I was blissfully working on my next teddy bear when I looked up from my desk to see a few of the bears had wandered into my studio. I decided I would let them be as long as they behaved themselves. After moseying around for a little while and looking at the semi-new arrangement, they plopped themselves down in front of the dog’s pillow. It seemed like a good idea for me to keep one eye on them and one eye on what I was doing. Actually, using only one eye when you have sharp objects in your hands isn’t really a good idea. I have enough trouble avoiding serious injury when I am attentive and using both hands. But I digress – again.
Anyway, the dog had assumed his usual position in his favorite comfy spot – the far corner of his furry pillow and appeared to be napping contentedly. I say appeared because what he does is really an art form. From his position he can be aware of every single thing going on inside and outside the house and yet appear as if he is sound asleep and oblivious to it all. From my vantage point, all I could see were the backs of teddy bear heads, but I could hear their whispered conversation. It went like this:
George: Do you suppose he is really asleep?
Theo: I’m not sure. How could we find out?
Cindy: You could get a feather and tickle his nose.
Elaine: I’ve always wanted to ride him. You know, like a pony.
George: You can’t ride the dog.
(At this point, I must interject that I was feeling quite pleased that common sense had prevailed without my intervention. I was just a little premature in my thinking.)
Theo: George is right. You have to have a saddle.
Cindy: I think I saw a saddle somewhere but it might have been too small.
Elaine: What if we use a something that would be sort of like a blanket?
George: That might be a good substitute, but in any case, you’d have to put it on him while he’s asleep.
Elaine: Oh boy! Cindy can go with me to get a washcloth.
(You have to hand it to them. They were thinking. The dog is rather small and a towel would have covered him completely. And while I found their logic and planning rather amusing, I knew this idea just might end rather badly. I had to stop them before they learned the hard way. Experience has also taught me that I needed to provide them with an alternate form of entertainment to keep their minds off the one they had settled on.)
Me: Hey, y’all. (Yes, that’s my Southern coming out.) I have a box of mystery. Would you like to look through it?
George: A box of mystery? I don’t believe you.
Theo: What is a box of mystery?
Elaine: I know. I know. It’s a box with lots of vials and potions that you spray into the air.
Cindy: Well, then why don’t you just call it a Mist Box instead of a Box of Mist-ery.
Me: Uhm – let me clarify. The box has some stuff from when I was much, much younger and you could look through it. It’s got old photos and stuff. Here take a look.
I pulled out the box and they immediately all peered over its edge. I really wanted to say “Boo!” but someone has to maintain some decorum and I thought I’d go that route this time. It didn’t take long before they were pawing their way through old photos and such. Then in a bit, I heard this conversation:
Theo: Yes, it is.
George: I’m not so sure.
Elaine: Well, it does have her name at the top.
Cindy: If you ask me, it’s the spitting image of her when she gets up in the morning.
Theo: I think she’s right. Look at that hair and those eyes. Haven’t you seen that look when it’s very, very early and we go in and start asking for things like pancakes with syrup and chocolate chip cookies?
Then they all fall over into a fit of laughter. I couldn’t help but be curious. Who or what was it they found so highly amusing? I got up from my chair and quietly looked over their shoulders.
With just a little bit of sarcasm in my voice I said, “You guys are so amusing.”
That made them laugh even harder. Really now, it was just a self portrait I had done years and years ago.