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South Boston News
A few of the many teddy bears that have come out to spread cheer during these trying times. (Liza Fulton photos) / March 30, 2020
Teddy bear hunts have popped up everywhere as a way for families to find joy during these difficult times. Everyone can walk their neighborhoods and downtowns in search of the love and comfort of a cuddly teddy bear, while maintaining appropriate social distance from others.

The lyrics of the popular kid’s song, “We’re going on a bear hunt,” describe kids going outside to hunt for a bear. As they face obstacles such as cutting through tall grass or crossing a river, the lyrics of the chorus repeat, “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it.”

This last line of the chorus captures the essence of the coronavirus pandemic — we’ve got to go through it.

So, load up the kiddos and take a leisurely scavenger hunt — by foot, bicycle, or auto — of the local neighborhoods and businesses that have teddy bears displayed high and low, on front porches, storefront windows, and mailboxes. Some bears are really enormous and easy to spot, while some bears are incredibly small and adorable when you see them. Some houses have multiple bear sightings, like a house with five bears peeking out from the windows in the Brentwood subdivision.

“My bear, Buddy, is 34 years old,” said Catherine Glass, a Brentwood resident. (Her home is not the one with five bears in the windows.)

Buddy is dressed up with a cone-shaped party hat and he’s rocking a shamrock necklace, left over from St. Patrick’s Day. Just as Brentwood is a popular spot for Halloween trick-or-treating, it has become a must-see destination on the local teddy bear hunting trail.

“There was a steady stream of cars,” said Glass of the folks who ride around hoping to spot a bear.

Stuffed aliens, Pokémon characters, and a sock monkey are displayed at a house on Washington Avenue in South Boston.

“As the children have gotten older the teddy bears have been replaced with other loved plush animals,” said Mary Tucker Irby. “Social distancing means using what you’ve got and being creative.”

In addition to Brentwood and Washington Avenue, be sure to add Merritt Hills in South Boston and Treybrooke in Halifax to your family scavenger hunt. In the town limits of Halifax, Cedar Lane and Pine Street are popular teddy bear hangouts. Many businesses in downtown South Boston have placed bears in their showcase windows: Lantor’s, McCollum-Ferrell Famous Shoes, Commonwealth Home Health, and the News & Record, just to name a few.

It’s likely more and more bears will appear as the COVID-19 crisis drags on. Get creative with your bear hunt — there are always new neighborhoods and businesses to explore, with the trend catching on as we all come up with ways to deal with the hardships brought on by this pandemic. Unlike COVID-19, the thrill and excitement when spotting these bears is happily contagious.

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