The "Timeout Bear" on Route 332 topped the charts.

CANANDAIGUA — You’re not supposed to answer a question with a question, but we are dying to know like most everyone else is: What is up with that teddy bear sitting on what we’ve dubbed the “timeout chair” on Route 332?

Whatever the answer, it’s sure been a fun ride for motorists in the past year.

Someone, at some time, had placed a brown parson chair up against a telephone pole, underneath a sign reading “timeout.” We wrote about it in March, but it had been up for a while.

Everyone, it seemed, had a smile, from neighbors, such as Beverly Pritchard and Jim Waltz, who said the light-hearted message makes him laugh, to people who work on Route 332, such as Dustin Garrison.

“The whole concept is funny,” Garrison said in March.

Since then, a stuffed teddy bear found a comfy spot on the chair, and while the wind has blown it over a couple of times, the bear still sits. Through the long, hot, dry summer and through the change of seasons.

And the bear has friends, lots of them.

We’ve read lots of Facebook comments about it. Someone has helped the bear into seasonal clothing, including most recently a winter cap and sweater. A bottle of sunscreen sits nearby. Although tattered in the wind, an umbrella flaps above it.

Now, a small stuffed Santa Claus and tiny Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer have joined the bear and seem to enjoy its company.

The whole concept still hasn’t grown old, and this feel-good bear continues to be great fun, said Shane Fackelman, who works at the nearby Cobblestone Arts Center and lives in the Stablegate neighborhood, where the display still rates a mention on its Facebook page.

“When you say the bear, people know what you’re talking about,” Fackelman said. “I love it.”

So at midnight Saturday, a toast to continued good cheer and happy days throughout 2017 for our favorite bear.

 

Favorite topics

Besides the Timeout Bear and its chair, several column topics also seemed to resonate with readers in the past year, and with good reason.

Anna Alger, executive director of the Legacy at Fairways in Victor, was presented anonymously an envelope containing a Purple Heart and service medal ribbon. Her only clue came from the name engraved in the medal.

Not only did she dig in to find out more, she tracked down the serviceman’s surviving family member — a son who was 6 months old at the time his father, U.S. Army Specialist Kenneth Wayne Lampman, was killed on March 5, 1967, in Vietnam.

Not content to set the matter aside, Alger was able to persuade the Pennsylvania man, Kenneth Wayne Lampman Jr., to come to Farmington and receive the military honors, which he and his son did in a touching ceremony in August.

Speaking of travel, many are familiar with Canandaigua teacher and lacrosse coach Deven York’s beat-up old bus, the one with the lacrosse stick attached near the roof and autographs of the passengers inside.

Many saw different things when the bus traveled by. Some took it as a pretty cool way to get around, while others see it as a symbol of dreams to chase and goals fulfilled, as well as good times with good friends.

One older guy, who approached York after seeing his parked bus, saw it as something more: “Buses represent freedom.”

 

People

The past year was great for catching up with people who have made a name for themselves in fairly unique fashion.

Take the late — and judging by what many of his former friends and colleagues had to say — great “Honest” Bob Quigley. His portrait was placed in May among others in the gallery in the Ontario County Courthouse, a well-deserved honor at that. Among many distinctions in a distinguished legal career, the Hon. Robert M. Quigley made a key ruling in the Attica prison riot case that was later upheld on appeal.

Also this year, Chad and Brian Howell continued to make a go of garlic on their plot of land on Saltonstall Street, a strip of rural heaven within urban borders.

Rick Tillotson said you have to have a positive attitude when you run a septic service company, and we believe him: Hence the “Scratch & Sniff” sign on his truck.

If you like fish tales, then you had to like the whopper Midlakes student Brian Day had to tell — he won a free fishing trip to Cabo San Lucas and landed a 200-pound striped marlin.

And in time for the holidays, D.J. McBride, an alto horn player, shared her talent in an effort to raise money for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, while stationed at the Canandaigua Tops grocery.

Now that snow is seemingly here for good, a nod to Steve Gardner, the campus management director at Crosswinds Wesleyan Church in Canandaigua, who shared his talent for making six-pointed paper snowflakes as well as the story behind their symbolism.

 

Local history

The familiar red Outhouse Farm and Home building near the Ontario County Courthouse is no more. But a local developer is hoping to repurpose the wood from the structure and incorporate its history in an office building at the Ontario Street site.

We delved into the story behind the roadside marker on Route 21 in Hopewell denoting the bee-sting death of Timothy Ryan on May 12, 1814.

The life mask of former President Abraham Lincoln has been in the hands of the Ontario County Historical Society for years, but it’s a piece that is absolutely fascinating, quite honestly.

 

Horse tracking

No doubt you’ve heard of newspapers playing the role of watchdog, but how about a bit of “watch-horse” journalism? 

A reader wondered why the fiberglass horse statue was removed from its pedestal at Kershaw Park.

“Hanging Hoof,” as the art piece was dubbed, was part of the “Horses on Parade” public art and community fundraising project in the early 2000s. But the weathered piece just needed a bit of a tune-up.

By the time the summer park season hit full stride, Hanging Hoof was back, after a few repairs had the white horse feeling in the pink.

 

Editor's note

Have you ever driven past a local oddity or seen or heard of something that made you stop and wonder, "What's up with that?" We have, too — and now we're hoping to provide some answers to these long-lingering questions with this column, which appears Fridays. If you have questions you need answered, either email or call Local Editor Mike Murphy at mmurphy@messengerpostmedia.com or 585-337-4229.