Just for fun, here are a few pictures of my favorite stuffed animal from my childhood, including a couple of attempted self portraits (she’s not a very good photographer), and a couple that I was trying to take of myself that she just kept jumping into. She got a major time out for that one. She is 21 years old (legal! Whoop, whoop!) and her name is Snuggles D. Bear. She’s a little threadbare from going everywhere with me clear through junior high. That stylin’ sweater she is sporting is from Noah’s Ark in Estes Park, Colorado, which is actually an Ark, and is full of teddy bears and accessories. Some family friends bought it for Snuggles when we stayed with them one weekend while mom and dad were at a conference. She’s been a part of my life forever! As such, of course, she has some pretty cool experiences under her little teddy bear belt.
For instance, at the Denver Zoo, there is a cool underwater viewing area for the polar bear habitat, so you go down underneath the walkways and can watch the polar bears swim around and play. Once when I was a kid, my family took a trip to the zoo, and of course I brought Snuggles along. I thought she would enjoy the polar bears, since she’s related to them, and so we went to take a look. I stood up on the cement frame of the window and put Snuggles’s nose up against the glass. Well, wouldn’t you know it, a HUGE male polar bear saw her and got curious, and came over to look. He pressed his nose right on the other side of the glass from hers, and wouldn’t break contact. I moved her to the right, and he followed, treading water with his enormous, furry paws. I moved her around in circles, traced designs with her nose, ran from side to side, and he kept right up, with his nose on the glass the entire time. By this point a crowd had begun to gather. My parents decided it was time to move along, so they nudged me toward the ramp. I reluctantly pulled Snuggles away from the glass, and the polar bear… well, he was Not Pleased. At first, he didn’t move, but when I put Snuggles behind my back and began to walk away, he reared back, swimming 5 or 6 feet from the glass, and then flew towards me, slamming full-force into the pane with his black claws, mouth open wide in an underwater roar. Needless to say, I ran the rest of the way out.