“Bear,” I said. “I’ve put some biscuits on the table outside for you and Duck.”
“Why don’t you do it when Duck comes to visit. That’s how you always do it.”
“Because I won’t be here, Bear,” I said.
“Where will you be?” Bear asked.
“I need to go for a drive to Geelong to visit my sister and her two girls.”
“Can I come? And when you say ‘No’ like you usually do could you please add a ‘why?’ answer.”
“Bear it is a long way away and you were very tired after we went to visit Mother Bear..”
Bear interrupted me. “..and my sister. You forgot her.”
Bear went into his room and came back with a photograph that I had taken that day.
“In case you have forgotten, John, I have a sister and even if I didn’t know about it before then I do know about it now and I would be pleased if you would remember.”
“I am sorry Bear. I will remember to include her next time I talk about things. Anyway we were talking about today. I have to go to Geelong and it is a long way away.”
“Is is as far as from here down to the swamp?” Bear asked.
“Much, much farther than that. It is a long, long way.”
“How far is long?”
“If I get in the car and go now and I don’t stop for coffee and then I come back it will be time for you to be in bed. That’s how long.”
Sometimes it is hard to explain things to Bear. Sometimes I think he knows but pretends that he doesn’t.
“Alright, John. I will be good and not trouble you anymore.” That sounded like a bear I hadn’t heard before.
Bear left and went outside to look for Duck. That’s what he said.
He wasn’t in his room when I left, and actually I didn’t look because I had thing to carry. I called out a loud Goodbye and got in my car and drove away.
About an hour later I heard some funny noises coming from the back of the car and I thought something might be wrong so I pulled over to the side of the road and looked in the back.
The two little rascals had crawled into the boot of the car.
“Hello John. Are we nearly there? Or is it still a ‘LONG, LONG’ way?”
I didn’t say a word because I thought I might get cross although deep down I was laughing because they were such naughty little rascals.
We arrived and walked into my sister’s house and I could not believe my eyes. In the hallway, waiting for us were two big beautiful bears.
My sister was very excited. “I hoped you would bring Bear with you, John. And you brought Duck as well.”
Then she turned to Bear. “Bear,” she said, “These are your Grandparents.”
Bear was a bit confused. “But I’ve already got a Mother Bear. Who are these?”
“These are your mother’s parents.”
Bear looked at them and was rather taken back by how big they were.
“You might get to be as big as they are when you get old,” said my sister.
Bear sat down to talk to his grandparents and Duck sat with him. She was a bit unsure of them and seemed very shy. She sat behind Bear while they talked.
Then they went for a walk and Grandfather Bear asked them if they wanted to sit and read, because he was a bit tired and too much talking was too much for him.
So Bear and Duck sat on a couch and read a book about someone called Bob Dylan.
Then we took some more photos after Grandfather Bear had woken up.
It was nearly time to go home and everybody was very happy about the visit. Bear tugged on the bottom of my trousers and I bent down because he wanted to whisper something to me.
“Do you think the people in this house don’t have any vegemite or honey?”
But my sister heard him because Bear’s whispers are almost the same as his ordinary talking.
“If you bears and Duck come out to the kitchen we have biscuits and toast and vegemite and honey and milk.”
And after that we got in the car and drove home. It was just about time for the sun to go down and Bear was looking out the window and said, “That is a beautiful sun, John. It is like the sun we have at home.”
I didn’t try to explain that it was the same sun, but I did stop and take a photograph.
I made a copy and Bear calls it his Grandparents’ sun.