The Peace and Bear Grease Backstory

There are certain things in life that cause me to smile a lot. One is silly rhymes. Another is my friend Sally.

I stumbled upon Sally’s blog during the Mongolia months, and after a steady stream of “likes” and comments of understanding and delight from reading her posts, we somehow discovered a lovely (perhaps slightly obscure) friendship. She fills me with deep appreciation almost daily.

 


 

Yesterday, I woke up to see an article she wrote about something I posted the last day in April. It glued a smile on my face that stayed there quite some time.

See, Sally had seen my farewell status on facebook as I travelled south from my hometown to my parents’ house.

Peace and bear grease, PG! Let the Rubbermaid life begin again.
it said.

You can read about Sally’s sleuthing for the correct interpretation of the status here. It’s wonderful.

I remember wording the two sentences with care. I had fun saying good bye, in my own little way.

See, “Peace and Bear grease” is a favourite saying of mine. It has no special technical meaning, yet it’s generally reserved for use with fondness in my own odd vocabulary. Shawn claims it was coined by his son Hayden (aka Knife-boy, but that’s a story come) but I could argue that. It came out of my mouth first.

It all started when I worked at the museum.

IMG_0637
Wacky Wagners

 

I met a lot of people during my full-time museum days. Surprisingly, we have a healthy dose of regulars – people who come often enough to be known by name or favourite animal and activities.

And while most regulars come in consistently, are a some who are exceptionally regular, coming in every week on the same day or time. The Wagners were a Tuesday family. Their eldest liked snakes. I got to know them pretty well.

I enjoyed the Wagners; they were fun, and enthusiastic learners. Turns out we had some mutual friends as well, making a cool connection, and they quickly fell into the habit of calling me by my full name, Anna Brown.

I loved it. It’s what a lot of my friends do.

Plus, they humoured my quirky farewells!

See, when a job consists of a lot of talking, greeting, and smiles, one falls in danger of feeling a bit like TourGuide Barbie.

Working with kids, my go-to after the standard and boring “Good-Bye’s” and “See you laters” was the classic “See you later, Alligator!” with kids responding “In a while, Crocodile.”

Even so, the reptiles got old.

So I branched out. Phrases like Take care, Polar Bear; Peace Out, Brussel Sprout; and Hit the Door, Dinosaur! became a regular part of my vocabulary, eliciting smiles out of parents and kids alike.

The Wagners always had good comebacks. Often I would hear two or three kid voices echo back at me after promptings from their dad.

What do you say guys? Remember?”

“ByeAnnaBrown! PEACE AND HAIR GREASE!” they would shout.

It always made me smile. Until the day I misheard them and cracked up on the spot. Peace and BEAR grease? Now THAT was a new one.
And so fitting for this family! I wouldn’t have put it past them.

“Peace and Bear Grease?!” I hollered back.
“NO! Peace and HAIR GREASE!” they laughed hard and corrected me.

But it was too late.

The kids thought it was hilarious (and maybe me too). The phrase stuck and then spread, becoming the catchphrase for departures of any visit with them, a combination of appreciation and wackiness. It can mean anything from “Love ya kid!” to “I’m outta here!” in my books. But then again, maybe I’m reading into it too much too ; )

One part blessing, two parts fun and a good large dose of ridiculous, all tied up in a little redneck phrase.

And so tonight I think of my bear grease family and bid you all fondly adieu – or rather

…Peace, and Bear Grease!

 

 

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