When I was young, my Dad did his best to teach me about money. He was always telling me to save for the future, save for emergencies, save for that special thing that you want to buy and to make wise decisions when spending money. I wouldn’t say he was a tightwad, but the terms thrifty and frugal come to mind. I recall a red ski jacket he had back in the 70’s when we went skiing a lot. He and my Mom split up, he moved away, married Carolyn and moved back. In the 90’s when I was visiting him one time, he was showing me something out in his garage and there was that red ski jacket hanging on a hook. It had become his gardening jacket. Even years later when they moved to Kent from the Bellevue house, that jacket was hanging in the garage for when he was tinkering or gardening.
I couldn’t quite get the idea about saving money. I liked it when I was able to open a savings account at the bank and felt important when I would go in to deposit my babysitting money. When I was in my 20’s the idea of saving any money seemed a really foreign concept, I barely had enough to pay rent and buy groceries let alone set aside even five dollars for savings.
But now I need to go back in time a little to when I was 9 or 10 years old. That’s when Brownie came into my life. I had received some money for my birthday and was told I could do with it whatever I wanted, but it would be really wise to put it in the bank and save it, I was also told. I had other plans for that money. It must have been around Christmas when my Mom had taken us into
Frederick and Nelson’s department store to do some shopping. She let us browse in the toy department, it was a wonderful toy department back then. Shelves lined with dolls, stuffed animals, trains and games, all beautifully displayed. There I spied the cutest little bear, in a pretty box with a cellophane cover, her shiny brown eyes peeking out as if to say to me, ‘please, take me home with you.’
Of course I couldn’t. We were shopping for others, not for ourselves. But I didn’t forget about that little bear. It was only two months later, my birthday being in February, when I received the money, likely from my grandparents. I asked my Mom if we could go back to Frederick and Nelson’s where I had seen the little bear to see if I had enough money to buy it. I don’t remember the dollar amount, but there was consternation from my parents on my decision, so it must have been what they felt too much to be spent on a toy that might just get relegated to the back of the shelf when I got tired of playing with it.
That didn’t happen. Brownie went everywhere with me. To the cabin, to my best friends house, she even played dress up with Barbie. As I got older, she didn’t go as often and spent more time with Mary Bear and Ted (the cross-dressing bear, he always wore a dress) on the side lines, but she was always waiting for me. I still have Mary and Ted too. Over the years there were times when she got to come along, but mostly she just waited at home for me.
|Brownie is ready to go!|
Then a few years ago, when Jay and I started traveling away from Arizona in the summer, I thought, we need a mascot. Brownie was willing to step in to that role. She can fit just about anywhere, doesn’t eat much and makes friends easily. It’s been almost 50 years since she came in to my life and has brought me so much happiness. Just looking at her sweet face makes me smile. I just wish my Dad were around to see that it was a good investment, to buy that stuffed bear so long ago. That sometimes spending the money is the better choice than saving it for later.
So that’s some history on Brownie. Now she is my travel buddy, other than Jay and the cats. She gets to go places where the cats don’t go, and to places where Jay won’t go and sometimes with me and Jay. She has an adventurous soul for a stuffed animal and is willing to go outside her comfort zone, except where water is concerned. In that regard she is not a typical bear.
She and I are about to set off in to a new adventure. A solo road trip in the new Subaru Outback, with a mountain bike. With a little help from Jay, I managed to install the trailer hitch and rack onto the new car. I wanted to bring the kayak along, but he didn’t think I needed to be packing that so he took it with him to South Dakota.
Yes, he is solo, well almost solo, he has both cats with him, on his way to South Dakota. He got a job as a Water Technician there for the summer. They were unable to think outside the box for what I suggested a great volunteer job for me would be, so I have no commitment to the park to be there, just to my hubby. More on that later.
Pretty soon Brownie and I will be heading out, first to California to see my sister and her kids. It’s been a long time since we’ve been together and the kids are teenagers now so it will be fun to see them. Brownie might even get to try her hand at lacrosse, that’s the kids’ favorite sport these days, they both play.
After that we will head north up I-5 on our way to Washington. We plan to make a couple of stops in Oregon to visit some friends there, then on to the Seattle area for a few days to connect with some family and friends.
From there we’ll head east over the Cascade Mountains to the beautiful Wenatchee Valley, making a short stop there before making our way across the amber waves of grain to Spokane Valley to see my Mom and my brother. Should be fun for Brownie to see all the wonderful fountains and plants at my brother’s garden nursery there.
Before we know it, it will be time to head further east and south to get ourselves to Custer State Park to meet up with Jay and Ruby and Toby. It will be a happy day when we are all together again.
|in the garden|