272. Teddy Bears' Picnic
© Bruce Goodman 9 July 2014

When it was the town’s annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic in the Park, the whole town gathered with their hampers. And everyone brought their teddy bears. It didn’t matter if you were nine or ninety. Out came the teddy bears! And all food and drink was generously shared.

The event had begun a good thirty years ago, when Noeline Rattray organised the first. Since then, not a year had been missed. This was the first time that the occasion had been organized by a committee. Noeline was no longer part of it. She was too old.

The committee broadened the “rules” a bit. No alcohol. No smoking. Teddy bears were ever-so-slightly discouraged; it promoted the thought that it was okay to keep a bear in captivity. Not a good idea to bring any stuffed toy in fact, as most anthropomorphised an animal, and how unacceptable is that? And dolls! Goodness! Bring a doll by all means if you’re a boy, but there’s no need to shove little girls into stereotyped roles by having them bring a doll. No dogs! Sorry! Keep them at home please. If you want to run a stall to sell goods, you could get a licence (for a fee) at the Town Council Office. The name of the event was changed to Green Meadow Dairy and Margarine Annual Picnic, for it was munificently sponsored by a big corporation. And there was a wonderful motto for the year: Count the calories!

Noeline Rattray could see a view of the park from her lounge window. She was in a wheel chair now. Attending would be a bit much. She propped her teddy bears up on the window ledge so they could watch with her. She poured herself a little wine. And waited.

A few attended; mainly to sell things. Teddy Bears’ Picnic in the Park was a thing of the past.

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