First a shaggy gray paw and then a coal black nose, then those royal blue, as the lid first lifted, then slid, and then fell to the floor. It was Baron, my first stuffed bear, crawling over the side of the toy box, holding on to the edge for a moment before letting go to short drop to the floor.
He surveyed the room and then motioned for the next bear to come. Old Smoky, the color of dark chocolate and the growl of a always hungry ... well, bear. I chuckled when Old Smoky didn't quite land on his feet, causing him to roll over nd over until he came to rest against the Baron sturdy legs. Baron shook his head at his clumsy friend, shussing him for making such noise. Though I could hear nothing but the ssshhh itself.
Smoky righted himself and joined Baron in encouraging the next in line to dare try. They seemed to be having trouble getting the next one to come. And then I began to see why they were having such trouble. That dark brown nose on the tip of that blue-green fur gave me my first hint as to who might be. But it was that timid "I'm-not-sure-if-I-should" look that gave it away, it was Fuzzy. Always reluctant to be the first to try any new adventure, but I knew he would come with the help of Big Brown Griz who gave him a push from behind. In one full head over heels tumble, Fuzzy fell to the floor. And looking down at him from above, smiled the naughty big brother grin of Big Griz.
Griz came down in a very Griz way. With one swing over the edge, he hopped down in a very competent way. Showing off? Possibly, for Griz was known to brag a bit about all that he could do, and sometimes to brag of things that he could do not do. As Smoky was shaggy and dark chocolate, so Griz was smooth and the brown of creamy, hot chocolate.
Then with Griz as the base, and Smoky as the next, Baron on the top reached over the edge of the box and lifted young Grey Bear out of the box, handing the little fellow down from bear to bear paw. I had forgotten how cute, cute could be, until I saw once again baby Grey, who had somehow grown older through the passing o thes years.
There is the starlight and the glow of the golden fire, I watched all my childhood friends, the best friends I ever did have, come to life again, once before my sleepy eyes.
All this took place in the thirteenth hour of a November night in the November of my life.