September 9

National Teddy Bear Day

 

It’s that part of the movie you hate, where the annoying child starts screaming for Teddy, and the parents look at each other with sympathy, and one of them begins to weaken, and…

No you can’t go back, because:

a) The house is burning.

b) A tornado is heading down the street.

c) A psychotic killer waits in the child’s bedroom, machete raised.

d) The giant alien tripod blasts laser beans through the roof, the walls all tumbling down.

e) All of the above.

Oh, but honey, it’s her favorite toy.  Our darling will never sleep without Teddy.

And Dad runs back, or Mom.  Or while they’re arguing, the kid’s climbed out the back of the RV to attempt her own doomed rescue mission.

A rescue mission for a stuffed animal.

The variation is more understandable when it’s an actual pet, or a forgotten baby brother (bonus points if he’s named Teddy).

But a stuffed animal?  Ridiculous.  In real life, when people worry they’re going to die, they stop caring about material things and get the heck out.  Necessities only:  forget Grandma’s music box or the family photo album or the baseball card collection; bring food and a water bottle, a blanket and clothes, a Swiss Army knife and a compass.

Your theories are put to the test when air raid sirens wake your family in the middle of the night.  You rush the kids out the door, giving each of them little time to pack a single bag before you pile into the car and head toward the nearest shelter.

Before you’ve reached the end of the block, your youngest shouts from the back seat:  “Binky!”

And you don’t go back.  There’s no discussion with your spouse; you don’t even share a worried glance.  You just keep driving.

Because you’re saving their lives.

When you get to the shelter, it’s crowded and suffocatingly hot.  You try to distract your children from the rumble of bombs overhead.   There are cots all along the floor, and the shelter provided their own blankets, food, and water.

At night, your children can’t fall asleep.  A few cots over, someone else’s little girl curls her arm around a teddy bear, her eyes closed and calm.  Nearby, a family huddles close around a photo album, sharing whispered memories.

From across the room you hear the ratchet of a winding key, then the slow plink of a music box lullaby.