Lovin’ my real stuffed animals, don’tcha know

By Jerelyn Craden
Why if ‘ol Maybelle doesn’t love stuffed animals. Yes, dear reader, I’m speaking of MY stuffed animals: Sarah, the terribly feminine teddy bear who sleeps on my pillow in a pink tutu, Tillie Turtle, the softest little green cuddly thing you ever want to see, Benny Bunny, a bedraggled little rabbit that I’ve loved down to his threads, and Benny’s Buddy, a little mouse who loves Benny more than the sun loves to shine, don’tcha know.
Yes, ol’ Maybelle is a stuffed animal lover. Have I ever been in the closet about it? Never. In fact, I advocate loud and proud for the Inner Child in all of us to be alive and well and experience the wonder and magic in things, and people, and, yes, even stuffed animals through our old narrowing eyes. To experience awe in the way that that crazy over-used but totally appropriate, at times, word appears: awesome. To ol’ Maybelle’s Inner Child, it’s more accurately: awe and then some.
And I do wonder as I get into bed each night and say hello to my wee stuffed family of friends who wait for me, perched on a crocheted pillow cover – what have you been doing all day? What adventures have you exhausted? Surely, you weren’t just sitting here pretending to be inanimate objects. Surely, you’re just staring into space because you’re just plain downright pooped.
Now, if I do know anything, I have learned to be open to allowing myself to imagine what the scientists tell us, like the string theory. That while we are living the everyday life we know; at the same time, we are living nine or more parallel existences. What a concept, eh?
So, I’m leaving space for Sarah, Tillie Turtle, Benny Bunny and Benny’s Buddy to be having all kinds of wild adventures in their own realities. At least, in ‘ol Maybelle’s imaginings, I hope they’re having fun.
Now, every time I take a walk during these long cold snow and icy winter months, and pass by people who are out in the fresh air with their beloved pooches, my heart smiles for the energy and friendliness of the dog, and the loving bond that I see between pooch and master. Or as pooch owners really feel, their roles are: mom and dad. And, at the same time, I quietly think, thank goodness I don’t HAVE to walk my stuffed animals two, three times a day in blustery cold weather. Or for that matter, during black fly and mosquito season. I don’t NEED to take them to the vet and pay bank-breaking sums of money for peace of mind and heart. I just grab a needle and thread when they need some mending and they’re good to go. And, as for food … all they need is love. La-la-la-la-la. All they need is love!
Then there’s the new AI (Artificial Intelligence) stuffed pooches. Why, statistics show that they are super soothing for folks who have Alzheimer’s, and those whose mobility is dramatically curbed. An AI pooch will respond to the softest touch. In fact, their fur feels so real you wouldn’t know the difference. They look straight into your eyes with so much sweetness that you either get diabetes immediately or you melt like a pound of butter. And they sit quietly in one place – on your lap. A real genuine artificial lap dog.
Truth be told, ‘ol Maybelle has witnessed such tremendous grief of friends who lost their precious pets, that it gave me pause. Like my dear friend, Beanpole Starkman. Why, when Mister, his Heinz 57 died, I thought we were going to lose Beanpole, too. Why that tall glass of water had his big heart broken into so many pieces I thought we’d never put Humpty Starkman back together again.
Hence – Sarah (my teddy bear), Tilly Turtle, Benny Bunny and Benny’s Buddy are my treasures of choice. No fuss, no muss, and plenty of lovin’. And the adventures they tell me, why my Inner Child is as happy as a kid in a story-time candy store. And all I have to do is be there, don’tcha know.

Maybelle’s Fireside Stories is written by Jerelyn Craden. “Maybelle’s Cure for What Ails You,” 21 of Maybelle’s best short stories is now available at www.amazon.com.