But first, this...
On Monday I received this picture in an email. The photo shows hands, belonging to the Lacko Family... gently stacked, with Little Bear resting comfortably on top. How do you read a photo like this?
A Closer Look
What a bittersweet photo. Obviously the Lackos have enjoyed Little Bear so much. They are a family, with kids... who found the bear after I lost him in New York. They found the "missing flyer" and contacted me, but also had a little fun! They took L.B. on lots of adventures from ski jumps to Chinese restaurants and then they sent this photo. With a closer look, I could see that someone repaired his torn feet! This photo reminded me that L.B. was in awfully good hands. How could I expect them to mail him home to me?
In the mailbox, I found a colorful envelope, marked First Class and Fragile!
My husband was standing by with the camera. He used to just play along with my bear photography, but he has actually gotten pretty hooked in these past weeks.
Not Just a Box!
Inside the envelope was a very special box, carefully decorated with tiny jewels and marked "Little Bear" on the lid. Don and I just grinned. Someone had taken a lot of time!
Not Just Little Bear!
Inside the box was L.B., sitting snuggly in the corner, beside a folded piece of paper. Standing much taller was a stuffed beaver. Beneath the animals and note was a perfectly cut piece of white carpet...for cozy comfort!
And here is the note, carefully printed to L.B.'s Mom, by one of the Lacko children. I read Hannah's note aloud to Don and we were equally touched. She explained that she was sending a friend (Rose, the Beaver) for Little Bear. "Just in case Little Bear ever gets lost again, he will not be alone." She mentioned Rose was excited about her first trip to Texas. And she added at the bottom that her mom had mended L.B's foot!
Just a Bear
Yes, I know he's just a bear ...a very small one. But he's obviously captured a heart or two.
I think Don and I were so moved by Hannah's sweet note, because it wasn't that long ago (well actually it was many years ago) that our daughter cared more about stuffed animals than anything. If she had found a tiny bear like this, she would have had a very hard time giving him up!
Welcome home again, Little Bear! And welcome to Texas, Rose! We look forward to sharing new adventures!
A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE LACKO FAMILY!
Dear Lackos, Little Bear and Rose are napping after their long journey. They will be in contact soon. Keep an eye on your mailbox, now!
Little Bear and Corn
L.B. is still with the Lackos in Lansing, NY. They rescued him a few days ago and have asked if he can stay a while longer. It's clear they are spoiling him well! Looks to me like Little Bear is on a dinner outing at a Chinese restaurant. I am so jealous!
His Own Truck?
Has he learned to drive? There's so much I never thought about teaching Little Bear.
So he's had some macho adventures...but what have we here!? I see a mushroom and a flower and Bear, cuddled up with a small mouse?? I need to hear more about this story! Thank you to the Lackos! You are giving L.B. a well rounded experience in New York!
Here he is, posing with the family who found him!
What a surprise to find an email with a photo of The Lackos and Little Bear! In the past few days I have been greeted by wonderful photos of Little Bear, horseback riding, fishing, sitting on flowers and having wonderful adventures in the Adirondacks! But since I lost L.B. in Lake Placid, NY on August 4th, I wasn't really sure who he was with.
The Lackos shared more photos...with captions!
"Little Bear loves driving his little AAR 'Cuda, just like his friends like driving theirs. Took him a while to get used to the 4 speed."
"Bear has shown an interest in winter sports since his Lake Placid visit. He asked us to teach him hockey."
"Learning to shoot a game of pool."
I've been perplexed since I took this photo 10 days ago. Just minutes after this moment, I discovered he'd fallen through a hole in my pocket. I retraced steps and found nothing. Where did he go?
The next day before leaving Lake Placid, I left 5 notes on Main Street. I knew it was ridiculous to hope that someone would find the bear and then happen to find a note.
5 days later I received an email (written by L.B.) saying he'd been found by a nice family. For the next few days I was thrilled each time I received a new photo of (slightly battered) Little Bear in the midst of adventure around Lake Placid. I was delighted that the "finders" were having some fun with the bear and camera. But who really had him?
The Best Note I Could Have Hoped For!
When the email arrived with the photo of the Lackos, all I could do was grin. What a treat to see the heroes of this crazy story! They didn't just find Little Bear. They were enjoying the same silly fun that I have had with L.B. Photographing the bear in different settings is not really what it's about. The bear is an oddly addictive tool for enjoying the world from a different perspective! But somehow you really do grow attached to this little furry guy. Here is the sweet note that came with the photo.
Hello, we are the Lackos. We are Bear's friends. We have enjoyed him so much. We have returned to our home in Lansing, NY. We would really like Bear to stay a few more days with us, to show him around downtown Ithica and over to Cornell University. If you send your address we will send Bear back home to his mom, safe and sound.
I was pretty giddy writing the Lackos back! Of course they could keep him longer. It's been so great sharing the fun with another family! I asked if I could post their family photo on the blog and they said that would be fine...then added, "We have had a great time with Little Bear. It was one of the best parts of our vacation." SIGH!
Little Bear emailed 3 more photos!
Hope some nice flower smells rubbed off on his fur. (After yesterday's photo posing with pizza) Little Bear's fur has collected lots of smells in his time...champagne, mud, shrimp, salt water...
Purple & Pink & Green
I think these colors are very healing! Or is it the fresh air? Little Bear's fur seems to be looking shinier.
I love these round flowers! I saw them in Lake Placid, but I didn't see a lovely forest nearby.
So,where is he? I've been a bit worried because it seems like he might be growing too attached to his new friends. But then I remind myself about all the fun he's been having...and obviously the fun they've been having,too. How incredibly lucky that he was found by people who have a playful spirit!
I will continue Bear's Blog for him!
This morning I found 3 emails with 3 photos! I guess Little Bear is too active to write me! At least I can see he's still in New York?
This is more adventure than I've ever given Little Bear!
Will he ever want to come home?
I'm glad they've been feeding him!
I'm sure Little Bear told his new friends that he hates mushrooms. I'm just so glad they are feeding him well. Man, is he having fun. I'm feeling guilty about all the things I didn't allow him to do when I was with him in Lake Placid.
I hope he writes me another note!
After arriving in Houston from Lake Placid on Wednesday night, I found a wonderful surprise. I checked emails and found the photo below, with a message from Little Bear!
A nice family found me in the parking lot nearest the fire hydrant. Although my fur is tattered and torn, I am still fit enough to go traveling with them. I have been to the peak of whiteface, bobsledding, and boating/fishing at lake kiwassa. Today I am going horseback riding and up to the top of the ski jump.
Impossible! What are the chances that this little guy who had fallen from my pocket would be found...by someone who also found my note announcing that he was missing!
And then I received 3 more emails with photos of Little Bear enjoying some fishing, horseback riding and visiting the summer ski jump area in Lake Placid!
It's mind boggling to me that the person(s) who found this little bear of mine, would have the same sense of fun that I have. Not that many people seem to "get" the fun that I have photographing this furry little guy in the midst of different adventures! How lucky is that.
My note to Bear
Took me a moment to know how to respond to this email "from Bear", but I decided to write back to the bear himself. Here's my note. I'll let you know what I hear!
Dear Little Bear!
I can't believe you were found by a caring family AND you have been doing your very favorite thing, adventuring! I was so afraid you had been picked up by a hungry dog or run over by a car...or maybe you were? I still can't believe you were found. The picture of you at the lake shows me you are indeed a bit battered, but I can see you were having a wonderful time enjoying the lake. And bobsledding!! That was something you had wanted to try! Horseback riding!? That's also very thrilling. So far, you have only ridden on back of a cat.
Little Bear, please make sure you thank the family who found you with all your heart. Not only did they rescue you, but they were kind enough to help you contact me so I wouldn't worry! (and how could we have been so lucky that they would find one of the 5 notes I put out in Lake Placid about your loss!)
Tonight I will sleep better knowing you have been found. But oh, how I do miss you Little Bear. Do you think after you enjoy traveling with your new friends you could come home to Houston? We just got back today and the house is so quiet without you.
Please let me know!
Love, Mama Beth...and Don, too!
My mom gave me this tiny bear over 25 years ago... because I like small things.