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Glimpses of Inspiration

North Lake Tahoe

 "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"      Lewis Carroll


"Let your fiction grow out of the land beneath your feet."   Eudora Welty

Published

"Chicken In Turkey"

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"Tiny Tattoos"

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"Haunted By Glue Guns"

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"Smokey in the boys' room"

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(contributor, page 27)"I Salute You, Mother"

As published in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza 8/24/07


A Bear Behaving Badly

Bear stories abound this year, but my friend’s stood out for one simple reason. The bear did not follow the rules. You know, the ones we learn each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, sure as the Bonanza is delivered to our driveways? We read about bear behavior, people behavior, and how to blend the two successfully—meaning no one ends up dead.

This friend, let’s call her Kathy, spoke along the theme of most bear stories—she had just gone to Costco and bought a side of beef, which she had put it in her garage freezer, along with the gorgonzola, pot stickers and tamales. Later that day, the kids left the side door to the garage open and a bear cleaned out everything. Ho hum, typical stuff.

Kathy knew the bear would return…who wouldn’t to a freezer with so diverse a menu? For good measure Kathy had left one of the bear’s prints on the door to the garage to remind everyone to keep it shut. It seemed to be working. But, people must come and go, and this bear knew that.

And so, not long after his initial visit, the bear followed her teenage son and his friends into the garage, which they discovered only after the leader turned to his follower and he to his, down the line to locate the source of the snuffling. Seeing the last one in the line much hairier than expected, the string of male adolescence spilled into the house, blurting out a mush of words, the only discernable ones being “bear” and “garage.” 

The family and friends behaved as humans have been instructed: They made a lot of noise and stretched out their arms to execute the “look big” strategy dieters around the world just can’t understand. It worked. The bear gave a “What the…?” look and sauntered off. Nothing exceptional here.

But then it happened. Just two days later, the bear returned. It again employed the “one of the boys strategy,” attempting to blend in with the kids filing into the house. This time, it made it all the way in. Realizing this, the humans froze. The bear grabbed a baseball bag containing equipment for the All-Star playoff game the next day. The bear could have been from the opposing team, sent to de-mitt a key player. It was more likely after the sunflower seeds.

With the humans stiff as statues, the bear casually exited the house with the bag. Kathy’s husband, we’ll call him Dan, had been inside. He followed the bear out the door, executing the big and loud strategy better than a 747. The bear stopped in its tracks. (Not supposed to happen.)

The bear dropped the bag and turned around. (Really not supposed to happen.) It grew taller than Dan as it stood on its two hind legs and issued a convincing growl. Dan had a “What the…?” moment, then snapped back to reality and fled into the house. The bear explored the contents of the bag. Dan returned, with a gun.

Now, the plot thickens for a couple reasons. One, when a gun enters the scene, we know it has to be fired. Two, with the All-Star playoff game the following day, we need to know the fate of the mitt.

Dan shot a blank into the air. The bear took off faster than a bat swinging for the fence. It hasn’t visited Kathy’s house since.

So what’s the moral of the story? If you have a playoff game, pray you have no bears on the opposing team because they refuse to follow the rules.