The in-person audience has grown significantly in this episode of The Joyful Bear. In the next two chapters, we learn more about Precious and how her unique talents helped a grieving friend and a stranger in the post office.
This morning, Frank Lloyd Bear and I decided to use our coronavirus quarantine time productively. We sat down to record the first couple of chapters of The Joyful Bear. The book has 31 chapters, some of them hilariously short, so we expect to be done in a couple of weeks.
I was setting up my first Teddy Bear Picnic in Seattle when along came a tandem bicycle with a teddy bear sitting on the rear seat. That’s definitely not something you see every day, even in a crazy place like Gasworks Park.
It was my friend Bret, whom I worked with in a previous life at Expeditors. He’d ridden his brand-new tandem across Seattle with Pandy, a 68-year-old teddy bear, taking the spot where his wife usually rides. “She didn’t help much,” he said of the bear. “She’s pretty old.”
Given that Bret and his bear are probably close in age, I suspect that’s not the real reason. Nor was it laziness, because teddy bears are never lazy. The real reason Pandy wasn’t pedaling? The seat was not adjusted properly for her short legs!
Here are a few photos of the Teddy Bear Picnic, which featured homemade cookies and lots of sunshine. Frank Lloyd Bear and I can’t wait to do it again…how about in a park near you?
Diane, Mark, and Bret with three joyful bears
68-year-old Pandy balances on the rear seat of Bret’s new tandem in Gasworks Park
Left to right: Mark, Pandy, Bret, Tina with Frankie and Precious, Will, and Diane
“Let’s go for a ride!” Frankie, Pandy, and Precious on the back of the tandem bicycle
Three joyful bears are ready for a bicycle ride
“If you want me to pedal, you’ll have to lower the seat.”
Frankie, the Joyful Bear, has been traveling and meeting new people all across the U.S. Here are some of his new friends and fans, beginning with old and new friends who came to our presentation at The Book Loft of German Village. If you’ve never been to The Book Loft, it has 32 rooms and is one of the most unusual (and non-ADA-compliant) bookstores in the world. The books are neat and tidy, but the architecture is downright higglety-pigglety!
After his visit to central Ohio, Frankie boarded an Amtrak train (watch the video!) in Cincinnati and rode for four days to Eugene, Oregon, enjoying the scenery and capturing hearts along the way. He was extremely impressed with fellow author Tamara Boyens, whom we met in the observation car of the Coast Starlight. A Ph.D. student in Tucson, she publishes dystopian novels in her spare time.
Hank with Frankie in Westerville, Ohio
The Joyful Bear makes a new friend at the Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio
Frankie with Tucson author Tamara Boyens, on the Coast Starlight
Frankie with Carol in Columbus, Ohio
Frankie with Steve in Columbus, Ohio
Ed & Eileen, from Lafayette, Indiana, pose with Frankie in the Metropolitan Room in Chicago
Ever since I met plein air painters in the boatyard, a couple of years ago, I’ve wanted to try my hand at it. (See “Beauty and Goodness Are In the Air,” which was published on mepsnbarry.com in Feb. 2014)
Three weeks ago, my father got me a French box easel for my birthday. Now I can go out and do plein air painting, which seems like a great way to get fresh air and mosquito bites, as well as talk to curious strangers. Today, I did a test painting on the back porch, and as you can see from the results, Frank Lloyd Bear joined in the fun!
Painting of Dad’s lake with Frank Lloyd Bear meditating
The French box easel on the back porch. Its design incorporates some seriously complicated 19th-century engineering.