One afternoon, a package was found on the doorstep of Stately Martha Manor. Wink E Bear, bear of good character, proprietor of Teddy Cares Grocery and sometime suitor to Martha Bear®, discovered it while calling on Martha one sunny morning.
When Martha Bear® opened the front door of the Manor at the direction of Bird, Director of Security for GraciousJaneMarie.com, she was feeling particularly saucy. To that end, she'd chosen to wear a jungle print shirt, which tied around her full middle, leaving her ample hips amply displayed.
It was all Wink E could do to remain a gentleman and not whistle in Martha's direction. Instead, he gave her his usual wink, hence his name, and said "Good day to you, Martha."
Martha Bear® replied with the very first thing she thought of, "For me?"
Wink E gathered his thoughts, glanced down at the package in his paws and said, "Sorry to say, but it's not from me." He looked at the sloppy script scrawled across the top of the box and with a mini, yet still detectable snarl, informed her, "It's from Teddy O™."
"Whatever could it be?"
Eyeing the thing suspiciously, Wink E warned, "You know what a rascally bear Teddy O™ can be. Perhaps it would be best if you stand back and let me open it."
"Don't be silly. Teddy O™ is a character, but he'd never do anything to harm me or anyone else on purpose."
Under his breath Wink E whispered, "Give him time."
Quickly, Martha Bear® tore open the box to reveal a small machine. "Whatever is it?"
"Beats me," said Wink E
"Beats me, too," said Airborne, Martha Bear's grasshopper companion and advisor who'd joined them. His intention had been to take a brief bug nap on a newly discovered slumber place on the gilded picture frame in the dining room. However, his curiosity had taken control and forced his attentions to Wink E and the contents of the package.
Staring at the plastic machine with a couple of wheels, lots of pegs and a crank handle, Martha Bear® was mesmerized by the thing. "Let's look through the box for directions," she said.
Finding none, Martha said, "Perhaps I should call Teddy O™ and ask him." As she was walking toward the phone, it rang.
"Stately Martha Manor, Martha Bear® speaking."
"Hey there, Chickie."
Covering the receiver with one paw, she whispered to Wink E, "It's Teddy O™!"
Wink E nodded his head, turned his back and rolled his eyes at Martha's excited demeanor.
"Aha, aha? Aha. Mmm. Yes, thank you. I'll let you know. Thanks again."
As she hung up, Wink E asked, "What did he say?"
Martha Bear shook her head and laughed. "You know how crazy he is. He said he got this as a gift. He couldn't figure it out so he sent it to me because he'd missed giving me a present on my last birthday."
"Holy moley! A used gift. It's not like he sent you an antique or something. What a cheapskate! So what is it?"
Martha Bear® didn't verbally concur, but she had to agree with Wink E's assessment, since nothing much surprised her about that impish Teddy O™. "It's a knitting machine. What else?"
"A knitting machine. Without directions, how will you know what to do?"
"I'll ask Jane Marie. She'll figure it out."
And so bear, bear and bug knocked on the door of Story Central, machine in hand, and interrupted the author who never seemed to mind.
"Sorry to break you train of thought, Jane Marie," apologized Martha Bear®, "but we need your help. Besides, if that particular train you're thinking about pulls out of the station, you know another will be arriving shortly with a fresh new idea for you to write about."
Jane Marie smiled, stretched and hugged her Martha. "OK. What are we doing?"
After hearing all the details, Jane Marie fetched her basket of yarn balls, which Airborne noted might make a wonderful place for his next nap. The group sat in the center of the parlor floor, stuffed a piece of yellow yarn into the knitting machine and wiggled some thing-a-ma-jig this way and waggled a lolly-loonie that way. Then they flapped the wirey-dealie inside and upside, trying all the possibilities they could think of.
"Well, lookie there! We've got it," exclaimed Jane Marie.
"Yes, but what have we got?" asked Wink E. "What is it you've made?"
"Well," she hesitated. "I'm not certain myself. Perhaps if we keep turning this cranky thing, whatever it is will grow, giving us time to figure it out."
All but Airborne, since his tiny hands couldn't grab hold, took turns pushing and pulling the crank round and round as they watched the machine produce a long length of knitted cylinder. "It might be a scarf," suggested Martha Bear, "but it's too narrow."
"Maybe, if we make two, they will fit over the handles of a wheelbarrow," commented Wink E
"But it's a handmade item," protested Airborne. "It will get dirty in the yard."
"That's true," agreed Wink E
Martha Bear® stood up suddenly. "Where are the cats?" She called out, "Spew? Mr. Buzzbee? Come here, boys. I've got something for you."
Those sitting in the parlor looked puzzled.
Two yawning cats emerged from down the hallway. "I was resting on your bed, Jane Marie," Mr. Buzzbee said. He wanted to add, so this better be good, but didn’t. "And don't worry, I was on the cat towel."
"Good man. I do so appreciate not having to comb my bed before going to sleep each night."
"And I was holding down my tide (side) of the cat towel, too, Jane Marie."
"Thank you, Spew," she told the cross-eyed kitty.
"Just look what we've all made for you," said Martha Bear.
Ever honest, Mr. Buzzbee replied, "All I see is a tube made of yarn."
"Good eye, there, Mr. Buzz. But not just any tube of yarn," Jane Marie explained. "Martha Bear® has a brilliant concept. What is that concept, Martha?"
"Spew, if you would be so kind as to come closer and turn around with your back toward me," instructed the large white ursine*.
"Sure ting (thing)." The agreeable cat complied, peeking over his shoulder to see just what Martha was up to. Although he trusted her implicitly, he remained curious, especially since whatever she was going to do, she was going to do to him.
Slipping the tube over his furry tail Martha Bear® explained, "There you go, a kitty tail cover!"
Everyone was speechless as they thought how creative the bear was.
"It might be a little warm right now, but when there's a nip in the air, you'll be all set. If dogs can wear coats on cold days, why can't cats wear tail covers?"
"No reason. No reason a-tall (at all)!" agreed Spew as he began to strut proudly around the room. "Is this the fir (first) one you've made?"
"Why, yes it is," Martha Bear® confirmed.
"Wow! I feel honormed (honored)."
"And right you should," interjected Mr. Buzzbee. "May I be so bold as to ask when mine will be ready?"
"Pick a color of yarn," Martha Bear® told him, "and give us a few minutes. As long as our arms hold out to crank, we'll keep making them."
"You mean we can have one for every day in the week, if we want?" hoped Mr. B.
"Sure," said Jane Marie, adding, "Of course, you might want to consider those cats less fortunate and share your tail covers with them."
Mr. Buzzbee stood corrected. "You're right about sharing. It was just that I was so mesmerized by the wonders of such an unusual gift, I forget myself momentarily."
"And you're right about the unusual part," winked Wink E with an insincere smile. He decided it would be best to leave and go back to work, realizing Martha might find the new knitting machine more appealing than his never spoken offer of a bike ride, which after all involves exercise – something Martha Bear® had never been especially fond of.
As Wink E departed from Stately Martha Manor and it's delightfully rotund Martha, he concentrated on how best to capture the attentions of the lovely bear for more than a few minutes here and there.
Since her favorite thing in the world to do was eat, perhaps they might share a meal of Honeyed Crispids. How could he go wrong with that?
The answer was that he could go very wrong. Despite the fact that the name sounded delicious, Wink E Bear hadn't any idea where to buy the crispids or how to make them either. He'd made them up! Besides, Wink E remembered he didn't know how to cook - at all! Being a bear who owned a grocery store, he never felt the need up until now. So long as he had the help of a can opener, he had been set.
With great determination, Wink E decided then and there he would try his hand at the culinary arts. Since he'd created the name "Honeyed Crispids," he could just as easily create their taste. And so the small bear known for his wink, strolled away, imagining the sugary delight he hoped he might come up with in his next to new, hardly ever used kitchen. Hmm. He wondered if he had any mixing bowls.
To Be Continued when and if Wink E Bear creates a yummy recipe!
*Ursine = Bear.
Martha Bear® likes to think of herself as an ursine because she uses Bear as her last name.
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