By Betsy Thorpe
Last month when Bellevue residents Jack and Sue Spence embarked on a cruise that would take them to nine port cities in Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Japan they had in their possession a special reminder of home, a stuffed Shoney Bear, a gift to them from a waitress who serves them daily at their favorite local restaurant. Shortly before their departure, knowing that Sue Spence planned to walk up the steps of the Great Wall of China, Shoney’s server, Teresa Cline presented her with the bear hoping it would accompany Mrs. Spence on her trek up the steep steps of the Wall.
On April 25th, with the Shoney Bear in her arms, Sue Spence ascended more than fifty of the ancient and uneven stone steps that follow the path of the historic Wall.
For more than three weeks the little bear from Bellevue enjoyed quite an adventure, “We took the bear on shore with us at each port stop” Mrs. Spence said. She also noted that having the stuffed bear in her arms created curiosity among the various local residents she met and provided her with an opportunity to tell them about Tennessee and Nashville.
During an overnight stay at the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, Japan on May 2nd, Jack and Sue Spence met a three year old girl in the hotel’s dining room. Surprised that the child could speak English they struck up a conversation with girl and her aunt. After describing Tennessee as a land of “fried chicken, potatoes, greens and peaches” Mrs. Spence offered the Shoney Bear to the little girl as a gift from her and the people who live and work in Bellevue Tennessee.
Sue Spence said “I was so enchanted by this beautiful little Japanese girl that understood my English that I forgot to ask her aunt where they lived, so we can only imagine where she is and what adventures our Shoney Bear has taken with her.”