The bear in the freezer

There’s a bear in my freezer.

(Not that Bear.)

At Bueker Middle School, we chose electives in the sixth and seventh grade. This is where I learned to play poker — in a “games” class. (I also learned chess. I do not play either very well.) I took the home economics class in the sixth grade, where time was split between cooking, sewing and “household management” (balancing a checkbook, grocery shopping, etc.)

During the cooking part, we baked giant chocolate chip cookies — the size of a pizza. (Which sounds delicious right now.) Mom still has that recipe somewhere.

During the sewing part, we each got to pick a project. More accurate, we each bought a kit. Mine was for a large bear that played Brahms Lullaby (in that high-pitched way that music boxes play songs). He’s a very cute bear, about a foot tall, with a black ribbon around his neck. I stuffed him very full so that he didn’t move very easily.

When I left home for college, the bear stayed, and he’s been there since. Last weekend, when I was at my mother’s, I found the bear with other stuffed animals in a box in the closet of what used to be my room. A box that had not been sealed, so it was very dusty and in all likelihood had seen a mouse or two in its time. (Mom lives out in the country across the street gravel road from a field, and the room hasn’t been used for anything but storage for at least seven years. Random mouse-hunting tip: Set a trap with a chocolate chip. Cheese works. Peanut butter works better. Chocolate works best.)

To clean up the bear (I never named him; I’m not sure why), we threw the bear in a pillowcase, used his ribbon to tie it shut and threw him in to wash. It was a chilly, windy day, so he sat out on the porch in his pillowcase to dry. Then I brought him home and threw him in the freezer: Putting pillows, stuffed animals or toys in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours kills dust mites.

I still haven’t found good tips on how to get the evil out of the other Bear.