Hi, folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here, again! (January 2020)
I should be deep in hibernation, just like all of my cousins in many parts of the world. But, I am not. It is too warm and too light for me. I need cold days and long dark nights and, to date, these have not happened yet. And, now that daylight hours are lengthening, my guess is that I am going to have make do with the short period of deep sleep that I did get.
But, it’s not all bad news. Yes, I still struggle with the disability of not being able to speak to ‘my man’ to dictate my ponderings. The stick and alphabet pointing method does work after a fashion, but it is frustratingly slow and prone to huge confusion. ‘My man’ and predictive text are not good bedfellows! But, we get there, in the end.
So, I was pondering about words. I like words, especially ones that sound nice to say – or think in my mind now that I no longer have a voice. It was his use of the word ‘assist’ that captured my attention. He was telling a friend (yes, he does have some!) about how proud and privileged he was to be able to ‘assist’ Moira (the one whom I remember as wearing a weird long white frock, but who seemed so very jolly) in her work. I do not know what this ‘assist’ involves so I just observed and listened.
Later that day, Mrs Indoors asked him to ‘assist’ her with a task that she was doing. It didn’t go well! I am not sure what his problem was, but he, clearly’ didn’t ‘assist’ in her eyes. The exasperated words: ‘You’re not helping’ gave the clue. He tried harder and differently, but … Then, he boldly said: ‘Let me have a go!’ Now, if ever one wants to avoid stoking a fire, perhaps, these are words to avoid. But, she is more gracious than that and she passed the responsibility over. Having pondered over it for a few moments, he asked her to ‘assist’ him as he tackled the problem differently. In a few moments, crisis over, between them, job done – in the way that she had asked in the first place. He said that it was a case of being left-handed and trying to do something right-handed. Anyway, a hug and kiss and all was well again as they got on with other tasks both together and separately.
As I pondered later, I realised the word ‘assist’ might only be six letters long, but it implicates a good lesson for life. ‘Assist’ is not one way. It can be older ‘assisting’ younger or vice versa. It can be the less qualified person ‘assisting’ someone more qualified or, indeed, vice versa. And so on. But, my ponderings lead me to believe that ‘assist’ has more than just a practical application. It can only truly come about if the persons involved get alongside each other and find a way to inhabit each other’s space in an harmonious way. A challenge in this ever more singular and competitive world! And, perhaps worth giving some pondering amongst other ponders at this time of year.
Hi, Folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here, once more.
It is now just over five months since I became silent forever. These have been dark days. Mostly, I am now ignored by my contemporaries, treated as if I no longer exist. Except for my man, of course. He still cuddles, nuzzles and talks to me as if nothing has happened. I wish more were like him. And, he has persevered with the pointing-stick taped to my paws with an alphabet board to point at so that we can still ‘speak’, though his pre-guessing of likely words has not improved. However, despite using tape with the most gentle of sticky, my paws have started to get sore as some of the hair rubs off when it is removed. So, we have had to cut back the frequency of its use which means ‘speaking’ take a lot longer. But, we have managed to record my latest ponder, inspired by the first Christmas Charity appeal that came through the door.
It was for a homeless charity and gave a lot of information about the problems that people afflicted by such circumstances face. I had to read some of the text more than once to get my head around what was being said. So disturbing was it that I asked my man if it was really in this country in 2019 that the writing referred to. He told me that it was not just ‘places’ in this country, but in Chichester, Emsworth and close-by areas that there were genuine homeless people. And, not just the odd one either, it seems! You could have knocked me down with a feather when he said this!
I am not a stupid Ted and understand that the reasons for any person to be homeless can be complex, but has society become so inward-looking that the (many) needs of such people are just swept away as ‘too hard’? If so, shame on us all! The charity asks for people to sponsor a Christmas meal for a homeless person which also includes a number of other support programmes him or her to move forward in their lives – to help such a person move out of their dark days, as my man is helping me. Sounds like a good idea to me. The contribution suggested might, at first glance, look off-putting – but, when we consider how much we spend on our own family Christmas (presents, food, drinks, decorations, etc.), it represents a relatively small percentage.
So, my ponders lead me to wonder as to how many of my readers, or reader’s family, might just add another name to their Christmas pressy list – that of an unnamed, homeless person? If the suggestion above is beyond your means or does not appeal, it does not matter. Through our Parish Church, we shall be collecting warm socks, gloves, scarves and toiletries (for men or women). And, food – there is a list of needs in the box under the table near the door or, perhaps, some festive biscuits or chocolate. Some people may even fill a shoe-box with special treats. Perhaps, now, is a good time, also, to turf out any unwanted (but in good condition) winter coats, trousers or shoes and take them to a charity that supports the homeless. Please, do something, however small! You never know there might even be a ‘Brucie bonus’ of some ‘halo points’ as a reward for any generosity shown!
Best wishes for a joyful and peaceful Christmas season.
Hi! It’s Lemon-Ted here again!
I always knew that it would happen one day! From the day that I was created, the one thing that was absolutely certain was that this day would come. One would think that, over the years, I would have been prepared. But, no! When it finally happened, it came as a huge body blow. It was gone! Caput! Finished! No more could I use it! I was now among the ‘special ones’ who had suffered some sort of personal disabling. The loss was painful as much as it was dramatic. One moment all was well, the next … But, it was not just the personal loss. The impact on him – my man – was also tough to take. When he realised what had happened, I am sure that there were tears in his eyes, though he was pretty good at masking them. All he did was the give me a huge hug. Boy, how I needed that. And, he told me – face to face – that all would be well and we would, together, sort out a way of continuing our adventures together. How I wish that the same reaction was not shown by some of my other ‘friends’! I have had to put up with everything from downright teasing to cruel mockery to just being ignored. ‘Not at this time, folks, give me time to recover from my loss and, then, I will be able to deal with your unkind reactions.’ I am beginning to understand that the journey ahead will be very different to the one travelled so far.
Sorry, I haven’t actually said what has happened. I have lost my voice! My voice-box has stopped working. No longer can I say: ‘I love you’ in that husky-sounding voice which meant so much to my man. My loss is my voice; his loss is not being able to hear the voice of his truly loved one whenever he felt a little down or in need. It is devastating for us both. And, of course, it was – it is so painful to use the past tense – the voice that kick-started this series of ponderings which have been shared with you over the past couple of years. This presents the huge problem of how to – and whether we can – continue to share them. If I can only operate in silence, how can my man hear what to write down? If only I had digits on the end of my chubby paws …
So, how have we got this update written? Well, it has taken a long, long time and has required a lot of patience on both sides. I might have lost my voice, my method of communicating, but my brain is still working okay. Already, I have noticed people speaking to my man, assuming that I am not able to understand if spoken to directly – as if loss of voice equates to becoming a numbskull. How rude! So, we devised a method based on my man producing a large printout of the alphabet and taped to my paws (masking tape so as not to hurt when taken off!) a pointing stick. Letter-by-letter, I pointed and my man wrote the letter down. It was slow at first, but, after a while, my man started to try and guess what word I was trying to say – a bit like predictive text on a mobile phone. It was hilarious! What with my poor spelling and my man’s lack of imagination with words, we had some right royal laughs. I think it did us both good. Anyway, the result is what you are reading.
What for the future? I am not sure. Perhaps, this will be the last pondering, certainly for a while. I need to recover and get used to my new silent life. And, hope those around me return to being kind and supportive. But, only time will tell.
Lemon-Ted (with thanks to ‘my man’ for transcribing into printed text).
Hi! It’s Lemon-Ted here again!
He was a chuffed little bunny was my man. Some kind person had given him a couple of plants and there is nothing more pleasing to him than having new plants to put out into the garden! But, that’s when the trouble starts…
He takes the two plants, one pot in each hand, and walks the garden, first this way, then that way, then this way and back again. At points, he stops and holds one plant or other, in the air, above the border. And, then, he’ll move on. There were several ups and downs, an exercise that lasts many, many minutes. But, what’s this? One pot has been placed in the border! He stands back. Looks at it. Moves to one side, then the other. No! Not there, he decides. Tries the other pot. No! Not there, he decides. And, we start the moving up and down again.
Now, what? He has put one of the pots on the patio and taken the other towards the border. Clearly, this is going to be a two-phased operation. He stops. Puts the pot into a different position in the border. Stands back. Nods agreeably. Mutters something incomprehensible. This is it! He has decided. But, surely, he is not seriously going to put that particular plant there, is he? Hasn’t he realised that the flower colours will clash terribly with those of the neighbouring plants? What’s wrong with him? I try for all my worth to attract his attention. I jump up and down, bang on the window. He hasn’t reacted, so I’ll just have to try to use my powers of telepathy to get him to change his mind. But, no, he has decided. He’s gone for his spade, I just know he has.
He stands there, leaning on the spade, looking at the pot and its plant. ‘Come on,’ I am saying, ‘it’s not the best place for that plant. But get it done, if you must. There’s still another pot to plant out, yet. We’ll be here all day at this rate!’ But, still he stands. Just looking. Moves again to one side, then the other. He lifts his spade. This is it! And, with a solid downward thrust, he sticks the spade into the ground – at the place of his original choice some considerable time ago! And, in so doing, avoids a horrible flower colour clash! My mental powers must have worked, after all! Now, what? He has taken some of the earth that he has dug out and put it into his green plastic bucket. He’s off towards the veggie patch, bucket in hand. He’s back! But, the bucket is empty. What’s he doing? Hasn’t he realised that he’ll need some of that earth to cover the roots of his new plant? Where’s he going now? To the other end of the garden with bucket in hand. He’s back, but wait, there’s some very black earth in his bucket from the other end of the garden! What is he up to? I shall never understand him! Thank goodness, the first pot is finally planted out. But, what about some water? ‘The plant needs watering in,’ I shout, banging on the window glass. No reaction. Now what? He’s off somewhere. Thankfully, he comes back with his watering can and the first plant duly gets watered in. My powers of telepathy must have worked again! Oh dear, he has taken the other pot and the whole process is about to start again. Only, this time, I am not going to watch. I’m exhausted. I’m off for some creature comfort (honey!) and a nap. What was that she said? A package with two hundred and forty plants in it has been delivered? Help!
My ponders observe that humans, like my man, seem to spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to get things right ‘their way’, but, often, require a nudge from someone (or some One!) before they get things properly right!
Hi, folks in whatever year this is being read!
It all started for me when ‘my man’ was invited to bring a teddy to the Mothering Day Service in 2017. Out of all his Teds, I was the lucky one to be chosen. There, I met a friendly, jolly lady who was wearing a long white dress – a bit strange! – and an even longer scarf of a colour that didn’t really suit her. (I would have thought a friend might have whispered something to her about this!) Anyway, I became a bit of a celebrity by being the only Ted to speak at the Service. Not that I said much. ‘I love you’ is the limit of my vocabulary – but, as a message, it is timeless. However, I guess that I best introduce myself. My name is Lemon-Ted, which you might think strange. But, the logic is simple. When I was young, my fur was lemon in colour, very rare for a bear. And, because of that colouring, I was what was referred to as ‘a limited edition’ – limit-ed … Lemon-Ted, get it? Anyway, the name is a bit of a stretch these days, as age has dulled the colour and now it is more white than lemon – a bit like humans going grey! ‘My man’ is David who, it seems, sometimes helps the jolly lady with her work. It is he who listens to my ponders and writes them down so that others can share in them through publication in the Church magazine.
And, that’s what I am all about – ‘pondering’. In the time since my introduction to this new life as an author of ‘ponders’, I have covered many subjects – mainly with how complicated ‘my man’s’ life seems, most of which being caused by his impatience to let things happen naturally as we, bears, would do. And, I have had the odd rant about people who do not consider the needs of others before themselves. But, mostly, I have tried to be encouraging of people to ‘hang in there’ when life gets tough (us bears have a lot of experience here!) and to be themselves especially when meeting new people.
So, reader, what about you? Do you spend time pondering? Or is life in your age so different that you have no need – or, perhaps, time – for such a practice? It is, after all, a Biblical practice – ‘my man’ helpfully pointed out that one of its great characters did just this: ‘ponder things in her heart’! Even at this distance of time, I would encourage you, reader, to consider spending time, just to ponder. It is best done through taking up a pondering position – by sitting comfortably in a favourite place, perhaps looking out into the beauty of the natural world. Ensure that some creature comforts are close by – in my case, it was a jar of honey or marmalade, as pondering sometimes made me hungry! Have a notepad of sorts ready to jot down any thoughts that might come. Focus your mind on what is good or bad, relevant or irrelevant about your life, for this is what good pondering is all about. It should help to bring positive thinking to the forefront and put negative thoughts in their place. Try to put aside some time each day – it doesn’t have to be a lot – just to ponder. I just know that you will soon feel the benefit so much so that you will continue to ponder as part of your life. So, thank you for the privilege of letting me contribute to the time capsule. Good pondering and ‘I love you’.
Lemon-Ted (with thanks to ‘my man’ for transcribing my ponders into printed text). [02/2019]
Hi, folks! It’s Lemon-Ted here once again!
We Teds ponder a lot. We also eat a lot. And we sleep a lot. Which means that days … and weeks … and months pass quickly. Not that this matters much. What else do us Ted’s have to do? So, sitting and pondering, I realise that, since I put together my last message to you, time has flown by. Then, it was about Christmas lists, now it is about summer holidays. When I think about it, after the same amount of time since the last sharing of my ponders to now has passed again, we’ll be rapidly approaching the end of another school year. And, once that same period of time passes again, it’ll be back to Christmas lists! Oh, how you humans wish your life away.
Pondering comes recommended. It helps to slow down the pace of life and brings opportunities to reflect before doing. And to reflect before doing can bring its rewards in that better decisions can be made. This is a good time of year to ponder. From the debris on my man’s desk, I can see that the season of Lent is just around the corner. Yes, some will feel the need to ponder what to give up for the season – chocolate, biscuits, cake, alcohol – all so traditional and, surely, by now care ought to be taken about consumption of such foods anyway! Some others will feel the need to ponder what extra ‘good thing’ to do – never a bad thing, but why just restrict this to a few designated weeks of the year? A few will do nothing – but, then, there are always some in this category, aren’t there! But, how many of you will just commit to finding a quiet place just to ponder? To let the air around you breathe its inspiration into you. To let the issues of your heart and head be put into place and order. No format, no predetermined script, no specific mantra. Just to ponder. As an example, I understand that one of your great Biblical characters did just this – ‘ponder things in her heart’.
When we Teds take up our pondering position, we like to be comfortable. So, we sit in a favourite place, looking out into the beauty of the natural world. We’ll have some creature comforts close by – in my case, a jar of honey or marmalade. Pondering sometimes can make me hungry! And, we’ll have a notepad ready to jot down any thoughts that might come – my memory, like his, is not good, these days! ‘If I just sit and ponder, I might nod off,’ I hear you say. Not a problem in this Ted’s thinking. I have had my best ponders during an unplanned nap. The trick is not actually to go to sleep. ‘Just resting my eyes,’ is what I say when anyone accuses me of actually sleeping during my ponders, ‘it helps focus my mind!’. And, focusing the mind on what is good or bad, relevant or irrelevant, is what good pondering is all about. It should bring positive thinking to the forefront and put negative thoughts in their place. My hope is that you will try to use these next few weeks to put aside some time each day – it doesn’t have to be a lot – just to ponder. I just know that you will feel the benefit so much so that you will continue to find time to ponder for ever afterwards.