Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Pudgy the Bear

My brother is on a flight home to his wife and pets. There is great anticipation and anxiety amongst us knowing that his next flight will take him into a very hostile environment. Clearly, no one wants him to go, including himself, but he is in the military and he knows this is a path one must take sometimes in this field of work. It was a great 10 days having him around, knowing how much it meant to my folks (especially my mother!) to have all three sons and one daughter together. That, and the fact that he is stationed far enough away from us that we don't get to see him as often as we would all like to anyway. And the folks are getting older...

My brother and I have always been very close. When he was young, he wouldn't go to bed at night unless I told him a "Pudgy the Bear" story. Pudgy was a figment of my imagination and every night I would have to conjure up a new adventure, making it up as I went along. Every story would always begin with "Once upon a time, Pudgy the Bear was walking in the woods..." and end on a mostly moral note, just surviving bees and things and communing with the other animals of the forest. He always remembered those stories and I had no idea then how much they would mean to him throughout his life. Not so much the stories, I guess, but the fact that I was always there for him, always full of tales to stoke his imagination and zest for life and adventure. He is going on his own very real adventure soon. Pudgy always managed to get himself out of scrapes, so I hope he can think of himself as a grown up Pudgy now and come back to tell me great adventure stories of his own.

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