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7 August is Harper’s birthday; she is eleven years old today.  She is visibly older, graying and slowing down. Sometimes she is so sound asleep it worries me but then she perks right up for a treat or a dog-walk. May she have many more years of good health and happiness.

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While packing up after Mother’s passing I often wondered why she saved what she did and more than once I had frustration at her holding onto the rubbish. However I was grateful she held onto some things. For example: this teddy bear. It’s mine. It is my childhood bear. He has the precise if unimaginative name of Teddy.  I used to tie bow ties on Teddy usually apropos for the season. He’s worn this Christmas yarn bow tie for nearly forty year I reckon.

Teddy has a scandalous story. Through love and constant companionship I wore him out to the point Teddy was threadbare and falling apart. Mother told me he was looking sickly and we would send him to “The teddy bear hospital” for rejuvenation and have his gaping stitches resewed.  A week later Mother revealed a large box that had arrived in the post: it was Teddy back from his admission!  Once again he was fuzzy! He was bright and beautiful as if brand new. Then I wore him out again as seen in the photo. Only the onset of adolescence stopped a second near-complete demise.

Years later Mother confessed she had thrown Teddy out and had simply bought a new identical one. It is the only time I have ever known her to lie to me – other than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the trustworthiness of the police.