Silly Old Bear

© Paul O'Rear

© Paul O’Rear

[NOTE: Prior to launching this blog – – I had a blog entitled “Silly Old Bear”. Most of the content of that blog was merged with this one, leaving Silly Old Bear defunct. The article below was taken from the “About” page at Silly Old Bear. I wanted to post it here in order to preserve it before taking down the old blog. The graphic above served as the masthead at Silly Old Bear.]

Once there was a little boy who was camping in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. He made friends with another boy who was camping there, who lived on the other side of the small woods.One day this boy decided to go visit his friend. So he set off through the woods. This little boy didn’t find his friend, though. He got lost. He kept walking until he came across a road. He followed this road to a bigger road, where he found a log, which was beside the road. He sat down on this log and started crying.

A few cars stopped to see if the little boy wanted a ride, but he said “No” between sobs. Finally, his father and two of his brothers came walking down the road looking for him, found him, and took him back to the campsite.

That little boy was me.

Dirty T-Shirts

O’Rear family, summer 1967, at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

So began an autobiographical speech that I gave in Mr. Howell’s Eighth Grade Speech Class at William Adams Junior High School in Alice, Texas (back in the day).

I have fond memories of those camping trips to the Smoky Mountains. The scenery was amazing, especially for a young boy from South Texas. The walk to the top of Clingman’s Dome seemed like it took days, but the view was breathtaking!

And then there were the bears. The only place I had ever seen bears before was in the zoo. These bears, however, were not behind bars. They were black bears, not huge by bear standards, but certainly big enough by five-year-old-little-boy standards.

(cc) Jenny Pansing - Flickr

(cc) Jenny Pansing – Flickr

One night, some bears came romping through our campsite looking for food. From my tent I could hear them rummaging through the trash cans just a few feet away.

Another time, we were out driving, sightseeing, when we came to a place where cars were stopped in the road. We soon discovered why. Bears. Several black bears had decided that the paved road was a perfect place for an afternoon stroll. One bear was lying on his back along the side of the road, scratching his belly. Silly old bear!

During those same boyhood years in South Texas, I developed quite a fondness for another “silly old bear”, Winnie-the-Pooh (from the writings of British author A. A. Milne). Pooh bumbled his way through life, always looking for his next smackerel of honey. His innocence and naivete endeared him to me, and I loved the consistent sense of calm joy that characterized this Bear of Very Little Brain (and of Very Huge Heart). I want to be like Pooh!

And so I have entitled this little website adventure, “Silly Old Bear”. Through these pages, I hope to share with you some of my own bumblings through life, and the simple things that bring joy and peace and comfort to this Person of Very Little Brain. Hopefully I will say something that will touch your heart, or make you smile (or even laugh), or remind you of how beautiful your life really is. Thank you for joining me on this adventure.
Paul O'Rear Signature


Photo Credits:

  1. Silly Old Bear Banner, © Paul O’Rear.
  2. Dirty T-Shirts, by Paul O’Rear (, Creative Commons License.
  3. a walk on the wild side, by Jenny Pansing (Flickr), Creative Commons License.

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