Thursday, November 19, 2009

It Was A "Bear" Necessity

My sister's place in Montana is near the town of Bigfork and near Flathead Lake. The yard is a shortcut to the lake for the animals in the area. They come down off the mountain across the road, walk through the yard and walk down a steep hill at the back of the property to the lake. This migration to and from the lake takes place in the early morning and evening.

Caren and I are those horrible "out of towners" that put out seeds for the wild turkeys and grain for the deer. We also put out hummingbird feeders that the hummingbirds empty once a day. We know we are not suppose to feed the animals, but it makes for great wildlife watching for me since I can't hike through the woods to find them in their natural state.

One summer a friend and her family visited. Her youngest son, Seth, loved Monatana and especially loved waiting for the animals to come and feed. Seth has tendency to become obsessed with things. When he was a toddler he loved basketballs and carried one with him wherever he went. he learned to dribble at the same time he learned to walk. He dribbled that basketball everywhere he went. He slept with the ball. We were sure that he was going to grow up and be a famous basketball player, and then he just stopped. Seth stopped carrying a basketball, and he stopped dribbling. He was done with that obsession. Throughout his life, Seth started and stopped new obsessions frequently. That particular summer Seth's obsession was bears. His room was decorated in bears. His bathroom was decorated in bears. He was sure that when he grew up he was going to become a forest ranger, and spend his days observing bears.

One warm evening Seth and I were in the backyard. I was reading a book and he was sitting on the grass waiting for the wildlife to take their shortcut home from the lake and stop for a snack. Seth looked up at me as said, "You know, Favorite Aunt Cathy, I really want to see a bear."

"Oh, hate to burst your bubble, Buddy, but we are too close to town to see any bears. I have only seen bears in Glacier Park and that was a rare sight," I replied.

"I have wanted to see a bear all my life!" He was eight.

"Your entire life?" I questioned. "All eight years, you have wanted to see a bear?"

"Well, not all eight years, but, FAC, it is necessary that I see a bear!" he whined.

"So, what you are saying is that you have a bear necessity. A simple bear necessity." I chortled. He was eight. He was unfamiliar with The Jungle Book. Therefore, there was no one to laugh uproariously at my great joke.

As Seth looked at me with bewilderment, at that a moment a BEAR walked into the yard. A-real-live-we-live-too-close-to-town-so-it-will-never-happen-BEAR. It was a baby black bear. The three of us frozen in place just stared at each other slack jawed. The bear was just as surprised to see humans as we were to see a bear, so he turned tail and ran.

Seth ran into the house to tell Caren, Darrell and his sister that he just saw a bear. They treated him like the boy who cried wolf, and told him had to stop saying that he saw a bear. As he was emphatically tried to convince Caren, Darrell, and Larissa of his bear sighting, his mom and dad came into the house and said, "Hey, as we were driving up the drive we saw a baby bear!"

Seth looked at Caren, Darrell and Larissa nonchalantly and said, "I told you so."

Caren sprinted to the door flung open the screen and shouted, "Cathy, BEAR! Get in here!"

"Aw, it was just a baby bear," I said

"Where there is a baby bear there is a mama bear!"

"OH!" I replied with my mouth hanging open. I left skid marks on the porch as I made my way inside.

Paco's Perspective

The only bear I have seen in Montana is Caren's dog, Osa. I like her, if you know what I mean?

The Flip Side

What is a Montana? Who is Osa? The only bear I have seen is the one Paco and I fight over. That bossy dog with the accent thinks all the toys are his.

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