Where is Bear?

black bear

photo courtesy of Ridgewood Police Dept.

We heard on the news this morning that a baby black bear was on the prowl in Ridgewood–a neighboring town. He was tranquilized and captured today. I’m glad they didn’t hurt him.

Another group of animals were on the loose at my mom’s residence last week. When I spoke to her on Thursday, she said that all three of her stuffed animals had gone missing. I spoke to the night nurse Dottie who scoured her room to no avail. I called Friday morning and spoke to Nell, the morning nurse. Still no luck. Both Dottie and Nell assumed the animals went into the wash.

Nell said, “The aide said the cat was stinky.”

“Yes, it was,” I said.

I agree, Mouse was quite rank, but the others were perfectly hygienic.

The missing animals were: Mouse (a cat), Snoopy (Snoopy) and a teddy bear she calls “Bear.” Fortunately I had purchased 3 additional “Mouses” in case of such an occurrence. Mouse 1 went missing at her first nursing home, never to turn up again. Mouse 2 is the one currently at large. Friday was a busy day: Lorin’s mom was flying in for his dad’s memorial service on Saturday, and we had other errands to attend to. Still, I was determined to bring Mom a new Mouse so that she would not spend the weekend fretting and fussing.

Mouse

Mouse 1 (photo by E. Herd)

Enter Mouse 3.

When Mom  saw her, she said, “She’s so clean!”

Mom held her in her lap while we drank coffee and ate cookies.

Several minutes later, her aide Angela and Nell stood in the doorway holding “old” Mouse and Snoopy. Angela looked giddy.

I said, “Look mom, it’s Snoopy.”

Mom turned around in her wheelchair and smiled. I thanked Angela and Nell and handed Snoopy to Mom, placing Mouse 2 on her bed so as not to cause greater confusion.

“I missed him so much,” she said, looking at Snoopy. She kept Mouse 3 and Snoopy on her lap for the rest of our visit.

After a while she said, “I wonder where Bear is.”

“I don’t know. Maybe he needed a vacation.” Mom laughed.

Now that there was some semblance of order, it seemed fitting that we continue watching ER–we’re on episode 11 or 12 of season 2.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, two of her favorite characters are Dr. Mark Greene and Dr. John Carter. I asked Mom if she could remember the last name of the character named Mark.

She scrunched up her face, “Mark . . . ”

“It begins with the letter ‘G’.”

I pointed to my green shirt and said, “What color is this?”

No response.

Then I pointed to the leaves of her plant. “What color are these?”

She stared at me. I’m not sure if the question didn’t register, the word “color” or something else. I finally told her the name. Greene.

Then she blurted, “Noel Wyle.”

“Yes, Noah Wyle. That’s the actor who plays John Carter. Let’s write it down.”

I took the index card spiral notebook out of her drawer–the one she used to use for grocery lists, phone numbers, doctors’ appointments and other information. I wrote in block letters, ” JOHN CARTER = NOAH WYLE.” On the next line, I wrote, “MARK GREENE.”

We repeated the names together, “Noah Wyle, John Carter, Mark Greene.”

“I wonder where Bear went,” Mom said.

“I’m sure he’ll be back soon. We’ll keep looking for him.”

*Pseudonyms have been used for staff members at the nursing home.

For the Rain It Raineth Every Day

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
            William Shakespeare

When I was in college, I sang with a madrigal group, madrigals being secular vocal music compositions from the Renaissance and early Baroque periods. Our repertoire included John Dowland’s “Flow My Tears,” songs by Orlando di Lasso and Thomas Morley’s “April Is in My Mistress’ Face” and “It Was a Lover and His Lass.” “When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy” from Twelfth Night came to mind today—perhaps it’s this never-ending rain.

My relationship with rain is somewhat complex. I find it cleansing, restorative, healing. I enjoy a brisk walk in the rainy woods with autumn leaves shushing underfoot. But I don’t like to get wet and not be able to dry off–got pneumonia like that in high school.

When I was a kid, my mom, brother and I would visit relatives in Wisconsin during the summer. One of my favorite things was jumping through sprinklers in my bathing suit on a hot summer day with the neighborhood kids. When it rained we’d run from one neighbor’s lawn to another, still jumping through. A simple joy.

As I’ve grown older, my relationship with rain has deepened. In 2011 our house got flooded by Hurricane Irene. We don’t live in the flood zone, but we got hit anyway.

man in canoe

Rochelle Park, NJ, August 2011 (photo-E. Herd)

For a while after that, heavy rains would induce panic in me, fears of more flooding. Sometimes I thought the windows would smash in from the gale force winds. In more fantastical reveries, Tinkerbell would swoop into the bedroom, sprinkle fairy dust on me, Lorin and the cats, and we would fly away with Peter Pan.

flying

(google images)

This morning I waited about fifteen minutes in the freezing rain with my bus stop buddies, and we boarded the usual NJ Transit bus into the city. It took about an hour and a half and the heat wasn’t on—it felt like we were outside. It was an adventure of sorts, but not as much fun as jumping through sprinklers or soaring through the sky with Peter Pan.