So I am just finishing off some salmon and wiping my mouth with the sleeve of my Leafs sweater when the phone calls start coming in.
“Carlton,” the reporters say. “We understanding you are retiring. It’s all over the news.”
“What? “ I say.
“Haven’t you heard?”
“Fire up your internet, radio or television. Do you live in a cave or something?”
I let that one pass. Truth is, I don’t watch the news much. I’m a bear. The only time we are on the news is when one of us gets loose in some neighborhood and people tranquilize us.
I’m a reader, myself. Between books, Leaf games, appearances and coming in and out of hibernation just in time to eat a dozen of Burkie’s dogs, my schedule is pretty full.
One of my favourite authors is Mark Twain who once said “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Substitute death for retirement and a silver haired guy for a dashing, lovable bear and the story is pretty much the same.
Kids, Carlton the Bear is not retiring. For one thing, I don’t even have enough saved up for a half decent ice floe.
You talk to other bears and they say ‘how many times a day can you go fishing or pose for tourist pictures?’
Nope, to a bear they tell you they wish they had stayed on the job.
And what a job? Meeting kids, high-fiving hockey players. My message machine is jammed with friends asking if they can take over my job. Vultures. And not just them, storks and aardvarks too.
So for all you bear lovers, and who isn’t, I have a message.
Never fear. Your friend, Carlton The Bear will always be here.