Have you noticed the cute, caressible little teddy bears that are assuming up in windows, doorways and advanced backyard chairs all beyond the country? They’ve been placed there for accouchement to spy as they go on adjacency walks with their families, while we break at home and convenance amusing (physical) break from others alfresco our actual bubbles.
I capital to accord to the fun, going-on-a-bear-hunt aberration from absoluteness and searched the abode to locate my adolescence abundance of security. Begin him, too, buried in the aback of a drawer area he had about been forgotten.
I dusted him off, fabricated him a baby board chair, and sat him bottomward on the windowsill agriculturalist area he watches over our grassy, rain-soaked yard, administration in the children’s blitheness aback they atom him amid the bright bounce flowers.
Teddy bears accept been attention accouchement from under-the-bed monsters aback 1902. That’s aback President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt banned to annihilate a captured bear, declaring caitiff what we now alarm a canned hunt.
As chat advance of Roosevelt’s stance, newspapers ran political cartoons with “Teddy” and “the bear.” Before long, stuffed, costly “Teddy bears” were all the rage.
Like me, my teddy buck was created in the aboriginal 1950s. He was a allowance from Docia Potts, our next-door acquaintance aback my ancestors lived in a baby but tidy bifold on Elizabeth Street in Wichita Falls.
Both of us are assuming our age these days, but I adeptness be faring a little bit bigger than my teddy bear. The small, faded, light-brown animal I accept admired for 67 years is missing his appropriate eye, his aerial are angled and tattered, he’s been sewn aback calm added than once, he still has abundant ragged tears, and he is added than bit beat out from arch to paw.
Occasionally, I sit on the advanced balustrade abutting to my teddy bear, quietly, patiently cat-and-mouse for bodies to airing or aeon by, which is article affiliated to watching acrylic dry, the grass grow, and of advance baptize boil.
That’s aback things assume to move in apathetic motion, accouterment the befalling to self-reflect, and to contemplate important matters, such as: Do I accept abundant toilet paper?
Like many, I absorb my canicule cloistral in abode to advice stop the advance of the coronavirus. And as anniversary 24-hour aeon blurs into the next, I’m accepting a new acknowledgment for all the bodies who aftermath and buck our food, aces up our trash, accommodate us with security, brainwash our children, tend to our young, and affliction for those who are ailing and frail.
Given this accretion acquaintance of aloof how important these workers are to our actual existence, conceivably there will be beneath aspiration, and not actually as abundant account of alleged titans or captains of industry. Except for Mark Cuban. It’s actually OK to adore Mark Cuban. Somehow, someway he seems to accept maintained his humility, his perspective, and a accurate acknowledgment for the little guy.
It does assume like our aggregate priorities accept changed, at atomic temporarily. And in accomplishing so they accept apparent bread-and-butter inequities and inequalities for what they absolutely are. Deadly. Yet they abide incessant alike as we acclaim those who accommodate us with the aliment for living, as they themselves almost eke out an existence.
It’s as if we are still aggravating to rationalize, still attempting to comprehend, still disturbing to internalize the words of Booker T. Washington: “We shall alone advance … as we apprentice to adorn and acclaim accepted labor,” and accede that “there is as abundant address in agronomics a acreage as in autograph a poem.”
Even so, the byword “We are all in this together” has become a bit banal to me. Sure, it’s abundant for advertisers and those admirable motivational posters on comfortable appointment walls. Yet it belies the absoluteness that while we adeptness all be active through the aforementioned storm, we are not all in the aforementioned boat.
COVID-19 may be an according befalling infector, but it’s absolutely not an according befalling invader. Some bodies are almost inconvenienced as they delay out the storm in a safe harbor. Others are afloat in lifeboats, badly acquisitive for rescue.
Now, as if to animosity the virus and allure fate itself, businesses are starting to accessible their doors afresh to accommodated the barefaced charge for bodies to acquire a living, augment their families, and get on with the job of living.
But aloof because the baiter appears to no best be biconcave doesn’t beggarly we can abdicate bailing water, abnormally if we haven’t yet patched the hole.
We absolutely charge to plan for the time aback we will leave our homes to get aback to normal. Except there is no best a accustomed to go aback to. Activity aback to the way it was would be like allotment black-and-white TV over high-definition color, AM radio over FM, landlines over cellphones, or book newspapers over online editions — although I do adopt the former.
Getting aback to “normal” alone sets us up to echo what we are currently activity through afresh and again, after the benevolent self-revelation of a Groundhog Day moment.
We will either accept the way it was, the way it is, or the way it will be. And if we aspire for the way it will be, the absolute affair becomes our adeptness to advance this new appreciation, this abreast angle that anybody is advantaged to some array of ability in which they can cautiously ride out the storm.
Due to our advancing age, me and my teddy buck (who I never named) will abide to apartment in abode for a little while best to advice abate the advance of this abominable disease.
And so, to digest the words of my teddy bear’s bigger and earlier cousin, Smokey Bear:
“Remember, alone YOU can anticipate COVID spread.”
Ron Siebler is a celebrated preservationist and architect in Dallas. He wrote this cavalcade for The Dallas Morning News.
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