When I was growing up, we would dress up for Halloween and go trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. Then we would come home and sift through our candy.
As we were sitting on the floor on Halloween night swapping Milky Ways for Milk Duds, there would be a knock at the door, and the Bean Bear would walk in.
What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Bean Bear? Somehow, I’m not surprised. I’ve never spoken with anyone outside my family who’s met him. But his visits were special and memorable—and we looked forward to them every Halloween.
The Bean Bear never spoke. He communicated with his hands and maybe a nod or two with his large smiling head. But somehow my parents knew what questions to ask the Bean Bear during his brief visits, and my siblings and I stood there and gazed up at him in awe. With his long trench coat and pair of heavy gloves, he was clearly important. And he only came once a year. We were honored to have him stop by our Rodgers Forge rowhome.
The Bean Bear always brought candy, but it was the visit—more than the sweets—that was the main highlight. One memorable year, he came with a little stuffed bear for my little sister Treasa, who had been scared of him the year before. Another year he brought Mrs. Bean Bear along with him.
Every year, shortly after the Bean Bear waved goodbye and left, my Uncle Brian would walk in. Uncle Brian and the Bean Bear always mysteriously missed each other. But we would tell Uncle Brian all about the exciting visit and show him the treats the Bean Bear had delivered that year. Maybe next year they would happen to stop by at the same time. We could always hope. But they never did.
I don’t remember when the Bean Bear stopped visiting. He was just always part of my childhood Halloweens. And, in many ways, he still is. Every year, when Halloween rolls around, my parents, siblings, and I reminisce about him all over again.
Whatever Halloween brings for you this year, I hope you’ll make a few sweet memories. And, if the Bean Bear happens to stop by, please give him my best.
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