Frank Ramirez of the NOAC Communication Team recently had an opportunity to interview Dub the Bear, who has been seen almost everywhere at this year’s NOAC. Dub, it appears, came specifically to NOAC this year to honor Kim Ebersole for her contributions to the Church of the Brethren through this ministry and many others. At least we think that’s what she’s telling us.
Question: Dub, you’ve been seen almost everywhere here at Lake Junaluska over the course of the week. Could you say just a little bit about what brings you here?
Dub: Daaahling, please! It’s pretty simple. It’s all about the Kim.
Q: If you could perhaps–
Dub: When you think of me, you think of Kim. When you think of Kim, you think of me. It’s pretty obvious. I’m short. I’m cute. I’m cuddly. And I’m not in the least bit tame, so you’d better watch your step when you’re around me.
Q: That sounds a little….
Dub: It’s the whole cub thing. You don’t get between a bear and her cubs, and you don’t get between Kim and all these folks at NOAC she cares so passionately about. I have to admire that kind of thing, wherever I find it, whether it’s looking in the mirror or watching just what Kim’s been doing for her “cubs,” all these folks who’ve been coming out here to my lake every two years for National Older Adult Conference.
Q: “Your” lake?
Dub: In a manner of speaking. It’s not like I took out a mortgage or anything like that.
Q: But we see geese, ducks, and a lot of roses. I don’t recall seeing a bear in all the times I’ve come here to Lake Junaluska.
Dub: Seriously? Like I’m going to walk around in broad daylight and make myself a target for one of those dart guns. They don’t really hurt, but there’s this “pfffft” and suddenly you wake up in Yellowstone or Yosemite, or one of those places out west, and I’m an east coast bear, thank you very much. But listen, I’m here to talk about the Kim. Can we get back on subject? And hurry. I mean, I have a dumpster to dive into as soon as it gets dark.
Q: Of course. So what do you admire most about Kim?
Dub: The way she answered the call when she was asked to take over NOAC from some pretty serious talent. Sort of reminds me of the way I have to answer the call of the wild. You know, bare my teeth, that kind of thing. And Kim is the sweetest person in the world, but she’ll do anything to make this week here at the lake a memorable one for every single person who’s ever come here.
Q: Is this related to the mother-cub thing you were talking about?
Dub: Read those notes you’re pretending to scribble there. Kim’s got one big heart, the biggest heart there is. Let me tell you something, and don’t write this down, but getting to know Kim is like finding an uneaten pizza in the trash bin–she’s the whole package.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
Dub: Yes. Definitely. First, that whole Bible thing, about me and my girlfriend eating 42 kids because they made fun of Elisha for being bald. EXAGGERATION! Yes, I showed a little teeth. Yes, I might have growled, but then those kids ran home, blew everything out of proportion, and the next thing you know, it’s Bible Headlines! Seriously. Maybe I could have eaten one of them, maybe two, but I’d just eaten a whole hive of honey. I’m a bear, not an eating machine.
Q: Anything else?
Dub: Yes. (Reading from a press release.) On behalf of all the animals here at Lake Junaluska I want to officially thank Kim Ebersole for all her caring and hard work. You’re the bear, Kim. You’re the bear.
— Frank Ramirez pastors Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind. He is a member of the volunteer Communication Team for NOAC 2015.
Photos clockwise from top left: Dub the Bear enjoys the musical stylings of Ken Medema; Dub with longtime friends Deann Brown and Brian Harley; Dub lends a hand editing NOAC News; Dub learns to tie dye at NOAC.