Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Bear Truth

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?

34 comments:

James Goodman, Author said...

Wow, that's a great picture and even better tales. But I have to ask, did running into the bear at the outhouse cause the urgent cry to go away or did it take car of itself? :D

lime said...

james, there was a temporary disruption in the urgency. later on my friend and i braved the outhouse again.

Breazy said...

LOL! I had something kind of like this happen to me when I was about 9. I was spending the night with my aunt they didn't have an indoor bathroom so my cousin and I decided to brave the dark and make use of the outhouse. We stepped out on the back porch and got about 5 feet from the steps when I looked up and there was a bear standing against the porch post. Upon seeing the bear I froze for a few seconds then my brain kicked in and made my feet move. I only had to relieve my bladder when we decided to go out but once I saw the bear I was close to dropping some volume in my undergarments.

Thank you for sharing this story Lime. I always enjoy reading about a persons childhood.

Have a beautiful day!

KFarmer said...

It counts for everything! Great story and picture :)You and your adventures~ luv em!

G-Man said...

Wow!!
This has started out about bears, but it's quickly turning into a piss post!!
I'll have to return later...xoxox

Loved the story about the bear though...G

John-Michael said...

I can hear the still-fresh aliveness of the experience in your re-telling of it. Amazing how forever-fresh such moments remain with us. Thank you for sharing the full range of feelings and emotions with me!

Lovingly ...

Cosima said...

What a wonderful story and adventure! My only bear encounter, apart from seeing them at the zoo, was on a Canadian highway. A black bear and her cup crossed the highway a few hundred meters in front of our car. It was quite a busy highway, but everyone slowed down, stopped, and let them pass.

Mona said...

wow Lime!

I have never come across someone who has had a more eventful or a colorful ( add tye & dye to that) life than your's!!

That is Some story!

The picture made me rub my eyes & look again to be able to believe!

furiousBall said...

the same thing happened to me when i was in a band and a bear stole my stash. it was on. so on.

lime said...

breazy, "dropping some volume in my undergarments" that is a phrase that willbe with me throughout the day ;) hehehehe

kfarmer, phew! glad you enjoyed

gman, lawsie mercy, i shoulda known you'd be more impressed with the urinary action than the ursine action. lol

john-michael, there really was quite a range!

cosima, wise response to a bear in the road. neither cars nor bears fare well when cars fail to yield.

mona, the picture is real, tis a true story. :)

furiousball, i promise never to mess with your stash

lecram said...

The first story was an embellishment?! I still don't think any beast alive would dare come between Lime and her chocolate... not if they know what's good for them.

Great stories. Cheers!

Suldog said...

Great story, Lime. I'd see a bear on rare occasions at my Dad's place in New Hampshire, but was happy to be inside when I did!

One question: Why did your uncle pull the bear's tooth? Souvenir? Or some other reason?

lime said...

lecram, you are a wise man, my friend ;)

suldog, the friend from the game commission pulled the tooth, i believe it had something to do with determining age and general health of the bear. they also tagged the bears before waking them. it was a long term study of bear habits, habitat, and such. they used to go into the dens during the winter and check the mothers and cubs too.

quilldancer said...

When I was a kid and we lived in Pack River, ?Idaho we came home from the store one day to discover a black bear in our kitchen happily eating the huckleberry pies my step mother had baked. He knocked them off the table and licked them from one end of the kitchen to the other. The floor was a disgusting mess to clean.

The bear came in through the screen door (tore it down) and left through the open kitchen window -- another screen gone. When he returned to the scene of the crime a couple of days later, Forest Rangers came and took it away to a nice place where people weren't. I was in school and missed it.

tsduff said...

What an absolutely cool picture! You were a cutie at that tender age - and to actually have the opportunity to lift up a bear's head! The best part was that it was not killed. Your outhouse story is cute - sounds like a funny memory. Great usage of the word ursine to G-man!

coopernicus said...

I kept waiting for the bowls of porridge to appear...
bears are kewl....
thanx for sharing..

S said...

Briefly does bear story:

While hiking in Kings Canyon, we spotted a bear, and I got so excited that I slipped and fell on my camera and broke it and also got this hugeeeee bruise on my arse.

Then there was the time the bears raided the trash at our um camp....that was pretty scary since the trash was IN the cabin and so were we....


How dare that bear even try it?

mssolitaire said...

That is awesome!! The city girl in me cringes!!! ;)

David said...

I thought the caption would have read something like..."M Lime Cilled a Bar."

VE said...

Thanks for this story. I have some bear stories; I'm going to write them out now and post sometime in the future. They're mostly centered around me doing stupid things where bears are or might be.

Kathryn said...

Wow. I would have needed a change of pants for sure! I'm impressed!

We have a cabin up north and the black bear population is really climbing. The boys were both hypnotized and scared when we found bear poop next to our cabin.
You want to see something really scary? Check out this blog post.
http://rappleyefam.blogspot.com/2008/04/alaskan-bear.html

~Tim said...

I believed the first story. I now how you are about chocolate!

RennyBA said...

Woooow, I thought is was only us the Vikings from Norway who could knock out a bear with bear hands - but then again I remember your addictions to chocolate :lol:

Great picture and great story!

Also I know when your coming over to visit: I know who I should call for when a bear is lurking around the house :-)

snowelf said...

I dub thee Lime, the Bear Whisperer.

:)

--snow

Moosekahl said...

quite impressive...I would have peed my pj's right there in the middle of the path before having the thought to turn and head back!

Beach Bum said...

Great story! Back in the 80's I was driving down the highway that connects Myrtle Beach and a small town called Conway. At that time it still had a lot of free standing woods and one day I noticed a black bear running out of the woods. He stopped right at the road looked both ways then turned around and ran back where he came. Now that road is complete developed with no empty space. I often wonder what happened to that bear.

BTExpress said...

Holy crap! I know the black bears are scared of us, but I'd have freaked out meeting one face to face.

it's a secret said...

this proves that some bears do not "shit in the woods" but prefer the outhouse

Cheesy said...

OH my lord.. I think I even just peed a little! You and my SF have a similar NEED for chocolate lol~~

lime said...

quill, quite a story you've got too. that sort of thing happens from time to time in our neck of the woods as well.

tsduff, no bears were harmed in the production of this memory or post ;)

coopernicus, but my locks are not golden

s, oh the crushed camera and the raided cabin, quite the stories you've got too, my dear!

solitaire, bit conflicted about it all eh? ;)


VE, i look forward to yours because at least i know you've lived to tell the tales.

kathryn, some embellishments to that story have occurred since i first saw those pictures and read the original story over a year ago. the pictures ARE amazing though. the size of that bear is just mindboggling. and had i seen that thing in the woods i no doubt would have lost all bladder and bowel control! thanks for sharing.

tim, you know me too well

renny, ah, but i am descended from the people who brought you hercules ;)

snowelf, i LOVE the nickname!

moose, i was surprised i didnt' pee myself

beach bum, the bear was smart to look both ways. i wonder if the chicken did the same?

btexpress, yeah, in the middle of the night it's a bit unnerving

secret, YOU are brilliant!

cheesy, passing you clean undies....

Flash said...

That picture is awesome! I like how the bear was sedated and your grandparents were like "Oh yeah, go sit by it"

What I did notice, was the background of that picture has almost no visible depth to it, so it looks like one of those photo backdrops you can get at a sears photo sitting. And if thats the case, thats one hell of a prop.

"Yeah, me and the family would like the woods background with the dead black bear please. can we get that in an 8x10 and a stack of wallets please"

But awesome picture and awesome story.

lime said...

flash, the comment about the Sears Portrait backdrop cracked me up! "no, we don't want the teddy bear prop. we brought a live one, ok? and come one sue, would you smile already? we need to send this out with the christmas letter!"

jillie said...

I think that is a one of a life time picture and adventure! How cool is that.

Man, that is some self control. I can't say that I could do that same...

Craver Vii said...

That was downright hilarious! (Mental note: Don't mess with her chocolate.)

I had a similar experience. Except it was a raccoon and it wasn't scared of me. Okay, that wasn't similar at all!

Pulling teeth for the age? That's why I always carry ID. I don't want anyone pulling my teeth, or cutting me in half to count rings, or any of that!