Saturday, July 02, 2005


Nyssa and her favorite pal, Teddy. Posted by Picasa

This is Nyssa and her best friend "Teddy". No fancy name, just "Teddy." I found him before she was born. He has a little opening in his bottom and inside he held a special music player. No, he isn't a typical wind up musical bear, those that are firm and stiff, he is very soft and cuddly. His music box was very special.

Teddy became Nyssa's friend the day she was born. He stayed with her in her hospital bassinet and basked naked under the bili lights with her. The nurses even put little eye patches on his eyes to match hers. They both loved the bili lights; it was like sleeping on a warm summer beach. He came home with her and sat in the rocking chair with us as she rocked to sleep each night. He felt useful. Not only did he cuddle up under her little chin, but, squeeze his tummy and he played ten nursery rhyme songs in a row. Songs like "Mary Had a Little Lamb", "Old MacDonald Had a Farm", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians." Teddy's song repertoire would continue for over five minutes. Often this music was enough to help her relax and go to sleep.

By the time Nyssa was nine months old she had learned how to make him play his music by squeezing him in the middle. Teddy went everywhere; to the grocery store, to the sitter's house, to church, to the pediatrician, to Girl Scout camp....well, it is easier to tell you where Teddy did not go. Actually, there wasn't any place Teddy didn't go. He has been to Austria and Italy, Arizona, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas and all places in between. He has ridden in backpacks, on airplanes, in trains, in cars, in shopping buggies and on a bicycle. He has read over 500 children's books. He has befriended cats, dogs and other children, but he loves Nyssa the best.

Teddy has been lost only once. He went to dinner at Chuck E. Cheese's in Virginia Beach and got so sleepy that he curled up on the seat of the booth and took a nap. Nyssa ate her supper and played the games for a while and then we got in the car and drove home to Grandpa's house. It was only then that she discovered he was lost. "Where's Teddy?" Search the car. "I had him at Chuck E. Cheese's!!!" I explained to her that someone most likely had found him and he could be on his way to a new home and lost forever. She was frantic, crying, "I have to go find him!" Grandpa took her all the way back to the restaurant and being a very, very lucky bear, he was still there curled up asleep on the seat. He woke up to a crushing hug from Nyssa and rewarded her by playing his song list on the way out to the car.

Teddy has always been well behaved, never playing his music when he wasn't supposed to. Except once, but it wasn't his fault. As always Teddy accompanied Nyssa to Texas to see her other grandparents. There he went to church with her. He sat quietly in the pew when they all stood up to sing, but when everyone sat down, disaster struck. PaPa sat on his tummy, hard. It hurt. So Teddy had no choice but to start playing his music. There is one thing you had to know about Teddy's music. It was activated by pushing his tummy but you could not make it stop by pushing his tummy twice. He had no off switch. In fact the only thing that happened if you pushed his tummy while he was already playing his ten song list was that he would just recycle and start over at the very beginning. PaPa did not know or did not remember this. He tried to turn the music off by pushing Teddy's belly...over and over. This just restarted "Old MacDonald" which was song number ONE. The church was quiet, except that you could hear Teddy's music merrily playing. Mimi got tickled and started giggling, Nyssa tried to whisper (loudly) for PaPa to "Quit pushing his tummy", and PaPa was exasperated and embarrassed. PaPa could not muffle Teddy's music, it was loud. All he could do was let it play through the song list to the very end. After that, PaPa kept his distance from Teddy.

Teddy was "loved berry, berry much" and as such had a couple of injuries over the years. A small tear at an arm seam, easily repaired. He endured baths in the washing machine and fluffing in the dryer. He eventually developed cataracts in both eyes but Nyssa had me do "surgery" on them with clear nail polish and this helped clear up his sight considerably. Alas, eventually, his music player wore out from all the nightly hugs and tummy crunches. We changed batteries but it was never the same. The music became a bit slurred and on occasion his music would start without any squeezing. Finally, the song list got mixed up and one day he started out with a very wavy sounding version of "Twinkle Twinkle" instead of "Old MacDonald" and about half way through the song the music fizzled and died. His music was gone.

Teddy was sad to lose his music and thought that Nyssa wouldn't love him anymore. But she didn't care so much about the music anymore, she had a bedside tape player for her "go to sleep tapes", she just wanted him there with her.

Teddy went through high school with her, in her bed every night. He went to the Mississippi School for Math and Science with her and lived in the dorm for two years. At MSMS Nyssa and Teddy met Margaret and Andrew. Margaret is Nyssa's best friend there and Andrew is her bear. Andrew is a little bit bigger than Teddy and never did have a music player in his tummy but he too has been "loved well" and hard. Margaret graduated a year before Nyssa and went to college. The girls decided to switch bears so they would keep in touch. Teddy went to Sewanee, Tennessee for college while Andrew stayed at MSMS with Nyssa.

Last year Teddy was reunited with Nyssa when she too attended The University of the South for a year. Currently, he is still with Margaret and Andrew is still here with Nyssa. He doesn't worry though. Teddy keeps Margaret company just as Andrew keeps Nyssa company. But Teddy's heart belongs only to Nyssa and he knows she is only a cell phone call away. He also knows that someday soon he will come home.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "Outgoing".

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