Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Bear With Me

          Having just returned from Alaska, I found myself telling bear stories. Not because we saw any, but because that's simply what you do. 

I grew up in the Rocky Mountains, with many a family trip to Yellowstone, when they still had hundreds of black bears. We were told to steer clear of them, always good advice.

          Unfortunately, no one has trained bears to avoid humans.  So when my dad, an avid fly fisherman known for his uncanny ability to sense a good bend in the river, pulled over into a meadow and took off in his waders for a perfect place to fish, my mother, sister, and I waited inside the car, where it was safe. 

Dad disappeared into the trees, and we sat.  Within five minutes, we saw a gigantic bear lumbering towards us from the far end of the meadow.  Instinctively, we locked our doors.

          He got closer.  And then closer.  We looked around to see if there was something else he could be heading for, but we were the only item of distinction in the meadow.

Within seconds he was behind our car, his long nose jabbing up into the air as he sniffed.  It was at this moment that my mother realized she had wrapped up some bacon and put it in the trunk.  Yikes.

The bear took a swipe at our bumper.  Then at the fenders, denting them in.  He growled.  He knew there was bacon somewhere in this metal contraption.  He placed his mammoth paws atop the trunk and pushed down, bouncing the car on its shock absorbers.

“Don’t move!” my mother whispered.  But the bear was bouncing my sister and me like this was a trampoline.

Now he roared, slammed all his weight onto the trunk, broke the car’s axle and popped a tire. It also bent the trunk lid in enough to pop it open, revealing all our luggage and, of course, the bacon.

My mother was shrieking, my sister was wailing that she had now sat on a fish hook, and I was frozen in panic.  The bear rummaged hungrily through our belongings, piercing a 3-inch thick book with his teeth, and finally finding the bacon.  A few chomps later he sauntered off, apparently unwilling to break windows and eat screaming females.

No way were we going to open the doors and survey the damage.  Besides, my sister’s fish hook was her greatest concern and getting a barbed hook out of human flesh is no small project.

Five minutes later my father returned, having decided this was not the best fishing spot after all.  But as he approached the car, you can imagine his surprise.  The trunk lid was up, clothing was strewn all around, and the entire back end of the car was destroyed, like a bomb had gone off.

“What on earth happened? I was gone ten minutes!”

And that, my friends, is all it takes.  

I recommend staying in the safety of your home, and watching my Youtube Mom videos right here.

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