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home : opinion : columns May 25, 2016

7/13/2014 6:00:00 AM
Guest Column: Don't worry about the scary bears
Dorothy Buckelew
Kingman Resident

I will soon be leaving for our family summer home in Big Sky Lake, Mont. This is a true story, written by my daughter Clara, about me, a bear and my dearly departed father, Bob.

It was the scariest moment of my life. Little did I know it would also turn into the most hilarious. I was visiting my elderly parents in their summer home in Montana. Hoping to rejuvenate and relax, I decided to head out to the dock and fish. The lake was as smooth as glass, and the sun was sinking behind the evergreen-rich mountains, leaving streaks of orange and pink. The colors reflected off the water nicely and left me in a trance, pondering the mysteries of the world.

A twig cracked above the wooden stairs, snapping me out of my daze. When I looked for the origin of the noise I saw a huge bear. My first instinct was to panic. I started screaming, "BEAR!" and frantically waved my arms as best I could.

My parents were both in the house watching TV. I was not surprised they didn't hear my call for help.

They wouldn't have heard a freight train if it ran straight through their cabin.

The bear got up on its hind legs and roared. Its ravenous mouth and razor-sharp claws were too much for my farmer's tan arms and flannel shirt. Saliva dripped from its mouth, anticipating its human meal. I kept thinking; if this thing comes any closer, my butt is jumpin' in that lake!

Actually, the bear never did that. It didn't even notice me until I started screaming and when I did, it cocked its head to the side, probably thinking, "This woman has gone crazy." It lifted itself up on its hind legs to satisfy its curiosity. Un-amused, it finally ventured off. No doubt it was my highly demonstrative skills of bravery that scared him away.

Later, when I told my parents about the encounter, my dad insisted on giving me a lesson on bear safety. We went outside on the deck and he began to show me how to properly use bear pepper spray. He sprayed a small amount over the wooden deck, but unfortunately for me, a gust of wind caught it and blew it right back it my face. I felt as though I was on fire. I was gagging and couldn't breathe. My eyes were red and swollen.

At that point, the only thing I could do was laugh. The next day I hopped a flight back to Arizona. I received quite a few curious stares, most likely wondering why I was wearing sunglasses in an airport.

Moral of the story: If you see a black bear, stand your ground. (It worked for me.)

If an old man named Bob in suspenders and waist-high pants wants to show you how to use pepper spray, run!

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

This is a light hearted family story with love and humor that is a big part of the American way of life.

This was refreshing in the midst of all the problems in today's life that are plaguing the families and politics in our great country.

Thank you so much for sharing with us!

Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2014
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Dorothy, I envy you heading for Montana.

I had to laugh at how your Dad reminded me so much of my boyfriend who used to try to show me how you could tell a poisonous snake from a non poisonous one by carefully looking at his colors.

Carefully looking at his colors? You've got to be kidding? I'm supposed to hang around long enough to take a good look at his colors?

And in case he was the one with the poisonous colors?

No thanks. And I wouldn't be approaching a bear with a can of bear spray either while I slipped and squirted it in my own face...while he mauled me for his morning brunch.

That's why we're women and they aren't.

Mom had the right idea and this won't be popular with snake lovers...which includes all my sons...some of whom even own snakes for their classrooms..so they can tell girl students about snake colors I suppose.

Walking home w/sacks of groceries as a kid, a snake was curled up right in front of our door. Ignoring his colors, Mom set her sacks down, got the hoe and hacked him in half. I didn't note his colors, hard to focus when you're screaming.

Have a great Montana trip.

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