2016-11-17 / Pets

Impulse purchase snares polar bear

By Gloria Glasser
Special to The Acorn

Cycling past a community-wide yard sale in the serene, countrified setting of Lynn Ranch in Thousand Oaks, I came upon one driveway where a couple sat on folding chairs.

There was a third folding chai r between them, and on this sat what appeared to be a polar bear.

Lynn Ranch’s rambling properties are typically home to horses, goats, dogs and the occasional parrot, alpaca or potbellied pig.

I took a cautious step backward.

“Oh, he’s not real, dear, but very realistic, isn’t he? He’s from a wildly expensive store in New York City, but we’ve sold our house and are becoming RVers. Room is tight, so Parka must go.”

“Parker? For Sarah Jessica Parker?”

“No, it’s P-a-r-k-a,” the wife spelled out.

“Yeah, he’s named for the fringe on the hood of a parka. His soft white fur reminded me of that,” her husband said. “It’s late in the day, there were no takers, so for a dollar he’s yours. I suppose we could bungee him to your bike rack . . . somehow,” he suggested.

If you watch enough nature documentaries you know polar bears are rather ruthless, vicious killers, not so much the cuddly sort. But I fell right into Parka’s embrace. His fur was sparkling white, so I was careful to not get bike grime all over him. He was quite tall and wide, but made of ultra-lightweight material.

I wasn’t in particular need of a huge stuffed bear, but sometimes you really get your dollar’s worth, so couldn’t resist.

Riding with Parka strapped securely around my midsection, with his front paws creatively handcuffed by kerchief around my neck, his hind legs tucked around my bike rack, I started home to rural Agoura.

Before leaving Lynn Ranch I encountered a little entrepreneur on a street corner, selling lemonade and cookies, who brought the goodies to me as I tipsily balanced bear, bicycle and change purse.

I used to live in the neighboring Wildwood community so am familiar with side streets that parallel busy routes; unfortunately nearly every one of them runs uphill. Being strapped to a big fuzzball made riding uncomfortably hot. Poor pristine Parka was being exposed to a lot of sweat and road grit.

People honked and called various things to us, such as, “The Arctic’s the other direction!”

In our journey’s last lap, a lady I knew vaguely from times we chatted at the Thousand Oaks dog park pulled up beside us in her car. She eyed Parka thoughtfully.

“My mom used to volunteer at a children’s hospital. She still knows people there. I’m sure they can find a lonely little kid

who’d go nuts having a pal like that,” she said, “if you don’t have other plans.”

And that was that. The well-traveled bear’s final destination would be one where he could do the most good.

Glasser is a writer fascinated by all manner of natural phenomena surrounding her home in the Santa Monica Mountains. Reach her at ranchomulholla@gmail.com.

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