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Saturday, October 10, 2009

A bear story

We don't have bears in Illinois anymore. But, we used to...

It was a Friday night in the late summer of 1962 (or maybe early summer of '63). We were camping next to the shore of Little Grassy Lake in Southern Illinois. My brother and I were already in for the night, asleep in our sleeping bags inside the tent when my mom and dad woke us up and quickly hustled us into the car. A baby bear had wandered into our campsite. I remember my dad saying that her mother couldn't be too far away. The other family we were camping with also got into their car.

The only light was from the moon. However, I still got a pretty good look at her as she was snooping around our picnic table. She appeared to be shiny black and about the size of a chubby four year old girl. She was so curious and cute. But, of course, we all knew that her cuteness belied the true nature of her wild viciousness and especially that of her unseen mom.

Even though this was our first year of camping, we were experienced enough to know to bury our garbage away from the campsite and to keep the rest of our unused food in the cooler in the trunk of the car. So, not finding any food or snacks to get into, she wandered back off to wherever she came from with no damage done.

We spent the rest of the night sleeping in the hot car. I'm sure my dad had his hand on the ignition the whole time, ready to take off if need be. As soon as dawn hit, we broke camp and moved farther north. All our vacations and many of our summer weekends were spent camping for about eight more years, but we never went back to Little Grassy.

This bear story is inspired by an article in today's SJ-R, Bear Facts in Illinois by George Little. (I have more bear stories, but those will have to wait for another time.)

Posted by Marie at October 10, 2009 9:22 PM