Few people would disagree, if asked, that telling the truth is the way to go in life. When I grew up, George Washington’s birthday was still February 22nd. Every year in public school on that day we heard that GW could not tell a lie, and had chopped down the cherry tree. Mason Locke Weems‘ tale may have been a fabrication (uh oh: possible contradiction here), but whatever the case, morally speaking, honesty is the best policy.
Sometimes, however, it’s not easy to come right out with something. (“No, I didn’t like your casserole, it gave me heartburn.”) I’m reminded of an I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy accepts a bet that she can tell the truth for twenty-four hours. She alienates Ricky, Fred, Ethel and her entire bridge club by being bluntly truthful. So, in life’s socialization process, we learn to couch our words. I’ve inadvertently discovered an excellent way of telling my husband certain things.
It began with a present years ago from my daughter, Shauna. I had said I’d always wanted a teddy bear with really floppy arms and legs, and at my birthday dinner in an L.A. restaurant, she presented me with Frampton. Our family thought at first that my husband and I simply had empty nest syndrome, but eventually began to worry about the excessive interest we displayed in Frampton. We explained this was no ordinary bear; for one thing, he learned to read at an early age.
But Frampton’s function soon changed from simply being a bed adornment to something more. When I was feeling tired, I left him curled up “to sleep” for the day. I didn’t have to tell my husband I wanted quiet time, our buddy did it for me. I positioned him to look outside when I was restless. The feelings conveyed were most often not the sort that might offend, yet I loved that my husband picked up on what I was telegraphing.
Our fuzzy friend started traveling with us. He has lived in a half dozen states and visited Hawaii, where he took up hiking, and been abroad to France and Switzerland. When we took the Orient Express last fall, he covered Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Austria, and Italy, at the same time becoming a British Air frequent flyer.
Interestingly, he (and his traveling companion, Amelia) made friends on that trip, Oscar and Strawberry Vincent, who live in England but have a vacation home in Spain. When Frampy saw them boarding the train, he knew he had to meet them. Shortly after, they and their parents, Jan and Terry, joined us for a meal in one of the elegant dining cars.
The bottom line here is 1) we learned we are not the only adults who travel with inanimate ursines; 2) Frampton continues to be a mood indicator for my husband; 3) I love him (my husband) ever more, for his participation in “the game;” 4) and love him even more for paying attention; and finally, 5) it’s just plain fun.
Our middle grandchild, Elijah, picked Frampton as his favorite stuffed animal when he spent last summer with us. Perhaps a three-year-old is even more in tune with him than we are. I can bearly imagine . . .