Grasshopper Soup: Bob versus the bear
Special to the Sun
For years I have been wondering why the bears, who regularly walk right by my place at night, have never bothered to drop in for a little snack. How rude of them. I cook salmon a lot, and usually have honey in stock and plenty of food in the fridge.
I thought maybe the bears had already cased the joint and decided the narrow entry way and high deck didnand#8217;t offer enough escape routes. I realize now that my erudite speculation about what goes on in a bearand#8217;s mind was just typical human pretense.
Early Sunday morning a loud crash on the porch suddenly woke me. When I hear something at night I usually donand#8217;t sit up all the way, but this time I did. There was a momentary silence. Heavy Jeffrey pine cones have been falling on my roof and deck, so I thought I had just heard another one. I found out later the crash was a bicycle falling over and the leg of a patio chair snapping off.
Then I heard another hefty crunch. My kitchen window was open. I frequently leave my windows open all year. I jumped out of bed half naked and went to the kitchen.
In the moonless night I saw the twinkling of a pair of eyes and the window screen collapsing in onto the stove top. I love my window screens. They let in fresh mountain air and keep bugs out. Seeing one destroyed turned me into one ticked off natural born citizen defending his den.
At first I thought it was a desperate human breaking in. A burglar I could reason with. Yeah, we think some pretty dumb things at times like these, donand#8217;t we.
I yelled, and#8220;What the hell are you doing?and#8221; No answer.
Then I saw a pair of big, hairy arms resting on the window sill. It was a bear. So I grabbed my guitar and sang a Carl Perkins song: and#8220;They took some honey, from a tree, dressed it up and they called it meand#8230;and#8221; Probably not the best choice of lyrics to sing to a bear, but it scared him away.
Actually, I didnand#8217;t think to grab my guitar. Thatand#8217;s the lie part of the story. I yelled what any self respecting potential bear victim would yell in his underwear at a time like this. and#8220;Get outta here!and#8221;
The entire bear wasnand#8217;t and#8220;in hereand#8221; yet, just her paws and nose, but he, or she, heard the threatening tone of my voice and, with due diligence, immediately convinced herself of my dominant nature, shoved off from the window sill and sulked away into the dark night without a fight. What a wimpy black bear.
I quickly dressed and went outside with a big flashlight. The bear was trying to get in to the Dumpster used by one of Tahoe Cityand#8217;s finest restaurants. I felt proud that the scent in my place had been the bruinand#8217;s first choice over the menu of such a fine establishment.
It took a few fist size rocks to scare the hungry monster away, and what a monster she was. I estimated the beautiful creature to be at least 300 pounds. She stared me down at about fifty paces, making her menacing power quite clear, but one last rock and she bolted over the fence behind the Dumpster with a loud crash of bottles flying.
Although I had properly, and effectively, chased the bear away without having to resort to violence, I had to do something in case word got out in bear land that something smells good at Boband#8217;s, like Bob, and a bear returns before the snows come. If this one is smart, sheand#8217;ll keep her mouth shut.
Thanks to all the excitement, I was able to poke out an entire column in record time. It has only been an hour since the attempted break in. I love bears. They are truly an inspiration. This one inspired me to load my shotgun, and keep it loaded.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.
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