Last night we visited family in Long Island as part of our first attempt of dividing the holidays between families. An unexpected delight was meeting a little boy named Lucas, the son of my sister-in-law's sister. Lucas is half (full) Irish, half (full) German, but speaks with a brogue (and I imagine that he speaks German with a brogue as well). He was four, blond, curly-headed, and delightfully grumpy in a very grown-up sort of way. I quickly won him over with a game of thumb war that I threw (though he didn't know that.)
We began our conversation telling each other things. He couldn't tell me the name of his hometown but could tell me how to get to school. He told me his favorite color (light green), about going to Germany for visits and about how he could turn into a monster. When I replied I had also lived in Germany, he remarked (in brogue), "I know that already! I know EVERYTHING!" I asked him if he had any pets. He replied, "Of course I do! I have a cat, a dog, and a bear." A bear? And not just any ordinary bear, but a bear that was ten, no, fifteen, well actually, infinity, but not so old that he needed a walking stick. His name was Jen. I heard a lot about Jen that evening (and eventually about the bear's friend, Jennifer). I left town with images of kindly, elderly bears (of an infinite age) who have finally needed that cane. To the drawing board I go!