Monday, December 18, 2006

Auntie Kathy's Birthday Bear

Now it happened in June of 2000 that Granny started to work one day and by the time she got part way down the hill she saw a little black bear. And Maya will remember that Granny wrote and told her about it and about how she (Granny, not the bear) decided that the bear could have that street and she (Granny, not the bear) would walk down a different street. And so she did.

Well, the very next week, Granny was sweeping her kitchen floor, and she looked out the window and there were people in the street and a little blond bear crossing the street and heading down the hill towards Cope Park. So, Granny went outside to talk to her neighbors about the bear, and she got there just in time to see the little black bear come out from between her building and the house next door. It (the bear, not Granny) walked across the street and through the parking lot and down the hill towards Cope Park. It didn't bother the people at all. Indeed, Granny said later that the bear looked at them and said "People," in just the casual sort of voice Maya might say "Roly Polies." And Granny was very glad that she had been able to see both of the bears.

The next week, Granny was taking her trash out and when she came down her exterior stairs a woman in the street looked very startled. The lady told Granny that the little black bear had come down Granny's stairs just a minute before she (Granny, not the bear) did.

And later that week, Granny was sitting at her computer working and she looked up and the little black bear was walking across her roof/patio. "My goodness," said Granny, "this little black bear is getting very familiar." And so Granny decided to name the bear, and since it sometimes hung out with the blond bear she named them Blondie and Dagwood. And that was not the last she heard of Dagwood.

Everyday Granny would read the animal encounters section of the paper, and everyday some bears would be mentioned. Often they were Dagwood and Blondie. The paper always said they were non-aggressive bears, but still they were around town much too much. They were seen coming down staircases and eating bird seed and walking into people's yards.

Then, on Auntie Kathy's birthday, Granny went to Uncle Richard and Auntie Kathy's house. She was crossing the street right in front of their house and she heard a noise and looked over, and Dagwood was crossing the street right beside her -- maybe six feet away. Dagwood looked cool with it, so Granny just walked slowly on her way. They got across the street and Dagwood went up one staircase and Granny went up the other. Auntie Kathy was just coming out to retrieve a birthday card that had fallen between the retaining wall and the banister. She and Uncle Richard decided that they would go together -- Auntie Kathie to fish for the card, and Uncle Richard to watch her back and warn her if the bear came. They could hear it in the neighbor's yard and then Uncle Richard saw it. He agreed with Granny, Dagwood was a small bear. When Auntie Kathy and Uncle Richard and Granny were leaving the house to go to the restaurant for Auntie Kathy's birthday dinner, the bear was in their yard. Auntie Kathy got her camera and took a picture of Dagwood standing and eating bird seed out of the bird feeder. Uncle Richard stood inside the kitchen and looked out the window right into Dagwood's face. Then they (Uncle Richard and Auntie Kathy and Granny, not the bear) left. They went to El Sombrero and had a wonderful dinner and when they got home, Dagwood had left.

The next day Granny went to work and she told all her friends about the bear at Auntie Kathy's birthday party. Her friend Betty told her about a friend of theirs who drove to work just that very morning and there was Dagwood, and the friend was afraid to get out of her car. But Dagwood didn't leave, and finally the friend decided he wasn't acting aggressive, so she got out of her car and Dagwood never even looked at her. Betty and Granny agreed that Dagwood is one very non-aggressive bear.

Late in the afternoon, Granny and Betty and Cynthia were sitting outside getting a breath of air and they saw two policemen walking up the hill just a block away -- about a third of the way to Auntie Kathy's and Uncle Richard's house, and they (Granny and Betty and Cynthia, not Uncle Richard or Auntie Kathy or the policemen or the bear) knew that the policemen were there because of Dagwood.

The policemen (Kevin and Jim, friends of Betty's son John) crossed the street and disappeared in someone's yard. A few minutes later, Dagwood came out of that very yard and crossed the street and went back down the hill on just exactly the path that Kevin and Jim had taken up the hill. Then Kevin and Jim followed. They (Kevin and Jim, not Granny or Betty or Cynthia) went down to the Eastern Orthodox Church behind the bear. A lady in car drove by and told Granny and Betty and Cynthia that the bear had been down on Calhoun Street just a while ago, and she (the lady in the car, not the bear) had given a ride up the hill to two pedestrians who were a little shy of it. Then, said the lady in the car, Dagwood had just tried to go to a child's birthday party. Granny mentioned that the day before it had gone to Auntie Kathy's birthday party. Betty said that Dagwood sounded like a party animal.

Then Granny and Betty and Cynthia had to go back into their office and get to work. But the next morning, Granny heard that Dagwood was being herded by two police officers away from a dumpster behind the Baranof Hotel. Granny wondered if it was still Kevin and Jim herding Dagwood and if the "bear guy" (as everybody referred to the man from Fish and Game who traps and relocates bears) was out of town and they had to herd Dagwood until he got back.


J said...

I hope that story had a happy ending, and not a dead Dagwood.

Betty said...

Dagwood doesn't sound like your average bear. (Sorry Yogi) You live in such an interesting area.

kenju said...

I know you live in a beautiful place, but I am glad to live where the fiercest thing I ever encounter is a deer or a raccoon.

Ginnie said...

My life seems very mundane compared to yours. The wildest things in my area are human and that can be scarier, I'm sure!