The Saga of Big Bear

Every night we play Go Fish before Byron goes to bed. It is our favorite family ritual. Our deck has 26 matches, each match featuring a letter of the alphabet and an animal. The cleverest part is, one half of each match has the adult animal and capital letter; the other has the baby animal and the lowercase letter.*

The deck has been around since before B. was born and is no longer available. Anyway, sometimes Byron gets a little kooky bananas at the end of the game and scatters the cards. One evening we realized Big Bear was missing. We played for weeks with one of the instructions cards subbing for mama bear. We looked everywhere for that card, and sometimes when I had half an hour I would go looking for it again: through the drawers and cupboards and bookshelves and baskets in the living room, in different rooms in case somebody had absentmindedly carried it off. After a month we gave up. It became almost a joke to suggest we look for it some more.

The other night my wife was out, so B. and I played alone. He started asking me knowingly every time if I had a bear card. It turns out he and A. had found the missing card earlier that day and restored it to the deck, and he had it in his hand, and he couldn’t wait to make the match so I could see that they’d found it. And as crazy as it sounds it kinda feels like with the big bear back where she belongs, everything is going to be all right.

*In case you’re curious: Alligator, Bear, Cow, Duck, Elephant, Frog, Goat, Horse, Iguana, Koala, Iguana, Jaguar, Koala, Lion, Mouse, Narwhal, Orangutan, Pig, Quail, Rhinoceros, Squirrel, Turtle, Umbrella Bird, Vulture, Walrus, foX, Yak, Zebra

P.S. I was thinking of writing an entire post about the movie Inside Out, but I don’t think I have a blog entry’s worth to write about it, especially avoiding spoilers. I’ll just say that I’m heartened that an ordinary kid can drive a major summer movie: no superpowers, no wizard scars. The gimmick behind it is genius, and I think it’s a good conceit for the turbulence of childhood. This might be the most “middle grade” movie ever made. And I see it as radical that a major summer movie can be a movie about a girl’s feelings.

Byron is with me now and I read him this entire entry. He wants me to add that the movie has a scary clown it. You have been warned!

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