I'll Just Stick With My Teddy Bear

I stopped at the post office on the way home from the office today and was greeted by an array of pamphlets on the counter. I stop every day on the way home, they don't deliver the mail to your house if you live in the city limits of Frog Pond Holler. The counter top is usually full of magazines, catalogs or coupons that other residents received in their mail but had no use for so I usually flip through them and see whats there. There weren't any cool L.L. Bean books full of goodies or Carol Wright's gifts today, instead there were pamphlets and fliers full of warnings about bear attacks.

When I was a kid and we'd come down here from Virginia on vacation, we'd always stop at the little roadside tourist shops that lined the side of the road and I'd get to pick out something. More often than not, it was either bear shaped or had the image of a bear somewhere on it. I always felt a kinship to the big hairy critters and I still get excited when I see one at the zoo. In the 13 or 14 years we've been living here, I've never seen a live one in the wild. I've seen a few dead ones in the backs of trucks and dealt unkindly with some bear hunters I've come across (I'm sorry, bear hunters are a breed all their own.) The closest I've come to encountering an actual bear was the discovery of some bear poop on the property surrounding the office, then again down at the picnic area outside of town.

Now, don't get me wrong, if I see one I'm not going to run up and try to give it teddy bear hugs. I'd love to see one in the wild, but from a distance.

The pamphlets in the post office were mainly geared towards the hikers and campers with information on how to get special "bear mace" and how to avoid to attack. I've never noticed that type of literature being distributed before, it makes me wonder if the Forest Service is anticipating an increase in bear activity this summer. There's been some speculation that all the new developments going up in the more remote areas back up in the mountains are going to force more wildlife down into the hollers.

As much as I'd love to see a big ol' bear, I'm not sure I'd like to come face to face with one on my way to the hippy van first thing in the morning. I'd crap my bloomers.

Anyways, it's past my bedtime and I need my beauty sleep. I'll keep my eye out for bears, if I spot one, ya'll will be the first to know.

Later Taters!


the gritlet said...

When I was about eight or so, my cousin's had gone on some trip to some faraway place where they were gone for multiple days so my daddy said he'd dog-sit. They had a beautiful, leggy, dumb-as-a-box-of-hair bird/pointer mix called Ruff.

One evening we were all sitting in the front yard when Ruff takes off up the road. I had been heading up towards the house when daddy called me back down. I came to him, and he pointed up the road at what I first took to be an enormous black dog. The dog was actually a black bear. Ruff tore after it and, thankfully, the bear escaped into the woods beside our house.

That's my bear story.

AC said...

Not on topic exactly but I saw that Bigfoot was sited in wisconsin or Michigan or somewhere way north. I thought of your area sightings last summer. This summer, bears. Its always something.

Anonymous said...

I've admitted it, I want to see a bear in the wild. When I was in Montana on work, my co-worker went for a drive and had to stop while moma and cub meandered out of the road. The next day I went in search and saw nothing. I saw nothing in Alaska last week (over 90% of north American brown bears live in Alaska.) I'll go back some day to find them http://www.flyrusts.com/bears.html who wouldn't want to see the cute little fuzzy bears?


kenju said...

The only bears I've seen have been in captivity, and I always feel sorry for them. When I was a child, we used to go visit my great-grandparents, and on the way, there was a roadside store that sold trinkets, soda pop and snacks. They had a bear in a cage who lived to guzzle cold drinks, especially ginger beer. Everyone would buy an extra bottle to give to the bear. I wonder what ever happened to him.

Mahala said...

Dang gritlet, you were Ruff was almost bear chow!

AC: Around here, I suspect the bear sightings and the Bigfoot sightings are probably the same thing, although there's a part of me that would like to believe that there are still undiscovered things up in the woods.

DG: Not far from here is Cades Cove, a wildlife refuge over on the Tennessee side. I've not been there (yet) but they say you can see bears all over the place.

kenju: On the reservation they have some in enclosures. You go out on an observation deck and can buy trays of food to toss down to them. It's sad and wrong, but when we go, I always have to go see them. I'd rather they were in the wild, but I still can't resist visiting them.

Anonymous said...

I looked for bears everywhere up in them woods...I had to pay in Gatlinburg to see some...they did play like crazy in their pool, but I too wanted to see them in the wild...I did see many many deer and turkeys! bunches of turkeys!

Miz said...

Growing up in the mountains I would see bear tracks but the closest I got was one crossing the dirt road with her cub, we were heading down to the swimming hole...we decided to head to another hole.