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Martha Bear® Central - complete teddy bear story listings
'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the manor, the bearlings were whining and Martha used candor.
"Really, Jane Marie, I just don’t know what to do," the large white stuffed bear told the author who shared the house known to all as Stately Martha Manor. "I don’t like to admit it, but my three precious bearlings are about to drive me bonkers! Since I dressed up as Beary Claws and they took turns sitting on my knee to tell me what they wanted for Christmas, they’ve done nothing but plead, beg and pester me about getting them a baby kitty."
Having endured the repeated requests from the tiny bears herself, Jane Marie was ready to give in. "Well, maybe we should go ahead and get them a kitten."
Desperately wanting to spoil her babies, but realizing they shouldn't have everything they desired, Martha Bear® stood firm. "Now Jane Marie, don’t you go along with this. It’s not like we don’t already have two cats. Mr. Buzzbee and Spew may not be small - in fact they are quite large, but they still are of the feline species. The bearlings will have to settle for the toys they’ll get plus all the other presents our friends will bestow on them. They won't be wanting for anything."
Just about that time, the doorbell rang. "You keep your feet up, Jane Marie," Martha instructed. "You’ve made our home absolutely beautiful for the holidays, what with Hurricane Glass Snowmen, the Christmas Symbol Wreath and your Stovetop Scents that make the house smell wonderful. Plus you do so much more. You deserve a breather."
"Thanks, Martha. Decorating is always fun for me, but I would like to sit back and enjoy the way the house looks for a moment."
Airborne, Martha Bear’s grasshopper companion and advisor, stirred from his napping place on the slow whirling ceiling fan blade when the doorbell chimed. Stretching, he flew to Jane Marie’s shoulder. "Wonder who it is?"
"We’re about to find out."
As soon as the dark green front door opened into the Great Foyer, in dashed a most unexpected visitor all the way from Oklahoma! "Howdy doody, Little Cutie," Teddy O™ greeted Martha Bear® in his usual boisterous manner. "Surprise and happy holidays!"
Now, Teddy O™ is a most rascally bear, but since he lives and works with Jane Marie’s sister, Nancy, at the World Headquarters of greenlightWRITE.com in Oklahoma City, those living at Stately Martha Manor in Florida always do their best to be kind to the furry fellow.
"Hello, Teddy O™," Martha greeted him, peeking out the front door to see if any other relatives had come along.
Observing this he said. "It’s just me this time. Nancy and her crew are busy with their usual holiday preparations. I thought I’d hop a train to, well, to all the places between Oklahoma City and Jacksonville and Amelia Island - I know the conductress, you know. She always gives me a deal," and he winked at Martha, wondering if he were making her jealous. He loved to bring out the ole green-eyed monster in lady bears because, as he readily admitted to himself and to anyone who was ever in doubt, he was, indeed, a most handsome bear.
"Yes, Teddy," Martha Bear® replied and would have rolled her eyes - had she been crafted with eyes by Jane Marie in the first place. Seeing instead with her heart, which did a quick syncopated rhythm of disgust in lieu of an eye roll, Martha was reminded she didn’t care for braggarts. She wondered if Teddy O™ would ever stop blowing his own horn long enough to realize she preferred modest bear gentlemen.
"Hey there, Jane Marie," Teddy O™ waved. Acknowledging Airborne, "Bug Boy. Did you miss me?"
"Like a dose of sour milk," replied Airborne with an insincere smile.
The visitor smiled back just as insincerely, then ran and hopped up on the arm of the easy chair to grab Jane Marie around the neck.
"My, my!" said a surprised Jane Marie, hugging him back. "It’s good to see you too, Teddy. Tell me, how are my sister and nieces and everyone?"
"Mama! Mama! Mama!" the three bearlings called out as they burst into the manor, having been snoozing in a floral hatbox on the cherub bench in the Pine Tree Place in Martha's flower garden. "Is that Uncle Teddy O™ we hear?" asked Pickle, rubbing her eyes and sniffing her pretty red nose.
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"Sure is, guys. Come on over here and give your old uncle a kiss."
Curly-furred Poodle and loving little Pickle did as requested, but Art, the bearling who liked to draw on walls, said with a half grin, "Aw, come on. I don’t feel much like kissing any stinky uncles."
Recognizing Art seemed to be a smidge taller than the last time he’d seen him and, therefore, growing up, Teddy O™, put out his paw for a shake instead. "Tell me, cubs, what did you ask Beary Claws for Christmas this year?"
Claws and the bearlings
"I fought I want a kitty," replied an excited Poodle who was taking speech lessons along with Spew, the big cat, for they both had a bit of difficulty in the pronunciation of several words.
"You thought you want a kitty, Poodle? You’re not sure?" asked Teddy O™.
"I chure. Beary Claws not so chure. He tode me so."
Doing a quick about face, Teddy O™ asked Martha Bear® sternly, "Is that right?" There was accusation in Teddy’s tone.
Surprised Teddy would speak to her in such a fashion, but pleased he wanted her bearlings to be happy, Martha Bear® stuttered, "Well, ah, well, I mean … "
"Listen, Ted," Airborne challenged, having flown nose to nose with the light brown bear. "You may think you know what’s best, but Martha here has … "
Jane Marie jumped in, "Perhaps we should wait until Christmas morning. Beary Claws is always more than generous and gives us what he thinks best."
"I fought I want a kitty," repeated Poodle. And that’s how the rest of the week went.
While Teddy O™ was out and about doing some last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, he struggled to adhere to the wishes of the mother of the bearlings. If Martha Bear® thought it was a better thing for her little ones not to have a kitty, then perhaps it was.
Christmas morning finally came. The bearlings had their fur freshly brushed to make certain it was smooth and shiny for the photos that were always taken. Then they entered the parlor of Stately Martha Manor, whispering in unison, "Shh. Shh!" They listened as hard as their beary small bear ears would let them. Assembled family members watched, knowing full well the bearlings were straining for the one and only sound that would fulfill their shared Christmas wish. Hearing nothing, little beary chins began to quiver.
"Oh, Jane Marie, I was so wrong," whimpered Martha Bear® quietly. "In trying not to spoil my babies, I’ve denied them the one thing they all wanted. Why was I so stubborn?"
Jane Marie patted Martha’s paw, trying to make her feel better.
Just then, a scratching sound came from behind the decorated pine tree. Chins stilled as the bearlings scrambled over beautifully wrapped gifts to see what the strange noise was. There in the corner was a plain cardboard box with small holes cut in the top. A tiny paw was sticking out through one of the holes and wiggling, almost waving. The bearlings opened the box and lifted out a calico kitten, with a red bow loosely tied about its tail. "Meow," it said in sweet greeting.
"Meow, meow, meow," joyously replied the three bearlings. "Oh, mama," cried, Poodle. "Beary Claws gabe us our kitty."
Jane Marie and Martha Bear® looked in astonishment at one another. Although shocked, Martha quickly found her voice, "Now don’t be too rough with her."
"Is it a girl kitty?"
"Yes, Art," Mr. Buzzbee explained as he and Spew sniffed the newest addition. "All calico cats - that’s what they call the ones with orange, black and white fur - are girls."
"Oh!" said the fascinated bearlings.
"What should we call her, Uncle Teddy O™?" pondered Pickle.
That was the burning question in the days that followed. The family of critters and humans celebrated the holiday and ate themselves silly, while being entertained by the rolling, running, non-stop antics of the littlest addition to the family.
"Mama, why do Mr. Buzzbee and Spew hiss at the kitty? They seem so mean!" Art commented in amazement one morning, never having seen such negative behavior.
"As you know, we like all creatures to be friendly to one another here at the manor." Looking at Teddy O™ and then at Airborne for emphasis, she said, "It may seem like the big cats are being ugly, but that's just their way of teaching the baby the rules. For example, if they're resting and don't want to play at a particular moment, they hiss and she instinctively understands that means no. A few well expressed hisses are just how the senior members of the Feline Force communicate with the newcomer.
Satisfied with the explanation, Art replied, "We gotta give her a name, Mama."
"I wike 'Cuddles,'" offered Poodle.
"That’s dumb," declared Art. "How about 'Spot' because she has spots all over her fur?"
"That’s a dog’s name," Pickle told him.
"Mmm. What do you think of 'Kitty-Cat'?"
"That’s even dumber!"
"Mama! Mama!" all the bearlings called excitedly. "What should we call her?"
"How about 'Porkie'?" suggested, Teddy O™.
"Porkie?" asked Jane Marie. "Why Porkie?"
"Do I have to explain everything to you people?" Teddy O™ sighed in frustration. "It's a joke. When we introduce a kitty as Porkie, everybody will think how, with a name like that, she should be a piggy, but instead, she's a cat. Get it?"
"Hmm. Yes. I get it," replied Jane Marie, not wanting to hurt Teddy O's feelings, but thinking this was one of his least funny jokes ever. "Perhaps we should try and think of a few more names. Any more ideas?"
Martha Bear® focused. "Let me think. She certainly is cute as a button, isn’t she?"
"Button! Button! Button!" called the bearlings.
"Apparently, 'Button' it is!" pronounced Teddy O™.
click on the photo of Button and the bearlings to enlarge it
Always suspicious of Teddy O™ and his tactics, Airborne was the first to ask, "If I might be so bold, no one has yet to ask where you got this kitty?"
"That’s an interesting story, Bug Boy," and Teddy O™ proceeded to fill the family in on the details. "It all happened on Christmas Eve when I was doing my last minute shopping. Remember?"
"How can we ever forget," interjected a sarcastic Airborne. "You were out of the manor, and the place was peaceful."
Martha Bear® cast a warning look at Airborne. She wanted him to be nice.
Ignoring the hopper, Teddy O™ continued, "I was walking home when I heard something. At first it was a faint sound, but as I kept walking, it grew louder and louder still. I stopped to look up at the Peck Center where Jane Marie practices her handbells each week."
"We all know Jane Marie’s schedule, Teddy, but thank you for explaining in case anyone has forgotten," Martha Bear® said.
"You’re welcome. Anyway, that’s when I realized what I was hearing was the cry of a small kitten. It was trapped in the crawl space behind wire screening under the building. I asked it, How’d you get in there little baby? 'Meow, meow,' it cried back. 'Don’t worry,' said I. 'I’ll get you out.'
Then I got to thinking how saving the little thing would earn me lots of points toward my Thundering Teddies Good Deed Badge. That's when I raced inside and found the maintenance man. Together, we cut a hole in the wire. I crawled in and pulled out this tiny newborn kitten. She was wrapped in what looked to be nylon fishing net."
Gasps of horror came from everyone listening.
"I carefully freed the adorable calico whose eyes had just opened." Teddy went on, "I knew right away that finding her was meant to be, and that the decision to give the bearlings what they wanted was out of our paws." He picked up Button who was playing with a pink stuffed mouse, and he nuzzled her with his cool nose.
"Achoo," sneezed Airborne. "Achoo again!" he said.
"Bless you," everyone but Teddy said, who seemed engrossed with the kitty until he asked, "You aren’t catching a cold are you, Bug Boy?"
"Certainly not," returned Airborne. "That was only a tickle sneeze."
"Sneezes," Teddy O™ pointed out.
"Achoo!" Airborne, took a deep grasshopper breath and then sneezed three more times in a row.
"Mama," asked Pickle. "Why is he sneezing so much?"
"I don’t know. Are you sure you feel alright?"
"Hey, maybe he’s allergic to Button here."
"Is that possible?" Jane Marie wondered aloud. "He’s never had a problem with Mr. Buzzbee and Spew before."
"How should I know?" Teddy O™ told them. "But if he hasn’t been sneezing until we brought home this new animal, it would seem to me that … "
"That what?" asked Martha, hoping what Teddy O™ was about to say wasn’t what she feared to hear.
Amid the sneezing, Teddy O™ said, "It’s just that if Airborne is allergic to Button, someone needs to go." Again, gasps were heard throughout the manor as cries of protest followed.
"I want a kitty," cried Poodle.
Jane Marie gathered the crying bearling in her arms.
"Achoo! Achoo! Teddy O™ is right," spoke a sad but most honorable grasshopper. "I am an experienced bug of the world. I can look after myself whereas your new Button is just a baby and needs to be cared for. I shall leave the manor this very night. Please don’t try and stop me. Achoo!"
Saddened at the soon to be mighty loss of advice and loyalty which Airborne had always offered, the family hung their heads in despair as they watched him pack the new thimble backpack pack Martha Bear® had only just given him as a gift.
"Mama," called Art, a red colored pencil in his left paw and a can of something in his right. "I was in the guest room and was gonna draw Uncle Teddy O™ a picture on the inside of Jane Marie's painted flowerpot where he likes to sleep, and I found this. What is it?"
Martha Bear® should have waggled a retracted claw in his direction in her constant battle to reform his undesirable artistic actions, but was too fascinated to remember to do so. "Let me have a look, cub," she said. Art thrust the can out for her to read. Clear black letters spelled out: White Pepper.
The large bear turned on the smaller bear visitor, towering over him, hands on her large hips. "Would you please explain what you’re doing with a can of pepper? And white pepper at that?"
Teddy O™ snapped his claws, saying innocently, "Aw, shucks. Another good deed discovered."
"We would like an explanation. Now." said Martha Bear®.
"Achoo!" sneezed Airborne in agreement.
"You see, it’s like this. I ran into Hedda Mae Hopper, you know, Airborne’s main squeeze. For you bearlings, that's cool talk meaning Hedda Mae is Airborne’s girlfriend. Well, we got to chatting, and she was telling me how she’d like to settle down some day and how she’d been going with Bug Boy here for a long time. So I figured I if Airborne thought he was allergic, he’d move out of Stately Martha Manor. Maybe then he would ask Hedda Mae to marry him, so they could start their own bug barracks. I spread white pepper high up on the bookshelves and anywhere I’ve seen him roost. I figured the white pepper would just look like dust.
"Do you know I had to go all the way down to Wink E Bear’s Teddy Care’s Grocery to find the stuff? And I had a heck of a time quietly climbing up on the china cabinet to get close enough to the ceiling fan to sprinkle the stuff on the sleeping bug this morning. Don’t think it was easy. I had to hold my breath in case the stuff blew on me and I sneezed. My plan would have been foiled had I achooed and awakened him. What a hassle!"
The usual stunned silence fell among the adults as it did whenever Teddy O™ made explanation of his best intentions.
"Wow, Uncle Teddy O™!" exclaimed Art. "You always have such great stories. I want to be just like you."
After a long sigh, Martha Bear® whispered, "Oh, my." Then speaking aloud, "Airborne, why don't you go take a quick splash in the birdbath and get all the pepper off you. Teddy O™, please come with me."
"Sure, cutie. Where we going?"
"We need to have a little talk out on the veranda."
While a private discussion ensured between bears, Jane Marie thought how Teddy O™ might have his adventures in beardom, but she had her adventures in critterdom and that was just fine with her. She glanced down at the calico angel playing with the ribbon on her slipper and asked, "I wonder what the new year will bring, Button? Whatever it is, Button, Button, we've got the Button," and she scooped up the seemingly weightless kitten and held it close to her heart to hear it purring.
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