It was a lovely spring Saturday and the afternoon sun was warm and inviting. The chaise lounge that rests at the base of an acacia tree was calling out to me. I lay down and began listening to my audible book. The reader’s words lulled me to the edge of Napville. Until…
…I was rudely interrupted by my golden retriever who began his regular practice of gently scratching at my arm with his paw to get my attention. Usually, there is a ball in his mouth.
“Ugh, Lucky. Not now, give me 20 minutes,” I whined at the dog, refusing to open my eyes, which is the signal that playtime could commence.
But he wouldn’t take no and his nagging pawing persisted. I couldn’t get angry with him, he did it in such a profoundly gentle way. Notably so. In fact, I began to think it was my teenage daughter, Lindsay, playing a trick on me. I could feel her weight against me. I did everything I could not to open my eyes.
“Lindsay, just give me 20 minutes pleeeeease.”
Tap, tap, tap.
“Fine, I give up.” Slowly I opened my eyes.
Leaning against me with his hairy, hundred plus pound body, with one leg dangling off the lounge, his snout inches away from my nose, and his tongue poised and ready to go for the kiss was… the BEAR CUB. He smiled.
I’m sorry to say that my scream, and a sudden leap in the air, scared him. He jumped off the lounge, climbed up the acacia tree and rested on the first branch he reached. From this safe spot, he gazed down at me.
I immediately felt awful for scaring the little guy and wished that I hadn’t. The mother and his brother were watching a few feet away. She shook her head and they turned and walked away, balancing on the cinderblock wall, off to my neighbor’s house.
“Beth! Steve! The bear tried to kiss me,” I shouted.
“Bear?” They called from their backyard.
“They’re coming to you. Pucker up!”
With all the screaming, Lindsay came running out of the house to see what was causing all the commotion.
“Look up in the tree,” I instructed.
“You scared him,” she scolded me.
“I know. I feel awful.” I glanced down at the gentle paw marks on my arm.
The bear cub straddled the narrow branch that wobbled underneath his weight.
“Do you think he recognized you?” Lindsay asked.
“Yes, of course. It’s the same bear with the yellow tag and the cubs I saw up the trail last year. We’ve seen her so many times. I’m sure they recognized me.”
Suddenly, the Mama Bear called him to her with a clicking sound. He raised his head to listen. Mom’s calling. So, he gingerly shinnied down the large tree trunk.
“Careful, don’t take out my lights, they were a bear to put up. Good-bye, little friend,” I said from the base of the tree. “Next time I promise to be nicer.”
He walked over to his mom, who was waiting for him on the wall, and together they walked back over to Beth and Steve’s house for a swim.
Despite what you are thinking, this story is true.
“Silly ol’ bear.”
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