Noel and His Christmas Friends

By Ann La Mar

(Illustration by Miki de Goodaboom, based on photographs by Ann La Mar)

As usual every few weeks I meet my friend for tea. This evening was just the same I set off early to avoid the rush hour traffic as it is normally gridlocked at this hour. To my surprise there was little traffic and plenty of parking spaces. I was now fifteen minutes early and my friend was sure to be five minutes late. I decided to go for a walk in the high street and headed towards the town Christmas  tree, it was all blue and sparkly and looked  lovely against the dark sky. I knew Miki would like it and we are having a sort of virtual Christmas so I took a picture to send her. It has become a favourite pastime of mine to find festive things she would like. The Christmas tree was on the cobbles outside the Oxfam shop. I have discovered that charity shops are a great place to find Teddy bears, although it is a bit sad because they are all there to find new homes.
This evening I was not disappointed, the window had three festive teddy bears displayed all sitting looking out at the Christmas tree. I just had to take pictures of them to send Miki later.
The next morning I was telling MIki about my evening and sent her the pictures. A few minutes later I heard my phone beep, it was miki saying how gorgeous the bears were and a message:

“Ann, is there a chance for me to get this one? But only if it does not mean too much work for you to go back there. I want a Christmas bear, Christmas is so special this year with you sharing everything with me…”

I needed to go to town so I set of on a mission to buy the Christmas bear, hoping he would still be there. If so it was meant to be and Miki would have her bear. As I parked another message arrived…the bear already had a name…

“If I get the bear, I will call him Noel… this is Bernard’s second name… always loved it…”

Now I must get Noel…I didn’t have a plan B if he wasn’t there and Miki would be devastated now he had a name. I got to Oxfam I hardly dare look in the window….what a relief he was sitting waiting for me. I went inside and asked the man if he would take him from the window for me…he was so gentle with him and said:

Isn’t he a lovely chap!”

I could tell he was a bear lover so I told him he was going to live in Spain with my friend who is an artist and paints teddy bears. He was genuinely interested and he said:

“Well he is dressed and ready to travel, he will have a lovely time”.

I payed and he gently handed him over. I was and am so happy to get him. I cannot begin to explain my feelings as I know how much Noel means to Miki.
I was now carrying Noel in his fine Christmas outfit in the high street…lots of people smiled at us…I’m sure it cheered them up on such a dreary day. I got him back to the car and took his picture to send to Miki with a message..

“Merry Christmas …get ready to welcome Noel!”

Not long after she replied:

“OH MON DIEU!!!! HE IS GORGEOUS!!! Even more from front! I adore him! And a robin!!! and he is going on a drive with Audrey and Ann!!! I am so happy Ann!!!! SO HAPPY! Can’t take my eyes from him, he symbolises so well that special Christmas for me...”

I had to go and visit my dad so Noel came with me in the car (Audrey).
He looked so cute sitting by my side..I wanted to hug him.
As soon as we were home we went to see all my bears and take some pictures for Miki…I’m sure by now Truffle will have seen pictures of Noel his new family member..
It was decided that he will spend Christmas in the UK with his cousins before travelling to Spain in January. We are all delighted to have him stay with us and we will give him a lovely Christmas. Miki and Truffle will get many pictures. Noel is quite happy with Fluffle and Travis…he will sleep in ‘Miki’s room’.