"I love your teddy bear stories! They are so cute! Just keep on imagining, please. I so love the smile I get when I read what you write." Bonnie Shivley
Teddy O™ and the
Teddy O™, that rascally bear with the best of intentions but frequent lack of common sense, was helping Nancy, editor extraordinaire of GraciousJaneMarie, the newsletter. And whenever Teddy O™ assists, the watchword is always "caution." Actually, more often than not, the watchword is "extreme caution."
This day, Nancy and Mr. Whickers, long-tailed mouse family man and proprietor of MarthaBear.com, General Store and Online Emporium, were going over the accounts.
"May I congratulate you, sir, on a job well done? I see where you've saved the company money by comparison shopping for domain names. Good job."
"Thank you, ma'am. I must give Martha Bear®, Jane Marie and you credit as well, Nancy. I listen and take away money-saving tips every time I hear any of you speak of such things."
Feeling left out, Teddy O™ announced with pride, "I've finished sharpening the pens, Nancy. Got anymore?" He presented the mug that held the mangled tipped pens and added, "I'm really glad you haven't wasted money on one of those electric sharpeners. This manual antique is good for my bear bicep."
Cringing, Nancy looked over at the sharpener attached to the wall and saw ink beginning to drip out. She dashed into the bathroom, grabbed a roll of toilet tissue and some hair spray, and dashed back to the sharpener in time to sop up a majority of the mess.
"Teddy O™!" cried Mr. Whickers. "It's a pencil sharpener, not a pen sharpener."
Appearing surprised, the bear calmly replied, "Is that a fact? I wondered why anybody would need to sharpen pens myself, but when Nancy said, 'Sharpen some of those, please,' and pointed to this mug with both the pencils and pens in it, hey, who am I to question her?"
The next thing out of his mouth was a question, "What cha doing with that hair spray, Nance?"
Mr. Whickers volunteered an answer, "Everybody knows hair spray will often remove ink stains."
As Teddy O™ watched, a kneeling Nancy sprayed the wall then wiped at the blue stain. With each wipe, the stain grew lighter until the ink spot was nearly gone.
"I think that will have to do until I get a chance to repaint," she sighed.
"Hey, I'm a great painter!" stated Teddy O™. "I'll have it done for ya in a jiffy."
Scrambling to her feet, Nancy quickly said, "Oh, that can wait. Listen, Teddy. I've got a very important project for you to work on."
Curious and enjoying the importance of responsibility, the small bear asked, "What project is that?"
Nancy thought fast. "Ah. Ah, sorting this ream of white paper."
She found a fresh bundle, ripped open the outer wrapper and gave it to him. "What you need to do is make sure all the sheets are face up and the tops are at the top of the pile and the bottoms at the bottom."
Teddy O™ curled his lip and said, "Huh?" Since they all looked the same - like white blank paper on both sides - he was confused.
"Just be careful not to wrinkle or crease any of the sheets or they won't feed into the printer properly, and will jam it. It's a big job, Teddy, but you're the perfect bear to handle it."
Teddy O™ was a little embarrassed because he'd never heard hair spray removes ink. Since he didn't want to appear ignorant about the paper in front of Mr. Whickers or any of the canine staff that were resting nearby from a long morning of chasing dandelion fuzz outside, Teddy O™ took the paper and said, "Will do." He walked to the center of the room, sat down and carefully began to sort the individual sheets.
Nancy and Mr. Whickers continued their work, but every once in a while, they peeked at Teddy O™. The little scamp had taken to holding each piece of paper up to the light to examine the direction of the watermark.
"So far, they're all going the right way, Nancy."
"Good man," she commended. "I know I can count on you. And when you're done with that, I have three more reams that need to be checked. Thanks so much, Teddy."
Although the bear found his assignment a bit tedious, he refused to complain. While he worked, he thought of how best to reward Nancy for her kind ways. And then an idea came to him. But it would take careful planning.
A week of Mondays passed and what Teddy O™ had been waiting for finally arrived. "It's here! It's here, Nancy. Come and help me get it into the house. It's pretty heavy, even for me."
The hubbub stirred the dogs from a well-deserved slumber. They had just settled down after an exciting game of Roll-the-Hamster-Ball-with-Your-Nose while Elmo, the hamster, was inside. Now, their raucous barking disturbed a still dizzy Elmo, who had propped himself in the corner so as not to fall down from vertigo.
"What in the dang world is it?" called the hamster.
"Hold your horses, hampie," Teddy O™ told him. "Hey, why aren't you out coordinating a wedding some place? You're our company's wedding coordinator* after all."
*Editor's note - We are not currently acting as wedding coordinators. Please check locally.
Too excited to wait for an answer and not really caring in any case, the bear got back to what was important to him. "I bought this gift for Nancy. Move aside, dogs, and quit sniffin'. I don't want your wet smellers messing up her present."
"Teddy! You shouldn't have! I can't imagine what it is," exclaimed an excited Nancy."
Well, open the box, silly, and take a look."
Nancy carefully cut through the tape securing the box, peeled back the tissue paper and saw what looked to be a treasure chest of beads! Not just any beads, but beads from BeadRoom.com, her favorite online bead store. These were beautiful beads she could use to make her unique gemstone jewelry. It took a moment for her to recover her voice since the colors and styles of the beads were so breathtaking. Nancy asked the proud bear, "Did you win the lottery?"
Teddy O™ could tell how happy Nancy was, and he was pleased he had finally done something right. "No lottery. I got all those beads on sale."
"But Teddy," Nancy exclaimed as she ran her fingers through the glittering jewels, "this still had to cost you a fortune."
"Naw. It didn't cost me a penny. I used your credit card. The bill comes to you, and it's due in thirty days."
Nancy froze. All the color drained out of her face and she walked a little unsteadily to the closest chair. She plopped down on an old leather recliner, forgetting about the broken footrest with the over-sprung spring. As soon as her feet touched the moveable ottoman, the thing let go. Her shoes, legs and most of her body were propelled upward into a half-summersault. Nancy landed on the floor behind the chair, hitting her funny bone and catching her hair on a knob on her antique chest. Dazed, a wash of hysterical emotion overcame her until she was laughing so hard, she was crying. By this time, the dogs were licking her face, and the hamster and all members of the Whickers family were crawling over her back, shoulders, head and arms, feeling helpless as she jostled them with her chortles.
Teddy O™ stood back, observing. Forgetting that she'd just been attacked by a chair, Teddy O™ asked, "What in the world is so funny, Nancy. You need to calm down. Do you want me to slap your cheek like they do in the movies? I'd hate to, but if I must, I will."
After freeing her hair, Nancy slowly made it to her feet to lean against the wall with the slightly visible ink stain. She looked at the box of beads and then at Teddy O™. Her humor now under control, "I'm sure you all can find something to keep you busy. If you would be so kind, I would like a few moments alone with Teddy O™."
Mr. Whickers cleared his throat and began directing. "Dogs, why don't you finish your naps outside in the shade? Elmo, I believe Mother Whickers could use all our help gathering corn for supper in the abandoned field next door. Come along, everyone."
Nancy lifted Teddy O™ into her arms and carried him to the sofa. She sat down and placed the bear on her knee.
He just knew she was going to praise him for his good deed. He decided he must not be boastful. Martha Bear® never was, and everybody liked her.
She began, "Teddy, since you've come to live with us, you've brought much, much ..." She searched for the right words. "Much joy into our lives."
His smile grew wider, if that were possible, and Nancy thought she might even have seen the beginnings of a blush. But she had to continue. "And with that joy, you've brought adventure and surprise. All of what you've done has been out of love for us. I understand that. We all do. For that, we thank you."
"You're welcome, Nancy. Any time. Any time."
"Now, I don't want to hurt your feelings, Ted."
The features of the little bear's face dropped like a fallen soufflé. "Uh-oh. Here is comes. What did I do wrong?"
"First of all, you never go into someone's purse. You never get into her wallet. You never take out her credit card and, most important of all, you never charge anything, ANY THING on her credit card."
"Because a woman's purse is private, and what is inside belongs to her and her alone. It doesn’t belong to you. Now I understand your heart was in the right place. But it's not right that the dogs go without treats or you go without your favorite whatever it is you like to eat this week because I have to pay the credit card company for the big box of beads."
"I'm partial to Puff Pastry Pinwheels."
"Right. Back to the point. If we spend all the money on me, there won't be enough for the others."
"But BeadRoom.com was having a sale."
"Sales are wonderful, but they must be used judiciously. Meaning if you don't need something, and I don't need 500 pounds of beads, then it isn't a bargain. Do you see the lesson in all this?"
Teddy O™ thought about it hard for a second or two and answered, "Sure. Don't go into a woman's pocketbook and only buy you enough beads for a year, not a lifetime, because that's too many beads for you to handle."
Nancy rolled her eyes and decided to settle for the fact that the impish bear just might stay out of her purse in the future. She'd have to work on explaining how easy it was to pay for merchandise with a credit card, but there had to be money in the budget to cover the charges on that card, or finances could quickly become out of control. In the meanwhile Nancy said, "Come on, Teddy. Let's take a good look at what you bought and decide the best way to make our way back to a healthy budget."
As Teddy O™ and Nancy struggled with the big box, he somehow tripped and managed to tangle himself in the packing tape. As gently as possible, Nancy tried to free him of the sticky stuff.
"Ouch! That hurts! You're pulling my fur! Ouch!"
"If you'll quit wiggling and hold still, we'll be done in a second. You're just making it worse," Nancy tried to tell him, her patience being mightily tested.
The staff heard Teddy O™'s hollering and quickly came to assist, each quite certain Nancy would need his or her help.
When they'd gently pried the bear free, he jumped to the floor. "Thanks guys. Ya know, Nancy, I'm pooped. You're the bead expert here, so carry on. I need to rest a bit."
The very idea that Teddy O™ was so exhausted from doing battle with some used package tape that he might actually take a nap was a joy to Nancy's ears. "Not a problem," she said. "Why don't you go take a little snooze?" She hated to have to wash the laundry again, but enticed him with, "I just washed and dried some sheets and pillowcases. They're in the laundry basket waiting to be folded."
"Thanks, Nance. That will be perfect." Teddy O™ curled into a ball atop the clean linens. He quickly fell asleep with his hand in his pocket clutching the prettiest bead of all. He had sneaked it from the box and would save it for Nancy for Christmas. Instinctively he knew she would give him a lesson of some sort when he gave her the gift, because she liked to give lessons, especially to him. Well, he could stand it if she could.
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