Thursday, September 21, 2006

Papa Bear

Once upon a time, in the 1930s, a very long time before Maya was born, and a long time before her Mama was born, but not very long before her Granny was born, Granny's Little Mama, Virginia (Ginny), and her sister, Florence (Flo, these days, Aunt Flo) were young girls. Now, as it happened, one summer when Ginny and Flo were in high school, their parents, Percy and Lillian, took them to Long Beach to visit their grandparents. Now, Maya may not know, but Long Beach is a town right on the ocean, like San Francisco, only warmer. And in the 30s, the Navy ships would dock there and the sailors would have shore leave.

So, one bright, hot day of this particular summer, Percy and Lillian and Ginny and Flo decided to take a walk on the boardwalk. It was a lovely day, with just a few clouds in the sky and the waves coming in and making that lovely ocean waves sound and the sea gulls wheeling over the water and begging from anyone who would feed them. There were many people walking on the boardwalk, families, and young couples, and friends, and children, and sailors. Pretty soon, Flo and Ginny were talking together and Lillian and Percy were talking together, so they started walking two by two, instead of all four together. And Ginny and Flo were in front, with their parents some distance behind. Flo and Ginny were very pretty girls, and they walked with their heads bent toward each other as they shared secrets, their long dark hair being gently rustled by the wind, and they were very lovely to look at. Percy and Lillian were very proud of them as they walked behind, keeping two pairs of fond eyes on them.

Well, what do you know, Percy and Lillian weren't the only ones who had fond eyes for those pretty Herndon sisters, no indeed they weren't. One minute Flo and Ginny were walking along together, and the very next minute two sailors came up behind them and each one put an arm around the waist of a sister. Ginny and Flo didn't know what to do or say, because they were well brought up girls and nothing like this had ever happened to them before. They were very uncomfortable -- they didn't know these two young men, and they didn't want to know them, either.

But then, just as Ginny was turning red and Flo was stammering in her embarrassment, up came their Daddy (Percy) and grabbed one sailor in each hand, and knocked their heads together. And as he threw them away, another sailor (one who had better sense than to just move in on a young girl) was heard to say "Next time, check first to see where Papa Bear is."

And Mama

I just got up, and as I was sitting looking out the window, a bear came ambling quietly up the hill, from behind the apartment building across the street. A moment later, she was followed by a cub. She stood still and allowed him to catch up, and then nuzzled his face. As they were walking calmly along, a dog came up to investigate, followed by a runner obviously concerned about him. The runner acted very calm, calling his dog so quietly I could barely hear, even though they weren't far from me and the window was open. Mama Bear and cub turned and meandered down the hill to Cope Park, runner and dog came this way, and all was well.

12 comments:

Tabor said...

I wonder if that scene happens today. I know our culture has changed but when it comes to parents and young ones I don't think it has changed all that much. Maybe the girls today would come to their own defense a little faster. Nice reminiscence.

Tabba said...

I loved that story & you painted the backdrop so vividly. I forgot where I was for a moment. You're right up there with Garrison Keillor in my book! Which is a HUGE compliment :)

J said...

HA! You go, Papa Bear!

Cuppa said...

Mama can get pretty feisty too.

Maya's Granny said...

I know that whenever my mother tells me this story, I always get this sense of how secure she felt under her father's protection.

Ally Bean said...

yeah papa bear. such a perfect story from times gone by. thanks for sharing it.

Tracy said...

I love the Mama Bear nuzzling baby's face story. Such a unique life you're living. Not many of us have bears in our backyard on a regular basis!!!

Deja Pseu said...

Funny story! I can just picture an outraged dad knocking those guys' heads together.

Ginnie said...

I loved the way you combined the story of long ago with today's "Bear" incident. Obviously a "Papa Bear" and a "Mama Bear" story rolled into one.

Anvilcloud said...

Two great anecedotes — well connected.

goldenlucyd said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful links! Your own posts are wonderful but I do appreciate the sites you've noted.

I agree you have a knack for creating mood and milieu---I so enjoy reading your recollections and aspire to create the same thing for my grandchilden. You're inspiring to me!

My use of the computer is rather proscribed due to my shoulder and hand problems but I'll sneak by whenever I can. I love your blog.

Tracy said...

I love this story. Protective parents are a blessing indeed.

How wonderful that Maya's Granny left this treasure trove of stories for her beloved granddaughter to cherish and read whenever she wants!