All Fair at the Fair
by Dallas Jones


It was Father's Day and the Country Fair had come to Yosemite. JayZeeBear was excited. He had persuaded Papa Bear to enter the three-legged race. The race of all the cubbies in the forest had bragged about winning.

Mama Bear had packed a picnic basket and was ready to leave when the word came that Papa Bear had to help forest-rescue track down a lost hiker.

"What about the race?" asked JayzeeBear.

"Sign us up little fellow. I'll try to make it," said Papa Bear, as he walked to the door.

Mama Bear followed Papa Bear to the door, JayZeeBear was curious, as always, peaking inside the picnic basket. "Ooh! Honey!" thought JayZeeBear, dipping a finger into the honey jar. At the sound of Mama Bear's footsteps, JayZeeBear covered the basket and licked off his finger with no evidence.

Carrying the picnic basket between them, JayZeeBear and Mama Bear headed off to the Fair grounds. Along the way they sang 'Friends Forevermore' and some of JayZeeBear's favorite songs.

The fair was crowded. Mama Bear spread a blanket on the ground under a big tree to prepare for lunch.

JayZeeBear was impatient, "Mom, the rides!"

"Off you go, JayZee. Don't get lost and don't get into any trouble."

"Oh Mom, I'm a big bear," said JayZeeBear, as he ran off in the direction of the giant Ferris wheel.

It had been a busy morning and Mama Bear was tired. Soon, she was stretched out asleep on the blanket.

With coins jangling in his pocket, JayZeeBear headed to the nearest concession stand. He bought a big fluffy ball of pink cotton candy. Now, he was ready for the rides.

From the height of the Ferris wheel, all the people on the ground looked like little bugs. JayZeeBear's paws gripped the handrail until his knuckles turned white. As he spun faster and faster in big loops, the wind blew the cotton candy onto his fur, where it stuck.

"Yuck", thought JayZeeBear, hoping no one would notice.

By the end of the ride, JayZeeBear was dizzy and the tasty treats in his stomach were growling back.

JayZeeBear looked around; Mama Bear was nowhere in sight. "With all these tall people around, how was I ever going to find Mom", he thought.

Mama Bear suddenly woke up with the itch of hundreds of little feet on the march. "Ants!", she screamed, as she jumped up and beat them off her fur with the towel that had covered the picnic basket. Then, she discovered the bad news that ants had devoured their picnic. She shook the ants off the blanket and moved it to the shade of another tree.

JayZeeBear recognized Mama Bear's voice and spotted her through the crowd. He quickly ran to Mama Bear.

JayZeeBear looked sick and covered in cotton candy. Mama Bear could see that JayZeeBear had had a rough time with the rides.

"You rest JayZee. I'll be right back."

By the time Mama Bear returned, JayZeeBear felt better. His stomach was still growling but that was because he was hungry. He sure looked forward to the honey and to Mama Bear's picnic Apple Pie.

JayZeeBear looked around, "Mom, where's the picnic basket?"

"I found the jar of honey open in the basket, JayZee."

"Oh! I forgot to screw the lid on," said JayZeeBear, looking guilty. "I hope it didn't spill."

Mama Bear frowned at her little cub, "No JayZee. It didn't spill. Ants found it and ate everything. We'll have to win our lunch. I signed us up for the three-legged race. First prize is the Country Fair picnic basket."

"But Mom, Dad's not here," said JayZeeBear, looking upset and his stomach was growling even louder. Just then the loud speaker came the announcement that the three-legged race was about to begin.

"It's you and me, JayZee."

"Mom, you're just a girl," said JayZeeBear. "Oh! A mistake", he thought, covering his mouth with his paws.

"JayZee, even girls can run three-legged races," Mama Bear was laughing. "Besides, I know the secret to winning."

Jayzee wasn't convinced.

"JayZee, when the race starts we both sing this little song:

In out - skip with me

In out - skip with me

In out - skip with me

Faster faster - run with me.

"We repeat this song all the way through the race. On IN, we step forward on our inside leg; on OUT, we step forward on our outside leg. We both skip forward on SKIP WITH ME. To speed up, we just sing faster, stomping our feet to the rhythm."

"You're sure?" asked JayZeeBear, again losing confidence as he looked down the starting line and noticed all the other teams were made up of Papa s, all much bigger than Mama Bear. "Mom we're the smallest bears out here!"

Mama Bear reached down and with a rope tied JayZeeBear's leg to hers, "It's not the size of the bear in a fight that counts JayZee but the size of the fight in the bear."

As JayZeeBear scratched his head and wondered what Mama Bear meant, a whistle sounded, starting the race. A dozen teams raced off ahead like sun-crazed chickens stumbling and falling.

Mama Bear started the song off very slowly until JayZeeBear got into the rhythm and could keep his feet in step to the words. They sang together, feet in time to the song. Soon, they were flying past everyone. And before they knew it, they had scooted across the finish line ahead of all other teams.

When they crossed the finish line, Papa Bear was there to greet them.

The judge handed JayZeeBear a big picnic basket. Inside, JayZeeBear found it stuffed with all his favorite goodies: sandwiches, potato salad, chicken, a big jar of honey, and even a homemade Apple pie just like Mama Bear would make.

As they sat down to enjoy lunch under a quiet little tree, JayZeeBear asked, "Mom can we run the three-legged race again next year?"

Papa Bear laughed and he was happy that JayZeeBear had learned a valuable lesson; that the race does not always go to the biggest but to the smartest and most determined.

Suddenly, JayZeeBear remembered today is Father's Day, he grabbed onto Papa Bear's arm, "Happy Father's Day! This was the best picnic ever!"