It was one of the hardest days of the longest winters of the toughest years in my recent memory. And I felt as cliched as the sentence I knew I would construct to describe it. But sometimes those words in that order are the right words for the disorder and distress that fill your spaces--mind, body, life spaces that would have otherwise been occupied by people, places, events, and a master raconteur retelling of these things over a masterful meal with all the right touches and a few of the right minuses.
And, of course, the elemental alterations of the carved, metal matching that allow key to fit keyhole, doorknob to yield to turning on any other but the coldest February day on a Binghamton winter morning, would not work as mechanics & engineers had willed and intended. At least NOT on the first try, or the second sigh.
But at my feet lay a package--a fat, fluffy envelope, soiled by remnants of melted snow. It was... a curiosity.
For a moment, it moved me--the utility of the thing, the near yellow paper fused to an underlay of plasticky protection, sealed and written on with all the words and all the numbers it needed to reach me.
The idea of mail. The strange magic of an agreement of numbers and letters and pretty-pictured stamps, stamped with other inky, fading stamps. Some mystical order of logic that allows one person to have a thought and send it on to another to share a thought, a thing, and perhaps a common feeling. And that neutral messenger who answered the call to drop that thought, that thing, that feeling at a spot, in front of my door, below that coldly-halted thing that stands between me and the warmth of a home--my home.
I was stopped between defeat and wonder and then, a funny thing...what if this soiled envelope, what's inside, once inside is *the answer to every thing*?
Introducing Ted Theophilus Bear (aka Ted T. Bear), my previously enveloped friend, wearing my favourite winter hat as his coat. A gift from my best friend Anne P. Murray, quarantine companion and protagonist of 18 months (and counting) of stories.