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Pioneer Life


After several excellent, but rather hectic, adventures early this year, I was looking forward to a quiet May.My thoughts were turning to grade three friends, and the rapidly approaching end of the school year. I knew I would miss them terribly once they headed off for summer holidays and grade four.So it was great to have the chance to spend time with them.They really enjoyed hearing about my adventures in Torino, Berlin, Boston (again) and Kobe.Of course I love recounting my adventures at least as much as they enjoyed hearing them.Before long it was just like old times.I always enjoy being in school.It takes me back to my days in Bear School in Geneva.I have many fond memories of school, especially the outdoor activities.A large part of Bear School is learning important bear skills like catching fish, and recognizing the best places to find wild berries.We took many field trips into the mountains around Geneva so we could keep practicing our skills until we were all experts.


My traveling companion mentioned the school trip on one of our many airplane trips.The flights are often very long, and I have begun to find them rather boring.My traveling companion laughs when I get bored.He says that means Iím becoming a seasoned traveler.I just think it means there isnít very much to do when you have to sit in one small seat for many hours.Thank heavens I donít have long legs!He likes to read email, but I donít get that much email.Maybe someday that will change, but for now Iíd rather talk about where we have been, and where we might go in the future. When I asked about future trips, he said my grade three friends would be visiting a pioneer village before the end of June.They go to learn about the survival skills that were essential for the pioneers.At first I found this very confusing.I know survival skills would have been important for the pioneers, but it seemed to me that these skills would be just as important today.After all, the skills I was taught at Bear School were exactly the same skills that my father, grandfather, and great grandfather had been taught when they went to school.I thought my friends should be learning survival skills in school, rather than seeing them in a Pioneer village.My traveling companion laughed and said that you might think that, but youíd be wrong.For people, things have changed a lot since the time of their great grandparents.In fact, he told me there have even been major changes since he was a child.I gave him that look I use when people think they can fool me because I am just a bear with a small brain. He looked hurt, and assured me it was true.I was not convinced, so he began telling me about the things that were different.They only had one channel on TV, and it was in black and white. There were no VCRís, and certainly no DVDs. Music came from very large black things he called records, rather than from CDs.The really strange bit was that the records had music on both sides.I still wouldnít believe that one, if he hadnít showed me one of his records.It just seemed too weird to be true. Computers were bigger than a house, and much more expensive than one. No one had ever heard of a video game, much less played one.Iím not even going to tell you about what he had for a bathroom, but letís just say he convinced me.By the end of the flight I decided I was definitely going on that field trip to see how the Pioneers had lived.


There was another reason I wanted to go on the field trip.Iíve been on many excellent adventures, and Iíve told my grade three friends all about them.They always seem to enjoy my stories, but they have never been in one of the adventures.This was a chance to change that.So when my traveling companion said he was going to Chicago, I said that ordinarily Iíd love to go with him, but not this week. I was going to the Pioneer village instead.He said I was going to miss a very exciting conference about telephones, and that he was sure Iíd find it more interesting than pioneers.I raised my eyebrow, and gave him my best ďyou must be madĒ look.That seemed to work. He never brought it up again.


As it turns out, it might have been exciting to go with him.On the way to the airport, one wheel fell off his car.I kid you not!Letís just say that cars work much better when they have all four wheels.Exciting as that might have been, Iím still glad I went on the class trip.We learned all about farming, and how they made their own clothing from sheepís wool.But the most amazing thing was the stores they had in pioneer days.They were very, very small.It made me glad Iím not a pioneer bear.














We spent a great day, learning all about pioneers, and enjoying the outdoors.Being a bear, I love being outdoors, especially in the countryside.I know that may sound strange when you think of all the cities Iíve been to, and how much I enjoy them.Iíve even told you how much I love the green spaces in places like Boston.I do enjoy city parks, but Iím beginning to realize it just isnít the same as being in the countryside.It surprises me a bit when I say that, but I think seeing all those cities makes me enjoy the country more than ever.


When my traveling companion returned from Chicago, he told me all about the ďexcitingĒ things he had seen at the telephone show.I tried to look interested, and to keep from yawning too much, but it was very difficult.I donít know how he manages it.He did mention that Julianne and Cindy had been looking forward to seeing me again.That made me a little sad, but I know that I will have a chance to see them again on another trip.Then, almost as an afterthought, he mentioned there had been another conference at the same convention center.Just to be polite, I asked him what it was.My eyes opened wide when I heard the other show was the ďAll Candy ExpoĒ. I was instantly wide awake.If Iíd been there, I would have checked it out.Iím sure they would have let me go to their show instead of the telephone show.Everyone knows how much bears like candy, and how boring they think telephones are.



Iíll be honest, that did make me think for a minute or two.I began to wonder if I should have gone to Chicago after all, but it didnít take long for me to decide I was still glad Iíd gone to Upper Canada Village.You can get candy anywhere, but really good friends are priceless.Hmmm, I think you could make that one into a commercial.


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