Mrs. Ursaline that they would be back the next day to finish. Mrs. Ursaline told them that they were doing a wonderful job, and she looked forward to seeing them again.

At dinner, Joey excitedly told them about his afternoon with Mikey at Mrs. Ursaline’s. He was happiest that he and Mikey were friends again. His mother smiled. She and Mikey’s mom had hoped that would be the result. Joey went to bed early, tired from all the work.

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The next day, they decided that the best way to clean out the garden was to cut back the plants, rake around them, and cover everything with leaves. It was a lot of work, and their paws were sweaty by the time they were done.

That just left the tools. The job was worse than what they expected. They had to wipe everything down, but then they had to cover the tools with grease to protect them from the cold and damp. It was almost impossible to get the sticky stuff off their paws.

Finally it was time for the Adventure Bear dinner. Mikey and Joey sat next to each other. They talked about how great it was to shake Adventure Bear’s paw and how big and strong he was. They promised to still be friends if one of them won the trip.

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Dinner was great, salmon and berries, but the cubs were all impatient to find out who had won. It seemed like forever until a bear stood up and said it was time for Adventure Bear to announce the winner.

Adventure Bear said it was always hard to choose a cub for his adventure; this time it was so hard that he had chosen two winners for the first time ever. He had chosen these two cubs because they had performed their tasks together and had helped each other as well as the bear needing the help. Both essays really demonstrated the Adventure Bear spirit.

Joey and Mikey looked at each other. He had to be talking about them! When Adventure Bear announced their names, they ran to the stage together. They stood on either side of Adventure Bear while he told everyone that they would be hiking up a local hill and looking for grubs and berries.

All of them joined together in a giant “bear” hug.

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5

Never Thought I’d Live to See the Day

It’s not like I have to look a long way to feel old. My kids have somehow morphed from being small, cute little people to fully grown, attractive people. I really don’t understand it. It’s not like I’ve gotten any older.

Even my husband has a smart phone. I have sat at dinner where he spends more time on his phone than the kids. Actually, he’s worse than the kids. My daughter uses the phone as a timer for some medications she has to take, and my son uses it to look up information we don’t know during discussions.

But my family is pretty traditional. You might have noticed that the paragraph above mentions both family dinners and discussions. We discuss politics, always a challenge (2 conservatives, 1 traditional liberal, and one populist). We also talk about religion, world events, literature, and history. I don’t discuss the dinners in public; it seems a little retro.

And (of course) the kids rarely swear in front of me. When I was young, someone told me that using too many “bad” words wasn’t sophisticated. It just showed a lack of vocabulary. I agreed, and over the years and have found various vegetables and animals effective substitutes for most things. Since it wasn’t a hot button for me, the kids respected my point of view. (I’ve come to find out that’s kind of weird too.)

There was also the issue of my mother swearing a fair amount. Who wanted to do it if their mother did?

But I have started a new job. You may remember that I am now working midnights. To stereotype, there are two groups of people there: Millennials and bitter people waiting to retire. Of course, there are a couple of people who fall outsides those groups, but they aren’t any fun to talk about.

Everyone is friendly and welcomed me into the group. I like them all. But I have never been with a group of Millennials who are relaxing with their peers. Some of them seem to be incapable of saying a complete sentence without using a word that used to be a vulgar term for sexual intercourse.

I went home and asked my Millennial son why some of his peers seemed to use the word as noun, verb, adjective, and (incorrectly) adverb. He joked and told me that if I hadn’t heard it used as a preposition, I had not heard everything. He then told me that people only used it when they were relaxing with their friends. Okay. I guess I’m flattered.

So I asked my Millennial daughter why. She said that people liked to use it because it was a “forbidden” word. She said that there were only two words that were now forbidden in “polite company.” (A term showing my age.) The other word is one that refers to female genitalia in a particularly vulgar way. Apparently that one is still more common on social media than general conversation.

I stock in an area that includes condoms and other personal items for a large chain store. I am totally in favor of condoms. Preventing pregnancy is good. Spreading disease is bad. And I’m sure that moving them out from behind the counter has been nothing but good.

However, I pity the poor teenager looking for something for his first experience. Gone are the days of choosing between three or four types of Trojans. I guess the variety in deodorant and toothpaste has come to personal protection.

There are three racks of choices, plus the selection on the shelf below and hanging on the display nearby. They pretty much all promise a more sensitive experience for him and a more sensual experience for her. You can now buy them in boxes of up to 40 which I hope are purchased by people in committed relationships. I guess the other option would be a guy with really high hopes.

The more surprising thing is that you can now buy items that go over the condom to give the female additional stimulation. I’m not sure, but I don’t think those things existed when I was young. At least they were not available on a rack in plain view of everyone, right next to the vibrators that could remove the male from the picture entirely. I wonder what the parents say when their child wanders down the aisle while they are looking at razors.

I kind of miss the days when s*** was still uncommon and the most embarrassing thing to explain to a child in a grocery store was the sanitary napkins.