Friday 23 March 2018

There's A Bear In There

It was her irregular gait that caught my eye. When I passed one of our Local Characters today, I realised her dance was to ensure that her feet were landing on the cracks between the pavement blocks with each step.

"Hang on now," I wanted to say, "you're doing it wrong - there are bears in there!"

The reality is, there is no place for superstition in the Pipistrello household; a tricky starting proposition given Mr P's heritage, as Italians are notoriously superstitious. He does me proud, though. However, I was never always so coolly rational.

While I may not have been described as a dim-witted child, for much of my childhood I do remember the anxiety over stepping on cracks in the pavement for fear of the bears. The empirical evidence to the contrary was there to see as there were numerous occasions when it was impossible to avoid the cracks, as it did for the population at large, yet the fear simmered below the surface always.

There was also the issue of the perils of eating watermelon seeds. Apparently pumpkin trees would grow out of your ears when you were foolish enough to bolt them down ... What was that all about??

Putting the obvious disconnect between the two branches of the cucurbitaceae family to one side, I already knew that pumpkins didn't grow on trees, thanks to the backyard vegetable patch, but somehow the seed was planted (which avuncular joker was responsible, I now wonder?) and I'm pleased to say I successfully avoided any auricular embarrassment through my diligence.


  1. Hello, I love your blog! Bears in the cracks of the pavement is a new one to me. When I was growing up (in the U.S.) it was said "Step on a crack and break your mother's back." That was really awful now that I think about it!

    1. Hello Bonnie,

      Why, thank you for your lovely comment! Yes, the American version is rather grim. The prospect of bears leaping out at you at least won't have you wracked with guilt!

      There is a poem by A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh fame), "Lines and Squares", which fleshes out the superstition. The picture above is from one of the E. H. Shepard illustrations.

      Thank you for stopping by!


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