Comfort Creatures
by Pat Carbonell

radarbear.jpgOkay, anybody remember Radar O'Reilly and his teddy bear? How fierce he was in defending his attachment to it? How Hawkeye and the others actually seemed to sort of respect the fact that this little quiet dude was willing to take all that abuse to keep his comfort creature with him? I think in some ways they wished they'd had his guts. Would have made for fewer hangovers.

Think about that, my friends. What is more emotionally satisfying: cuddling up to a stuffed animal you love (or even live furry friends) or cuddling up to a 24-pack when life makes you feel like shit?

Me, I vote for the comfort creatures.

When I was five, my folks gave me a stuffed horse named Horace for Christmas. Horace was my size (at five). He took up half my bed, but he was my best buddy when my older sisters were acting like older sisters (they used me as a rope for tug-a-war once and dislocated both my elbows).

Horace has stayed with me through the years. I still have him, although he's wrapped up in the closet waiting for me to have the time to fix the spots that have worn through over the years. He's old enough to run for President - damn, he'd be an improvement!

When I was about 12 we briefly had a puppy that thought Horace was his mother. He slept all cuddled up to him. Unfortunately, my brother was toilet training at the time and running around naked half the time, and the puppy thought those bouncing dangling things were puppy toys - we found a new home for the puppy. But Horace stayed.

horace.jpgWhen I was pregnant Horace made it back to my bed. I didn't find out I was knocked up until after Nayland and I had broken up, so there I was, seriously depressed and pregnant, with a very empty double bed. I slept with Horace. He was big enough to cuddle up to, and having him there made me feel I wasn't quite so alone.

I've since graduated to cats.

So has my mother. She has one cat, Escher, who is a 14-year-old big calico longhair. Escher sleeps with her, every night. Mom goes to sleep with the cat tucked into her belly, with her hand buried in fur. When Mom's having a bad night, Escher will move up to sit right next to Mom's head and will stay there, eyes locked on Mom's face until she closes her eyes - then she moves back to the belly-tuck.

The last time Mom was in the hospital, we took her floppy stuffed turtle Myrtle to her, so she had something Escher-sized to cuddle with in her hospital bed. She sat with Myrtle in her arms, and wouldn't go to sleep without Myrtle on the pillow next to her.

Then her grandkids from Iowa got her a floppy stuffed white bear, and Myrtle has been displaced to just her bed. The Bear, which doesn't have a name but is now Mom's baby, goes everywhere. Bear rides her walker to the bathroom, gets cuddled in her chair, and lies on her lap under her tray table when she eats her meals. Mom talks to the bear, which can be hysterically funny to listen to. She's also used the bear to whomp on me, and I'm pretty sure she was more worried that she may have hurt the bear than me. That's okay. If Bear survives until Mom passes away, I swear I am going to have Bear put in the casket with her. I don't care if Dad's waiting for her, she should not go into eternity without her comfort bear.

Maybe that should get added to the list of things that we learned in kindergarten for lifelong wisdom: always hold hands when going out into the world, cookies and milk solve almost any problem, afternoon naps are a good thing, always share your toys... and keep your comfort bear with you always.

Despite all this talk, Pat is not a furry. I think.

Vermont Village Witch Archives


Nope, not a furry. Offspring of one of the world's great hairless wonders - but I've been told I'm great to cuddle up with; you can ask my kid, my cats, every baby I've ever held, and the many men from my sordid past and present...


The eldest of my three youngers sisters had a little stuffed kitten (Kee-Kee).

When she couldn't find it, she would scream bloody murder. You would do ANYTHING to find that friggin cat.

After 30 minutes of panicked, frantic searching, I opened the oven.

And found kee kee.

Thank God.


My bear came to live w/ Stick and me... because Stick thought it was horrible that I even suggested letting my bear live at my mom's house.


Except for the years I lived in the barracks with a roommate, I've slept with something snuggable, alive or stuffed. Cats for the longest time. Now Maximum Dawg shares his time between my wife and I when she and I aren't snuggling. He tends to resent that but that ain't gonna stop me.


I don't snuggle with him, he sits on a shelf with Bart Simpson below and Alvin the Chipmunk above, but I still have my Snoopy[tm] from childhood. He has a wicked scar across his neck, from having such a big melon and being dragged around by a little kid. (He's to scale of his drawing self; ginormous noggin.)


When I was young I was given a stuffed chimp named Clarence. I still have him, minus one eyeball. He now sits on a shelf in my room facing the tv (so he won't get bored). Since then my comfort creature is actually a necklace I wear. Dear ol' Mom (AKA Pat) handed this necklace down to me the day I graduated from high school. Its a Celtic Cross pendant that she'd worn for as long as I can remember. I wear it everyday and at night. I only take it off to shower. The few times I've forgotten to put it back on, I couldn't go to sleep until I'd found it and put it back on my neck. I just feel very secure, safe, comfortable with it around my neck. It reminds me of getting a hug from my mom (and she does give THE BEST Mom-hugs EVER!!!


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