Monday, March 23, 2009


(A story dedicated to Colbie.) Once upon a time, a little girl named Colbie lived happily with her mom, her dad, and her yellow lab named Tally. Colbie’s mom and dad loved her, and Tally worshipped her from afar. (Tally had to stay afar because she worshipped Colbie by enthusiastically licking her face and hands.)

Colbie had lots of pretty toys, but her favorite toy as a little brown bear with a florescent green tummy. The little bear had been perched on her changing table since the day she was born, so Colbie often smiled at the little bear to pass the time while having her diapers changed.

One day Colbie’s grandpa and grandma were babysitting. Colbie was sitting on her grandma’s lap in the backyard while Grandpa threw a ball to Tally. Back and forth Tally went, chasing the ball over and over. When Grandpa got tired of throwing the ball, Tally disappeared for a few minutes. When she returned, she galloped around the back yard, gleefully carrying an unidentified object in her mouth. Tally’s ears flew back in the wind, and the object in her mouth bounced up and down. Around and around the yard Tally ran, as fast as she could go.

“What’s she got in her mouth?” Grandpa asked.

Grandma noticed the bright fluorescent green. “She must have found an old tennis ball,” she said, distractedly wiping a little drool off Colbie’s chin. Colbie bounced excitedly every time Tally tore past the chair where she and her grandma were sitting. Everyone was having a great time.

But when Colbie’s mom came home, she knew right away what Tally had been so happily carrying around the yard. Naughty Tally had stolen the little bear from Colbie’s play pad, had sneaked it out her doggie door, and then had done several victory laps around the back, giving the little bear the ride of its life—but ripping it to shreds in the process. Now Tally was in big trouble.

Colbie was Grandma’s first little grandbaby, and she had read lots of stories about how the grandma comes to the rescue and saves the day. Grandma saw an excellent chance to help Tally get out of trouble and also save the little bear for Colbie. So Grandma carefully fished the little bear out of the garbage and said bravely, “I think I can fix this.”

The bear was slimy with happy-dog drool, so Grandma first threw it in the washing machine with a load of towels. It would be tough to assess the damage until the bear was clean and dry. Now Grandma knew exactly how an ER doctor feels when faced with a mangled accident victim: where should I start? Can I save a leg? Amputate an arm? Would the bear ever live a normal life? Would the bear teach Colbie to love the handicapped? Grandma was full of grandmotherly hope—like all those Hallmark made-for-TV movies where everyone learns a lesson at the end.

All Grandma had was a pair of scissors, $1.88 sewing kit, and two iron-on patches from WalMart. She also had a head full of stories about how grandmas come to the rescue, so she bravely started her surgery.

First, she amputated the bear’s little mangled feet, just above the ankle. Carefully she sewed the cut ends together. She looked at the stubby little legs and thought, ‘I think this bear can learn to walk again with proper therapy and prosthetics.’

Little Bear Half-Way Through Surgery, Post-Feet Amputations

Then she amputated the bear’s badly-mangled left hand and sewed the stubby end to its little chest. ‘Luckily, this bear is right-handed,’ Grandma thought optimistically, pushing the cheap needle through the cloth.

The gaping chest wound posed a bigger problem. Grandma wished she were at home with her sewing machine, but all she had was the little sewing kit. Still, she had read all those grandma-hero stories, and she was confident she could do it, too.

She pulled the wound edges together. That was when she discovered that not only had Tally torn the little bear, she had also eaten a little piece of it for lunch. Grandma tugged and pulled, and finally sewed a puckered, crooked seam down the front of the bear’s chest and leg. The bear did not look like it belonged in a grandma-hero story. It looked like it had been in an atomic war.

It now became necessary for Grandma to do a little plastic surgery skin graft to cover the scar. She stared at the WalMart iron-on patch, hoping for inspiration. Finally, she sat down with the scissors and carefully cut out the letters to spell “COLBIE.” She wished that the iron-on patch more closely matched the color of the bear, but it was beginning to dawn on her that this was NOT going to be a grandma-hero story. This was more of a reality TV show called “Grandma’s Extremely (Bad) Makeover.”

Lopsided Little Bear Following Surgery

The moral of this story was supposed to be: Grandma Saves the Bear (and the Dog’s Reputation).

Instead, the moral of the story turned out to be: Grandma Wanted to Save the Day but Lacked Talent and Materials. Evidently, being a grandma does not necessarily give you supernatural powers to do more than you were capable of doing prior to becoming a grandma. Nuts.


Elaine said...

Now you see how those sewing lessons from 4-H can save your butt. You are hilarious! My grandson's teddy bear fell on the night light and got dreadful 3rd degree burns all over. (It was a miracle nothing else burned.) Even though I fancy myself a textile genius, I had to enlist the help of a real seamstress to repair the bear. Then I knit a sweater to cover up all the surgical scars. I think Colbie will love the story when she is older and will forever treasure the bear.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for fixing my bear! My mom says it has character and a story now! I love it and have covered it with my drool to cover for Tally if she ever gets at it again. I'm working on my tight grip so I don't think Tally will take things from me again.
Love you,