At David's request, I share with you the story behind the picture.
So there I was looking for my chocolate only to find this bear had stolen it. Well, I just couldn't stand for that so I chased him down. It started out civilly. I asked nicely that he return my candy but he refused. I had no choice but to show him I meant business so I bashed him in the snout and knocked him flat. Here's the proof. Seriously, you don't want to interfere with my chocolate supply.
What? You doubt me? You see the photographic evidence don't you? You KNOW how I feel about chocolate. Why would you even suggest I have embellished the details even a little? Ok, ok....here's the real story.
I was 13. That is a real LIVE black bear that weighed somewhere approaching 500 pounds (not an unusual size in these parts). The bear had been darted with a tranquilizer though. My grandparents had a little weekend place up in the mountains and my aunt and uncle had a similar place next to my grandparents'. My aunt rented her place out to a fellow who worked for the game commission studying black bears.
The friend in the picture with me had come up for the weekend and was hoping to see bears. After a night of watching for them off the back porch and seeing nothing we went to bed slightly disappointed. Early in the morning we were awakened by a neighbor banging on the door and shouting, "Wake up! Keith has a bear!" My friend and I pulled on jeans and shoes as fast as we could and high-tailed it over the hill just in time to see my one-armed uncle wrestling the dazed bear to the ground. (Yes, I know that sounds like an embellishment but it's true. My uncle was the toughest man I ever met.). We watched as Keith and my uncle weighed and measured the bear, sampled its blood, and pulled a tooth. After all the vital statistics were collected and before Keith gave the bear a wake-up shot my friend and I were invited to touch the bear. She was very definitely not digging the idea. I tried in utter futility to lift just the head at which point my grandmother laughed and got me to look up so she could snap this shot.
During another visit when I had a friend along there was a different sort of encounter with the local bears. In addition to the trailer on her property my aunt has what we call a screen house. It's a one room affair with a woodstove for warmth and a loft for sleeping. Three walls are just screens from about three feet to loft height, with large shutters that fold up during the day or down at night. If you sleep in the screen house and need the toilet at night the rule is you use the outhouse down the path about 10 yards away. (Eat your heart out Hillary Clinton)
It was a cool autumn night when my friend and I were curled up in the loft under a thick pile of blankets and the call of nature began to whisper to us both. Eventually the whisper became a nagging whine and finally grew to an urgent cry which we could no longer ignore. We climbed down the ladder, put on our slippers, and trudged down the path to the outhouse when in the moonlight I spied the shining eyes that met mine from a height that was well over my own head. It took about half a second for my sleepy brain to register "bear" and then further process the location of said bear as being next to the outhouse door. I required another half a second to shriek and begin shoving my friend back toward the screen house. Two seconds later we were in the loft again. My friend was somewhat dazed as she hadn't seen the bear. I had not only seen it standing there but had also seen it take off AWAY from us as fast as it could when it saw us. Nonetheless, it was the middle of the night and it was a bigfreakingblackbear!!! I KNEW the bear was gone. I KNEW they were more afraid of me than I was of them. I KNEW they were basically shy creatures and I only had to worry if it was a sow and I was in between her and her cubs. But I still had quite the adrenaline rush. In all the excitement and considering that bladder capacity had been reached I did manage to maintain a manner of self-control that did not require a change of undergarments. That counts for something, right?