Tim continues his story.
I am saddened to admit
to everyone here that when the opportunity came my way for escape, I hoped I would never come back. I longed for a ‘freedom’ that I believed only existed away from all rules and limitations to my personal desires.
I wanted a different life. I wanted to pursue dreams and be accountable to NO ONE,
Many years ago, and some of you may remember, young humans came to this
house to stay overnight or for short periods. I heard the father call it ‘A sleep over’.
One night during one of these events,
a teenaged boy came out wearing pyjamas with an open backpack slung over his shoulder. He was curious about all the items on shelves but knew Missie the Border Collie watched him carefully.
I took my chance. Missie didn’t bark.
I jumped. I landed safely and hid in the open backpack.
I didn’t believe anyone had seen,
and certainly when the young man returned to his sleeping bag in the son’s bedroom, everything appeared normal.
Bert the Builder standing now beside
Tim, suddenly interjected.
‘I thought I saw something. I was not with the others
on shelves around the room but had been placed by a little girl on a small flowerpot with the pottery items. I had good views of the room and on this night, so long ago, I thought I saw a flash -maybe it was Tim’s racquet.
I never thought about it through the years until I heard Old Ted read the Announcement that Tim the Tennis
Player was missing.
A few days after this announcement, I waddled across the room and re-introduced
myself to the other bears in the Collection. Barney the Bellboy politely showed me my name on the new shelves between himself and Bill the Burglar.
Bill then climbed down and helped me climb back to our positions, They are clearly marked in alphabetical order. My place is now No.3 on the
top shelf. My heart leapt.... I was not forgotten.
It was sadly obvious then that of the forty
clearly named places there was still one empty. Tim the Tennis Player was missing!’
Tim muttered. 'Sorry, everyone.' He swallows and continues his story.
'The boy acted surprised when he found
me in the morning. ‘WOW! What a gift;’
He laughed triumphantly.
I don’t believe he even wondered how I got there or ever intended to return me home. ‘You are my mascot. Together we will go to Tennis
Tournaments all over the country and even the World. You are my TENNIS Mascot companion. I’ll carry you everywhere.’
Tim paused, looked around the interested teddy faces focussed on him, and bowed his head. He was silent for a few seconds then looked up and continued speaking.
‘It all began like the fulfillment of my greatest dreams. I was present at many tennis tournaments. I sat on a little box. I held my tennis racquet proudly. I saw people playing, heard all
the cheering, and enjoyed the excited atmosphere. Occasionally someone would pass by and give me a pat on the head. ‘What a great life you have little bear’ a man once joked.’ A life amid all the action’.
But, I didn’t. What I hated now the most was the constant action. No connection was ever
made with me to indicate I was valued but I was treated just like an object to be thrown into a bag….tossed on a bed or shoved into a cupboard or drawer.
SUMMERTIME CAME AGAIN
One day I was squeezed into the side pocket of a waterproof jacket.
I knew this was not about tennis. I couldn’t even imagine what or where we were going.
I decided to get
comfortable and sleep.
I woke up when the jacket was flung on the ground
outside of what looked like a small tent. I peeped out. Several young human youths sat around a fire. They seemed to be cooking meaty food on sticks and drank liquid from a barrel with a tap.
They laughed a lot. I climbed partially out of the jacket pocket and made myself comfortable.
I enjoyed watching.
One by one the different young people left in the darkness to
sleep in their tents. It was late and extremely dark when the fire was damped down that I felt myself being shovelled securely back into the jacket pocket. I was annoyed….I wanted to see out. I furiously kicked my legs.
‘What do you have in your pocket,Jim? ‘I saw something moving.'
‘Oh just this little old teddy’ Jim replied. ‘He’s a tennis mascot and I thought it would be cool to cart him around. Sometimes though he gets in the way.’ He yanked me out
and stood me on the arm of his camping chair.
I wobbled but was determined not to fall and lifted my tiny racquet high.
I heard a gasp from the youth who had spoken. He now positioned his chair closer.
The dying embers of the fire showed me his worried expression. ‘Where did you get him from? ‘
Jim picked me up and replied. ‘He sortof fell into my backpack when I stayed at KC’s house when we were all still at school.’
‘Why didn’t you bring him back when you found him?’
‘Aw, He fitted in with my tennis lifestyle and I thought he was happy to come. Don’t look so worried I didn’t nick him. He just came with me. Come on Pete, you don’t believe I pinched
him. Do you?’
Pete said. ‘I believe you, but I want you now to clearly look
at the little ticket emblem on his tennis racquet. I can see it from here it says .’Bear Collection’. He is part of a special family of small teddies. I know KC’s Mother has a collection and
cares for them and they are meant to be TOGETHER.’
Jim picked me up and for the first time in a
long time….really LOOKED at me. ‘You are right. He deserves to be returned if he has a family.’
He hugged me. ‘What should we do?’
Peter replied ‘Let’s check first if KC is sleeping. Then when we know for sure let’s
put him at the bottom of KC’s backpack and when he gets home and finds him he’ll know what to do’.
The plan in part worked perfectly.
The next day I experienced the familiar smells and atmosphere of the House on the Hill.
I had returned. There was a different dog. This fluffy little white one knew I was in the bag and barked furiously.
‘Stop Barking!’ A voice called authoritatively. She kept on sniffing but stopped trying to talk. I said ‘Hello, Dog’ but
this sent her outside terrified.
I was surprised but KNEW overwhelmingly, I was happy to be home and longed to reconnect with everyone.
However, the Plan went wrong. ‘
Tim stopped speaking and sighed.
He shuffled and looked around. He appeared suddenly
uncertain and a bit flustered
Eager faces indicated everyone wanted him to continue.