Today, as promised, no Pinterest tutorials. No recipes. Nothing of any value whatsoever.
Just a story.
So this past weekend, my cousin came to visit. Erinn grew up in Buffalo, lived in London for a couple years, and Manhattan for a couple more. She’s a world traveler, has taken trapeze lessons, deep sea dives, and pretty much leads an extraordinary life.
Which means that when she comes to visit me, I put her to work in the yard. Hey, no sense in trying to out-glamorous her, right?
So there we were, Ken, Erinn, and I, clearing 40 years’ worth of unchecked pokeweed and virginia creeper and bittersweet vine from a large area of the backyard. It was hot, sweaty, backbreaking work, and I alllllmost felt guilty for asking my guest to help out.
The baby was down for a nap, and the other five kids were playing with the neighbor boys, running through the woods between our yards and the walking trail. Suddenly, Lotus burst out of the forsythia brush, eyes so huge I could see the whites all the way from where I was, and yelled, “BEAR! MOMMY, DADDY! THERE’S A BEAR DOWN HERE!”
My cousin turned to me, eyes almost as huge as Lotus’, like a deer caught in the headlights. “A bear?” she said, in disbelief. I nodded.
Ken told Lotus to go grab her brothers and get in the house, while I ran around getting a headcount. No Jude. Where was Jude? Ken ran down toward the trail where the bear was spotted, looking for Jude, while I ran around to the side yard. Kids were scattered everywhere, scrambling for the house like ants.
Reports came back that Jude was found, sneaking in some Minecraft time while everyone was supposed to be outside playing. I demanded visual proof, and his little head guiltily popped up in the window. ”Sorry, Mama,” he said. I waved, then ran down to the path to find Ken.
When he saw me, he pointed at the bear. It was the size of an adult female or a juvenile male. Its ears had been twice tagged, and a GPS collar was around its neck. Clearly, this was a bear what had been in contact with humans before.
It turned and moved with its slow, swinging walk up the trail. Once it was a good distance ahead, Ken started running up the trail after it, yelling loudly, “Bear! Bear! If you’re on the trail with your dog, watch out for the bear!” Our neighborhood has a system of walking trails running through it, and they travel through woody, brushy areas where visibility is not good. With that bear walking down the path like he owned the place, someone could turn a corner with little Fido and come face-to-face with ursus americanus.
While my fool husband was chasing after a bear, I turned and walked back to the house, telling the kids it was safe to come out, and looking for my cousin, who had vanished. She wasn’t in the house. Where could she be? I mean, she’d looked pretty shaken up by the bear sighting, did she go and hide?
Finally, after a couple of minutes, I found her, hunched over in the brushy area we’d been clearing.
“Hey,” I said. ”What’s going on? Ken’s up the trail, warning anyone who’s got dogs out. What are you doing?”
She straightened, turned, and held out a rake. ”I’d thrown it on the ground when we were rounding kids up. I didn’t want it to get lost in the brush.”
World travelers, man. Nothing rattles them, and they sure know the importance of good gardening equipment.