Have you met my panda? I’ve been told that could possibly be the worst pick-up line ever, but seriously—would you like to meet him?
Jacques Ping is the bear I fell for at Hodgin’s Drug in Moscow, Idaho sometime in the autumn of 1996. His price tag—$20. An exorbitant amount to spend on a stuffed panda when you are a 20 year old college student. Or as the boyfriend who would become husband proclaimed, $20 was a ridiculous amount to spend on a panda period. Perhaps he had a sense of his future being linked to this bear and saw flashes of packing him around the world. I, who had never fallen for a panda before, had no such vision and yet I knew I must obtain him. And so I did.
His adventures began innocently enough. I decided to take him along on my cross-country road-trip honeymoon (wow! three two-word words in a row!). And having once experienced this, Ping it seems, was bitten by the travel bug. It then became the thing to do. Not only was he to accompany me around the globe, but it appears he developed a penchant for having his picture taken—preferably with the most significant landmark, but any old place would do in a pinch as long as a) he was present and b) there was a photo. And he would throw a strop if he was left behind (ahem, okay maybe that was me). Fast forward to present day and that panda has now visited 15 countries and 27 states.