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200330 March 30, 2020


Teddy Bear

Tennessee Mayor Encourages City-Wide ‘Bear Hunt’
To Spread Joy While Families Social-Distance
The Patriot's Report
March 28, 2020

    Social distancing may have the world isolated for now, but creative minds are hard at work to distract anyone needing a break from life’s uncertainty and worry. From drive-in confessionals to drive-by birthday parades, people are using their vehicles in safe, innovative ways to get out of the house and gain back a little normalcy. That’s why Keith McDonald, the mayor of Bartlett, Tennessee, suggested that resident families with small children hop into their cars and go on a neighborhood bear hunt.

    Now, at first thought, a search for bears doesn’t make much sense in western Tennessee, where the bear population is extremely low and sightings are rare. But that’s what makes Mayor McDonald’s idea so creative. Instead of live bears, families are hunting stuffed ones.

    Inspired by the beloved children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, the hunt has participants placing teddy bears in the front windows of their houses so that families can drive around trying to spot the bears. According to KSAT-TV, the children’s book and the song begin with the line: “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. I’m not scared. What a beautiful day!” When a bear is spotted, the fearless hunters are encouraged to capture their findings on camera and post them on social media sites.

    The Daily News Journal shared how Shanna Bonner Groom got things rolling in her Stewart Springs neighborhood in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. After Groom posted her plan on Facebook, at least 60 homes agreed to put bears in their windows for the kids to find.

    But it’s not just Tennessee that’s having all the fun. “Multiple sightings” in Levelland and Lubbock, Texas, were reported by KCBD. Even Cookie Monster and a couple of unicorns showed up in neighborhoods in Iowa, according to KCCI.

    The game is also transforming as participants add rainbows to their window displays. KSAT pointed out that during troubled times, some parents say, the rainbow scavenger hunt can remind everyone to see the good instead of the bad. And while this game may be intended for children, it can also be a much needed distraction for adults. “Many of the adults in our neighborhood are eager to participate because we remember the song,” Shanna Bonner Groom told the Daily News Journal. “It brings back wonderful memories.”

    At the end of the children’s book, the family vows to never go bear hunting again. But it’s probably safe to say that many families will venture out of their homes for another round of this “social-distancing-approved scavenger hunt.”

Bear Facts
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        It may seem a little odd, but even being a 73-year-old male I still have at least a couple of stories about Teddy Bears I had in my past – and still do. I recall having two of them as a kid growing up in Huntsville. It’s funny, because before starting on this story I only recalled having one bear, but as I started searching for the words to express my thoughts, I remember I really had two I now remember. One was a smaller one of maybe 20 inches that was a combination of black and white fur, although I cannot remember which parts of him were black and which were white. Yes, to me it was a “him” and I do not recall him ever having a name. He was a little ratty-fuzzy critter and his stuffing was quite loose which made his arms, legs, and head very flexible. I also do not remember anytime he was the only bear in my life or even where he came from. He seemed to have always been a sidekick for another bear of mine.

The bear I remember the most was the one I was pictured with, and of whom I have the real story of him coming to live with me. My other bear of my early past was a standard size, in my mind, bear which was yellow and brown. Sometime after a visit to the Madison County Fair I was upset because either I had tried to win a bear or the person who took me to the fair had tried unsuccessfully to win one for me. For whatever reason, my maternal grandmother felt sorry for me and decided to get me one. She knew someone who had connections with a store or company which supplied prizes for fairs and carnivals and she arranged for the man to purchase one for me. I seem to recall it cost about $3.00 at the time. I was about eight years old at the time so it must have been around 1954. We have a tendency to think of purchases in today’s money but in fact, $3.00 in 1954 would be equivalent to $28.85 today. Anyway, I was elated to finally have my very own Teddy Bear. He also never had a name.

My two bears became an integral part of my life, serving as comforting bed partners and mortal enemies to fight and wrestle. They would be tossed through the air, attacked with rubber dart guns, and served as sparring partners constantly. But, as with many of our early toys, somewhere along the line the two bears seemed to have gained their freedom and were no longer a part of my life, except in my memory. 

        The next bear in my life was a “family” bear which was acquired when I was stationed in England. We took a lot of VHS movies with us when we moved there and one of the family’s favorite was “The Pink Panther Strikes Again.” In one part of it Peter Sellers encounters a beekeeper with hilarious results. Somewhere we came upon a Furskins bear dressed as a beekeeper and bought it. I do not know why, but I could not seem to get rid of it and now it spends a lot of its time sitting in a rocking chair in my living room.

The Beekeeper

        Jump ahead in my life and we arrive today. In response to the “Bear Hunt” idea I crawled up in my attic and found the big red and white bear which I have sat in the bench on my front porch for kids to find. 

    The story about the big bear is interesting. Back around 1975 I was on nuclear alert at Carswell AFB, Texas, and a bunch of us were talking about the carnival game where you shoot a red star out of a paper target with a automatic BB gun. Someone told me the secret was not to aim at the star but to make one continuous burst around the outside of the star to clear it completely from the target. The following weekend my ex-wife Carol and I went to Six Flags over Texas, parked out in the boonies and went into the park. One of the first things we came to was one of the Automatic BB Gun contests with big Teddy Bears as prizes.I decided to go on a bear hunt. I told Carol I had learned how to win and paid my 50 cents to try. I got the gun, aimed outside the star, and pulled the trigger and shot around and around the red star. I held the fire for a continuous bust and did not quit until the BBs ran out. When the barker pulled in my target there was not one shred of red showing so I won the Big Bear. So I was handed the Big Bear and there I was holding it in both arms. Since we had just entered the park I had to get a pass and take it back to the car parked in the boonies. On the way home we went through the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike toll booth and the bear was sitting strapped into the back seat. The toll taker did a double take when she saw it and we just laughed. We never gave it a name either. 

    So, in a way, I have had my own bear hunt remembering the bears in my life. I will now go on another bear hunt for stories about the bears in your lives if you would like to share them.

Automatic BB Gun


        Memphis, TN - So far so good. All of my company has gone and Sue and I are hunkered down. Our only outing has been a quick trip to the local market to pick up a few necessities. I hope all of you are staying safe.

    I am going to suspend announcements for all upcoming events except for the Reunion scheduled in September for now. I will remind you the Lee Lunch Bunch for next month has been postponed until a later date.

    This week I will try again to distribute the publication notices, so we shall see how the email works now.

This Week's Name That Tune Group
Songs for Social Distancing

Songs for Social Distancing


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Valuable

Escoe German Beatty

LSH '67

    I am only a ’gamer’ for Cookie Jam and Magic Puzzles but, YOU are definitely the “Most Valuable Player” as far as the Fami-Lee is concerned!!!   

So sorry to learn about Sue’s children’s loss…we just never know what will happen next.  Glad to know you are an ‘old pro’ at foxhole living… the rest of us are resorting to working in the yard and washing windows for entertainment.  I still have hopes of collecting my thoughts  about the “Amber Ashes” adventures and I may have to resign myself and get around to it if this quarantine continues much longer!  (If I don’t do it soon I may not be able to remember much about it!)

You two stay safe and weather the storms!!  To my favorite author, publisher and bestie old friend your Cheerleader!


Subject:    Gamers

Max Kull

LSH '67

    Sounds like we traveled some of the same game trails.  I still have a basement full of old Avalon Hill board games...D-Day, Stalingrad, Anzio, Midway, Bismarck, Gettysburg, Source of the Nile, Outdoor Survival, and the list goes on.  My acquisitions were not limited to A-H titles so I have assorted 3M bookshelf games, TSR titles, and a boatload of sports titles from Sports Illustrated, Gamecraft, Status-Pro, APBA, and others.  I could probably start a museum.  The biggest problem with many of these, especially the war games was finding a willing opponent.  I'm hoping that one day I might pass these treasures on to my grandkids but they would have to be weened off (at least partially) their electronics.  The gratification cycle for board games is necessarily longer than for computer titles.

    Like you, I eventually moved to the computer to scratch my gaming itch.  My main "go to" from the 90's until today has been the Sid Meier's Civilization franchise.  It's now up to version 6 and is the grand-daddy of what's called 4x games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate).   You start out in 4000BC with a settler and a military unit and try to build a civilization to dominate all your computer opponents into the near future "2000's".  It can be seriously addictive and if you google "just one more turn", many of the hits will point to this series.  There's a satiric take on this on youtube for a support group called "CivAnon" (link attached).  Anyway, during our enforced social distancing, I've been playing a lot.  In my current game, I'm playing as Vlad III of Romania.  I have no personal animosity toward Australia (John Curtin),  but he had oil and I didn't so I had to take him out.  Having no oil seriously impacts your ability to keep an adequate supply of "peacekeeping" tanks and bombers.  It had to be done. 😉

    If anyone out there is becoming bored with binge streaming and facebook and thinks a few of hours of gaming could break up the monotony, you can head over to "Good Old Games" (  No matter what level of PC hardware you have and what kind of game genre interests you, they have tons of classic titles that can be had for the price a fast food meal.

    No matter how you're passing the time, stay safe, sane, and healthy out there.

Subject:    Staying In

Kerry Duvall

    Tommy, even though I didn’t graduate from Lee High School I was born in Huntsville in 1949 and I enjoy reading your articles. I thought you might find this interesting. In this new age of grocery delivery services like Instacart, etc.. I remember distinctly that my grandparents, who lived in the Lincoln Mill Village, would pick up the phone, almost everyday, and call in a grocery order to the Lincoln Food Center on Meridian (owned by Bill Byrom) and their groceries would be delivered directly to their table! I guess they were way ahead of their time! Keep up the good work!

Save the Date!
September 25 & 26, 2020
LHS Reunion
The Westin at Bridge Street
Huntsville, AL

More Information to Come Later
Reunion Contacts
Ann Wilson Redford (
Niles Prestage (
Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter (

This Week's Name That Tune Group



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