A Barricade, a Bear, and an Egg

We’re headed to my in-laws’ house, or perhaps the Jersey shore. A family road trip. My husband is at the wheel; our daughters in the back seat. They hold their beloved stuffed animals on their laps. There are no headphones or cell phones. In our future, when they’re older, there will be both. I’ll tune the radio to NPR. We’ll hear the election news or listen to an interview with actor Dev Patel. But here, now, I put a CD into the dashboard slot. The prologue begins, “Look down, look down, don’t look ‘em in the eye.” My husband would be happy never to hear Les Misérables again, but I don’t mind hearing it for the 200th time. Our daughters sing along. Correction. Humpty and Ahh Bear sing along. Aah Bear sings Éponine’s part and sobs with loud bear sobs when she dies. There is no barricade here in the car, but I see it nonetheless. Imagination is powerful, powerful enough to let me hear stuffed animals sing and make the tears of a teddy bear real.


Just one performance

life, replayed in memory,

paused and played again




I seem to be stuck on musicals, though that’s nothing new!  This is a haibun for dVerse. We were asked to write about singing along with music on a drive. You can listen to “A Little Fall of Rain” here. (Unfortunately, not the Humpty and Ahh Bear version.)



45 thoughts on “A Barricade, a Bear, and an Egg

  1. Hungry and Ahh Bear! So lucky your lovely daughters have stuffed friends that sing along with you. I miss the memories when cell phones, iPads, etc were non-existent; at least during family vacations.

    Summer’s in its way, and your refreshing post should be a reminder to treasure families and put technology in time out. xo

  2. Adorable!!! There’s too much killing in Les Misérables for it to be overkill! Always room for an encore!!
    Can you believe I’ve been down in the Paris sewers to retrace Jean Val Jean steps and picked a tree in Père Lachaise where I decided he was buried! I used to live down the street from Marius’ house but that was 20 years ago and he had already moved!
    I wandered through jardin du Luxembourg but no handsome guy ever came along to serenade me with a heart full of love!!!
    Car journeys are so intense. They are bubbles of privacy in the middle of a busy highway that can be the location of some wonderfully intense memories!!

  3. I remember sitting in an audience in the Kennedy Center about 25 years ago, very moved by the music and the story. A woman in a fur coat in the row behind us was sobbing audibly. Somehow I’ve never forgotten that. Just as you and your daughters have never forgotten this trip.

  4. I have listened to the Les Mis songs well over 1000 times I believe. I first got my full experience when I saw the movie. I keep on being asked how come you are not sick and tired of it. Well I am not and it is a musical that is hard to be sick and tired of. That is a sign of a wonderful musical. Its songs are epic, passionate, powerful, revolutionary, and strongly emotional

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I love many musicals, but this one is certainly captivating. If you get a chance to see the show, it’s much better than the movie.

      • Well, I have seen the stage show four times already. In 2013, I saw my community college production three times due to being an usher and seeing it once with my family.

        Then two years later, my mom took me to see Les Mis in London when my family went to England and we were nine rows back from the stage.

        Now, it is about to tour in the US again and is coming to my hometown and hope to see it when it comes. Crazy that it is coming to my hometown in December and that marks almost five years since I first got my full experience

      • I am obsessed with the musical. I read the unabridged book in less than one summer and my knowledge of the musical helped. My blog seems to talk about Les Mis a lot

  5. The repetitions of childhood. (is this a clue about learning, or maybe about working this thing called life out?) And life before cell phones…the mythical past. I escaped with my children’s attention directed out to the world (or in to their imaginations and then out to the world) as well. We were lucky. (K)

  6. I don’t know the musical at all, but that’s not the point—it’s the singing together. The songs aren’t really important but the children and their toys are. Sweet memories, Merril 🙂

  7. I love this memory of your daughters and Humpty and Ahh Bear, I wish we could hear their versions of this song. alas, I can only imagine. Road trips are so intense and so private and…so much fun. Lovely.

  8. I liked Les Miserables and the musical, Les Mis, as we tended to call it, like we were “cool!” The girls look precious indeed. This was a lovely memory and the final poem was so sentimental to me. Yes, I would like to “pause and play again.”

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