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The Bear that Didn’t Go over the Mountain
Last weekend, we escaped the heat by going to a friend’s little trailer about six miles above Bat Cave on the highway to Black Mountain. It’s right off the road with a big grassy back yard (flood plain) that ends at the Broad River. The river is about twelve feet wide and a foot or so deep, with lots of rocks you can pile up to make seats or dams or river sculptures.
We were accompanied by a couple who had dispatched a wild hog, one of a pack that is devastating their field corn, and brought the resulting hams for us to cook. I got up early on Saturday and went out to the covered, railed deck with my coffee to watch the wild turkeys and listen to the donkeys across the river bray. After the second caffeine infusion, I needed something to do and decided to check out our pig. The cooler, sitting just as neat and quiet as could be and closed tight as a tick, contained a gallon of ice tea, a bag of pole beans I’d strung and snapped during the ride up, two bags of ice – but no pig. Two packages, about twelve pounds each, had disappeared.
I went inside and looked in the already packed-to-the-gills refrigerator. No pig. I looked in my little cooler. No pig. I looked in a cooler that lives on the porch just to hold cold drinks. No pig. When Ann got up, she, too, looked in the cooler and then we went inside, and looked in the refrigerator (like I wouldn’t be able to see 30 pounds of meat) but, no pig.
We went and told Hank, Ann’s husband, about it. He did not pop out of bed but looked pretty disgruntled and announced that a bear probably got it. I wouldn’t buy it and blamed the theft on some backwoods moonshiner who had snuck in during the night.
Ann and I searched the yard, and sure enough, found the butcher paper wrappings and a very thoroughly gnawed femur at the edge of the yard under a broken black walnut tree; guess the bear decided to sit in the tree for his picnic.
A trip to Ingles ensued to replace supper. Ann and I got chickens and baby back ribs which husband Edward smoked to perfection, and Ann embellished with figs/prosciutto and feta cheese, and wine to enrich the experience. With Golden Kernel Pecan Company’s pecan toffee (the candy my sister hides in her nightgown drawer) for dessert, we retired to our separate ends of the aluminum cabin.
Edward, my dear husband, who is old enough to have to get up in the night, heard a noise and went into the kitchen where he and the bear surprised each other through the glass door. Like Ann and me, the bear must have thought if he looked in the cooler often enough, more pig would appear.