A Mini Fridge, a Microwave, and a Bear

I confess this is one of my favorite times of the year, as everyone is getting ready for school and activities are firing up all around. Once I get through the drudgery of the start-of-the-year forms, I start filling up my calendar with all the fall fun. The homework stress hasn’t started yet for the kids, the teachers aren’t yet overworked and overtired, the slate is clean, and everyone is optimistic about the school year to come.

There’s probably room to squeeze in a bear. Image by Peggy Dyar from Pixabay

And because I live in the suburbs tucked in between two major interstates that run from a lot of heres to theres, it’s also the time I get to see a steady parade of U-Haul trailers, loaded-down trucks, and overstuffed minivans. I enjoy watching the college students headed out on new adventures, carrying wishes for what the year will bring, dreams for their unfolding futures, and lots and lots of stuff.

All these college-bound vehicles are packed to the gills with microwaves, mini fridges, bean bag chairs, and other scraps of hand-me-down-furniture. Some lucky students might be transporting a television or even a game console in addition to the computer, desk lamp, bedding, and laundry baskets they will actually need. It’s all the stuff of home, or at least near enough to make their new home away from home more comfortable and less intimidating.

As much as I enjoy seeing this, I am painfully aware that this time next year, we’ll be transporting my first born to some campus somewhere in a vehicle filled with much more stuff than he really needs. I’m sure he’s already devising a plan to con his brother into letting him take the Xbox, which will definitely not work, and if he can manage, he’d probably also like to take the dog.

Lord Byron, no doubt devising a way to flout the rules. National Portrait Gallery, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, that won’t work either because even if the rest of us could part with the family pet, my son will most likely be living in a dorm where he certainly won’t be allowed to have a dog. If the university is smart, it will also specify that the restriction includes any animal that doesn’t fit neatly into a ten-gallon aquarium, because they will have learned a lesson from Lord Byron.

Romantic poet George Gordon Byron, who was something of a rock star in his day, left for Trinity College in Cambridge in 1805, no doubt carrying the many things he would need to establish a comfortable life as a student away from home. But the one thing this young man, already known for passionate obsession and a tendency to flout the rules, really wanted to take with him to school was his dog.

Byron was an animal lover whose affections ran to a wide range of animals throughout his short life, including, according to his contemporary Percy Shelly, “ten horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon.” And that was just at one time. Over the years his exotic collection allegedly included at least a crocodile, several peacocks, more than one badger, a wolf, and a bear.

College essential. NasserHalaweh,
CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Trinity College said no to the dog, but they had no specific rules addressing some of Byron’s other more exotic friends, and so he brought along his bear instead. Because there was no specific rule against it, and I’m sure much to the chagrin of Byron’s classmates, the college let it stand. This after they asked him what they could possibly do with a bear and he replied simply, “he should sit for a fellowship.”

Now that is an outside-the-box, divergent kind of thinker, the kind of guy you want helping you solve a problem. You might even want him as a college roommate because he definitely knew how to have a good time, if that wouldn’t mean that you’d also have to live with a bear.

I assume that Trinity College has since changed its rules regarding exotic pets on campus. I know that here in Missouri, while we do occasionally get bear sightings along our interstates, I’ve not yet seen one stuffed into a minivan on its way to school in hopes of being granted a fellowship.

12 thoughts on “A Mini Fridge, a Microwave, and a Bear

    1. Me too, a bit. Just because I was thinking of those probably many young men and women who will take along a special stuffed bear or other childhood momento to college just because it holds so many special memories.

  1. I have seen several bears on my hikes over the years. Occasionally, we would take a picture of the bear. But on August 4th, we were bold enough to take selfies with a bear in Mount Rainier National Park. I expect the next step is to get eaten by one.

    1. Yep. That’s usually the next step after selfies. We ran into one once. We’d just spent a week in the Smokies in Tennessee, thoroughly warned and expecting to see one around every corner. We didn’t. Then we dipped into Alabama to tour the Space & Rocket Museum and took a short hike in a little nearby state park where there were no warnings of bears. Of course that’s where we encountered one. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to care much about us and we gave him lots of space.

  2. My oldest brother took his pet rabbit when he went off to study to be an animal vet. He kept it hidden for quite a few months until some idiotic student found it and killed it. Then my brother got ill, nearly died, gave up his studies, and came home and drove a bulldozer for the rest of his life! He’s now in his eighties. I guess there must be a moral hidden in there somewhere!

    1. That’s a sad story. I was a Resident Assistant for a while in college and had a student in my hall that snuck in a cat. He also snuck in his identical twin brother who wasn’t a student and did have a criminal record. Not a bear, but definitely bad news. It was quite a year.

I love comments! Please keep them PG, though. I blush easily.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s