UWS Encounters: Grizzly Bears, A ‘Dumb’ Dog, and Lost Companions

The Alaska brown bear diorama in The Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.© AMNH/D. Finnin.

The Bear Truth

My husband was in the Museum of Natural History in the hall with the dioramas of animals from around the world. A father with a young son, about four years old, was there also, looking at a diorama with grizzly bears. The father said to his son, “Those are grizzly bears. Do you know where bears come from?” The little boy looked up at his father and quickly replied, “Chicago!”

— Jean Teuteberg

Zen Dog

I used to think my daughter’s dog was dumb. Not a problem solver, the dog was nevertheless sweet and dutiful. Every day, the dog behaved as if today’s walk in Riverside Park was his first ever: he reintroduced himself to people he had known his whole UWS life and marveled at the “new” dog run.

When my son accompanied my daughter on walks with the dog, they became a trio—each in step with the other two. People joked that they looked like triplets. One day during one of those walks, the boy hung back to check his phone. As my son was about to catch up, the dog looked back and barked happily, seeming to say, “Wow—there you are! Great to see you. Please join us.” The dog jumped on the boy.

Maybe, the dog is not so dumb. He is happy living his life in the moment.

— Helane S. Rosenberg

Lost Companions

The 20th Precinct, on West 82nd Street, has a small open lot which is used for fueling and storing police vehicles. One warm, beautiful day during the height of the AIDS epidemic, I heard the unlikely skirl of bagpipes and, passing the lot, saw a young man, presumably a police officer, in a kilt and undershirt, marching up and down the concrete as though practicing for a parade. Chanter and reed and drone played on and on: The Minstrel Boy, Garryowen, Stars and Stripes Forever. He glanced at me for a moment and must have seen something in my face, for he launched into the most haunting piece of all: Will Ye No Come Back Again? — a lament for the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden. I walked away, followed by the music, dreaming of lost companions.

— Barbara Bonn

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COLUMNS | 3 comments | permalink
    1. Amy Fowkes says:

      The year 1985. Place: city bus in Portland, OR.
      Overheard group of elementary school kids arguing over which Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtle was the best. A few weeks later on the 104 bus traveling between 114th and 98th St. Overheard:Two small boys in school uniform blazers seated together having a very serious conversation about, and I quote, “ the relative merits of coop vs condominium housing”.