John: A Bear who Blogs with a Beard

This feature is my attempt at the "Pay It Forward Craft Exchange" for more information, click here. Also read Mandee's and Jamie's features!

When John, a teenager, was shutting the sliding door to the family's van he mistook his own strength.

"I pulled it out of the hinges and onto the ground."

At his son's Herculean action, John's dad was understandably upset. His mother Rosemary, on the hand, calmly explained to her distressed husband, "Don't get mad at my gentle bear, he just doesn't know his own strength."

From then on, John became Bear.

Bear suits the man who is also called Buster Bear from his lovely wife Jennifer and cuddles with his daughter like a "grizzly bear." In addition to these qualities, during the desert winters of Arizona, Bear prefers to grow out his beard.

"I grow a beard in the winter because it is easier to have beard in the desert in the winter than it is in the summer. I also work a number of jobs outside in the winter and the beard keeps the old face warm. I would keep it year round but by July and August when the temperature reach 115 I 've had enough."

According to Yahoo weather, the current temperature in Phoenix, Arizona is 105 degrees so it's safe to say that at this moment, Bear is probably clean-shaven.

Well, as clean-shaven as an Italian can get. While Bear's father is Danish and English, his mother is full blown Italian, a culture that he feels he relates to more than others. "I really have to say almost all of me is Italian. I wouldn't know how it feels to be Danish I guess." As providence would have it, Bear also served an LDS mission to Itay.

An Italian Bear?

This unique character combination attracted his wife Jennifer, though Bear waited nine months to call her after they danced the night away at their first meeting. When they did reunite, Bear's ex-love interest showed up and made the whole experience a spicy, unforgettable evening. That was in 1993, 6 weeks later they were engaged, later married and now have three children (Gabriella Marie 10, David Chester 5, and Sarah Angelina 3.)

Bear credits his wife for doing all the work and just does "as I am told and help where I am needed." But when it comes to raising girls versus boys he takes a different approach then most parents.

"As for the difference in boys and girls at this age, I don't see any yet. We try to raise them the same way each and every day."

But first there was another Daddy Bear.

Bear's father Dave was a adventurous man who took the family on spontaneous trips, sometimes for two weeks at a time. Annually, the family went to Newport beach where Dave liked to snorkel and find treasures. Often he would emerge with the washed away watches of bygone swimmers.

"Most of them were cheap little Timex [watches.]" Explains Bear. "He found this watch and it had a little tar on it from the ocean and all he could see was the ex on the watch. Later he came out of the water and scraped the tar off and realized it said Rolex and not Timex. He had the watch valued and around $2000 dollars. Not bad for a fun day in the sun."

Unfortunately, Bear's father Dave, died unexpectedly seven years ago of a brain aneurysm.

After his father's passing, Bear was heart broken, but learned "that even if your worst fears do come true, that they are survivable. The hours and days following his death I felt at times as thought my heart would physically break. The pain and sorrow was agonizing, but I found my way through it and I picked myself up and went on with life. I found this quote to be true 'That which does not kill you only makes you stronger' ”

Meanwhile Bear has other family, a brother and three sisters, that he loves and looks forward to getting together with as often as he can. This includes his funny sister Kristy who blogs at
Random Thoughts. He is also a photographer on the side, and recruits drivers for the classic car auction that his family runs in Scottsdale in January.

January, the same month that he grows out his beard.

This is one talented Italian Bear, to be sure.

Bear also "made an attempt to write a poem [which] was published by the National Poets Society. Now I’m asked all the time to submit more poems to them, but the truth be known I’m all dried up." To read more about Bear and his uncommon life read his blog Blah...Blah..Blah.

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