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If you love Care Bears – honk

FRANK PIAZZA

West Wyoming, Pa.

While biking the Pine Creek Rail-Trail, four of us had just passed a den of four timber rattlesnakes sunning on a rock. Thinking this was the highlight of our trip, we mounted our bikes and continued southward on the trail when all four of us simultaneously stopped, inhaled and held our breath. There (about 20 yards to the right and across Route 414) was a six foot, pink Care Bear. At first we thought we had taken a wrong turn, landed in the “Land of Care-a-lot” and had come face to face with Cheer Bear herself. But after a few moments we surmised that it was only a young man in his early 20s, wearing a pink Care Bear suit who was duct-taped to the telephone pole. Duct-taped to his chest was a sign that said “If you love Care Bears — Honk.”

Around his ankle was a ball and chain and in his one free arm was a rather large (but almost empty) schooner of ale. Across the creek in a clearing were about 20 or so young men (all with similar schooners) who were quietly watching our Care Bear. Occasionally there would be a shout followed by group mumblings of approval (reminiscent of the scene in Men In Black 2 where Agent K opens the door to locker C-18 in a train station and the alien population living there chants “All Hail K…”.).

So we weren’t in the Land of Care-a-lot, but this was still a once-in-a-lifetime event so we engaged our Care Bear in conversation.

“Hey. What’s your name?”

Brent.

“What are you doing?”

I’m getting married.

“If you’re getting married, why are you duct-taped to a telephone pole?”

“I mean I’m getting married soon (looks at his watch) Friday the 22nd. This is my bachelor party (cheers from across the creek).”

Now, my friends and I have a combined matrimonial experience of more than 60 years. We tried to talk him out of it.

“Look, you’re in a pink bear suit duct-taped to a telephone pole … it only goes downhill from there,” we joked.

He mumbled something about it’s already set so there was nothing he could do about it.

We would have honked to signify we love Care Bears but we were on bicycles. Someone from across the creek hollered, “ring the bell.”

My friend rang her bicycle bell vigorously and the crowd cheered in gleeful response.

As we said our good-byes and rode away, we realized what a great moment we had just experienced and that much was left unsaid.

To our Care Bear Brent and his bride-to-be, “We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!”

May the blessing of God’s soft rain be on you,

Falling gently on your head, refreshing your soul

With the sweetness of little flowers newly blooming.

May the strength of the winds of Heaven bless you,

Carrying the rain to wash your spirit clean

Sparkling after in the sunlight.

May the blessing of God’s earth be on you,

And as you walk the roads,

May you always have a kind word

for those you meet.

— Irish Blessing

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