The Teddy Bear in the tree

Published Dec 27, 2017 at 4:00pm

Having lived in Rome for over 20 years, I cease to be amazed at how great a place it is to walk around. I’ve pretty well covered the inner city from stem to stern, but still come across unknown alleyways.  Exploration of these new discoveries makes me feel fifty years younger!  Rome must have been a really fun place to roam growing up; especially back when they still scattered coal cinders on ice.

One of my favorite jaunts is walking south down North George Street.  There is something reverent about the old slate sidewalks. I often reflect on those who have tread the slate before me; as one might reflect in years to come on the quick of today.  They too will eventually become passing shadows; just another remote pedestrian who has trodden that same path as the famous, and infamous of Rome, New York.

I’ve walked many towns and cities during my life time, both foreign and domestic, but Rome is very special. It happens to be extremely safe too. Where else can you find a smiling and waving gentleman raking his lawn, with his house cat by his side, crouching next to a pile of leaves?  This time of year adds special significance, with all the Christmas decorations and lights added by its citizens, and the city. It’s a magical experience on a cool crisp night with light snow flurries; right after the sun goes down.  

By the time I arrive home back from my walk, the young couple across the street has their house lit up. Its awe inspiring, as people arrive by the car load to witness their sound synchronized light show, on the hour during the holidays.  

Recently while walking west on one of those side streets named after trees, erroneously in this instance; there are at least four enormous oak trees, I came across a Teddy Bear perched in a tree facing the sidewalk. Like Robert Frost’s horse on a snowy evening, it stopped me right in my tracks!  

It appeared to be a young bear, about the size of a two year old child. The statement made by the serendipitous placement of said Teddy Bear spoke volumes about the citizenry of Rome, and their obvious good nature.  I’m still baffled as to the true message conveyed by placement of well-meaning bear; but remain optimistic that someone might furnish it with a sweater, hat, and mittens, during the cold winter months ahead.

— Billy Magee, Rome