Monday, 20 June 2016

A Chicken and a Bear

I know a lady who can conjure up a bear.

How many people can say that?

Her name is Chicken, and her story is here. It's amazing and kind of scary and she tells it well.

And it reminded me of my father's bear story.

Round these parts, we have quite a vigorous recycling and composting program. We all have huge green compost bins that are emptied every second week by a company with big stinky trucks. I'm assuming that the trucks are stinky, because our compost bin gets pretty stinky and when you multiply that by thousands, that's a whole lot of holding your nose.

Stinky compost bins attract critters. In the spring we have hungry critters of all kinds, but especially, it seems, bears who are just waking up after a long sleep and a good yawn and stretch and a lot of scratching of their birthday suits, and who are getting a bit on the peckish side. And they have very good noses.

And every so often, out in the country where the bears live, those noses bring them to a stinky compost bin. Bears aren't too particular about what they eat, in spite of those pictures you see of them picking anti-oxidant berries and catching low-cholesterol salmon. If there's a pizza box in the compost - even without any pizza, just the smell - they'll chew the cardboard. But usually there's more in our bins than cardboard, and bears learn fast. They visit the Green Buffet whenever possible.

Now, if I saw a bear in my compost bin, I'd probably shriek a bit, and run around holding my head with both hands, because, I'm embarrassed to say, that seems to be my reaction to scary things, and then I might calm down long enough to call the authorities and tell them about the bear. But my father? Nooooooo. He ran outside in his sock feet, hollering at the bear. And then he threw his sneakers at it.

The bear ran away.

Lucky for my father.

And maybe lucky for the bear.

It's been almost one year since my father died, and I've been having a lot of tough memories this month. But the bear story made me remember better times, when Dad was mobile and feisty and altogether a get-'er-done kind of man.

Thanks, Chicken, for bringing that good memory back to me, and for reminding me that even stories with bears in them can have happy endings.

"Is that Donkey's picnic lunch I smell, or is it a COMPOST BIN?"
 That doesn't say much for my picnic lunches, does it?
 (Thanks to Pixabay for the cute free photo.)



 

15 comments:

  1. I know a guy, a Republican no less, who once decided he wanted to drop acid in Yosemite. So he and his friend took some liquid LSD and put drops of it on some salad croutons, so as not to get caught. They bundled their food and hung it from a branch with a rope, just as you're supposed to do, but the bears up there have long since gotten wise to that trick, and one pulled the rope down while they were asleep and ate ALL of their food. All of it. Croutons and all. They didn't stay.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. OH. MY. I have no other words!!!

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    2. What we wonder is whether they have started a new folklore among bears "Don't eat the tie dyed ones... Bad ju ju...

      -Doug in Oakland

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    3. Seriously? Maybe that's how Yogi the bear was born. That's hilarious. Poor bears.

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  2. Oh my is right. Both to Chickens and to dinthebeasts' stories.
    No bears here.
    And I hope to never, ever develop the skill/talent to materialise snakes. Many years ago I was swimming in the river. Turned to breathe and discovered a red-bellied black snake head parallet to mine. I sank to the bottom and held my breath till it went past. And they swim a LOT faster and better than I do.

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    1. Eeeeek, EC! I don't like water OR snakes to start with, and this is not helping! You were a quick thinker to react how you did.

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  3. We tried composting, but had to quit because of the bears and other critters. We now give our vegetable waste to the chickens who enjoy it immensely. We tend not to feed birds in the summer because the bears go after the seeds, too.

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    1. We are given that advice about birdseed, too, and also told to freeze scraps until compost day. With pickup every second week, that can be hard for people without a good-sized freezer compartment. I guess the ideal situation is to buy all boneless meat and waste NOTHING!

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  4. Hi Jenny, thanks for the mention and I'm happy if a story of mine triggered a good memory of your dad. Anniversaries are hard.

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    1. I'm starting a new file in my brain called "Beyond the Sad: As the Good Starts to Come Back". Guess what the first document in the file is? :)

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  5. I've always heard that bears are generally scared of humans -- and I remember when hiking (and wearing "bear bells") coming across one, and he high-tailed it before I could even get a good look at him. So I'm not surprised your dad chased his away. (I might not have been THAT bold, though!)

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    1. I think it depends on the kind of bear - and if it's a mama bear with cubs. I know an outdoorsy man who found himself in this situation with the bears between him and his vehicle. It took awhile for the bears to mosey on. He was pretty nervous the whole time.

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  6. Only time I ever encountered a bear was in Yosemite Park, 1963. My sister and I were hiking into the forest and the bear was hiking out. I stood stock still but my sister screamed and ran at the bear, which wisely turned and ran from her. She chased it far into the woods. I bravely waited for her to return. She did --but I couldn't bring myself to examine her teeth for hair.

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    1. Oh, you have made me laugh, Geo.:) And that bear was probably the butt of many of his bear brothers' jokes for longer than he cared to remember.

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