“Where are you bringing that?” My new husband asked as I was falling out of the truck.
I was on my first, last, and ONLY bear hunting expedition. Yes, imagine me, the girl who grew up in New York City’s armpit out hunting bear. Based on my prior animal recognition skills (mistaking a baby goat for a cow & a hay roll for a moose), I’m not even sure I could have accurately identified a bear. Although I must say I did see a lot of “Smokey The Bear” commercials as a child, so I may in fact have been able to spot one.
“Into the woods.” I sleepily responded.
It was just before the break of dawn and it was FREEZING. I could hardly walk. I was clad in tights, jeans, my husband’s wool hunting pants, several sweatshirts, a camouflage jacket, two pairs of socks, boots, and mittens. I even had one of those handy pocket warmers. I resembled a brown bear and was a little leery about spending a day in their territory. After all, I was wearing camouflage.
You ever notice how many camo patterns exist? Of course you haven’t! Let me tell you…you really need your doctorate in “Fall Underbrush Patterns” in order to make an educated choice of which camo to wear. Since I skipped that elective in college, I just trusted the dictator to pick my clothing (only this once).
I brought the book along for the sake of entertainment. Although my husband finds sitting hidden deep in the woods for endless hours exciting, I anticipated monotonous silence. I’d already been lectured on the need for absolute quiet…meaning NO talking, whispering, or even mouthing words. Sign language – out! And I was coming for companionship…am I the only one confused.
“You can’t bring the book.” Says the hunting dictator in a firm voice. “The jacket makes a rustling noise.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding, right?” I pleaded.
This is not just any book; it’s THE book from library. This rustling jacketed book is the one that has tormented me for nearly a decade. It’s TOM CLANCY! My entire relationship with Tom Clancy has been nothing but trouble, right from the start.
The dictator was NOT kidding.
Grumpily leaving the book behind, I made my way through the woods. Now I know you are picturing a nice little hiking trail up the side of a mountain, however, and I hate to disappoint (I’m a pleaser you know), we were beating our own path through the thick underbrush.
By the time we entered the clearing, I’d left clumps of hair hanging from branches, was bleeding from a slice across my left cheek (facial cheek, my other was well padded), and had slightly freshened the pine scent of wilderness with the smell of “fig & brown sugar” body lotion. Fear began building inside…we would be sitting ducks, bear food by the time this was all over. I’ve seen those “When Nature Goes Wild” shows. I know bears can smell and I’m not sure, but I’d bet my long-johns on the fact that they like figs and brown sugar.
Sitting propped against a tree was so exhilarating I fell asleep for several hours. Mice played tag across, around, and over my log of a body (the camo worked). Not trusting I’d be quiet if awake, the dictator allowed me to sleep despite a few snores.
So much for silence.
I awoke with a start to the thunderous sound of a very large creature bounding through the woods. I’ve slept through my newborn baby’s hungry cries, so this was a BIG sound. Branches snapped, bushes rustled, and water sprayed from the stream just a few yards in front of us creating a chorus of panic in my head. Forgetting all need for silence, I jumped up and onto the dictator yelling “Get you gun!” “GET YOUR GUN!”
The dictator pealed me off, reminding me that he needed his arm back in order to shoot. Sadly for us, I think the bear noticed we were in the woods…maybe it was my body lotion, I’m not quite sure…maybe it was just his lucky day.
Sarah Palin isn’t the only woman with a gun toting, animal hunting history.