The Bear

I was complaining about writer’s block to my brother the other day.  His comment:  “Write about that.”

“I already did.”

“Ah.”  After some thought, he added, “Well, why don’t you just tell stories about the things you’ve done.”

“I haven’t done too much that’s entertaining.”

“So, tell other people’s stories.  You know lots of those.”

“But…but their other people’s stories!”


Well, he’s got me there I suppose.  So I’d figure I’d start with this one, because it’s short:

I have a friend, we’ll call him Scott, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania.  He and his dad built a rather high deer stand at some point and what he saw one day from this deer stand was related to me years later at a college party.

It seems from the deer stand Scott could see his neighbor’s house and, more specifically, his neighbor’s back porch.  And, on that particular day, he could also see a bear.  It was sniffing around his neighbor’s back door.

Just as my friend was trying to think of what to do, the door opened, the neighbor’s wife leaned out with a cast iron frying pan, hit the bear on the head, and closed the door.  The bear sat down on his rump, stunned.  The woman in question walked back to the sink and put the frying pan in it, then took a deep breath.  After a moment, the bear got up and lurched away.  What happened after that is unknown, because my friend was laughing too hard to pay attention.

I don’t think this story has much of a point beyond being an amusing anecdote.  Maybe it says something about the tenacity of Appalachian women that’s so deeply ingrained in the hills themselves that anyone who lives here picks it up from mere exposure.  Or perhaps it’s a testament to the pioneering blood that so many of us carry around in our veins – yes, even if our ancestors weren’t “pioneers” in the tradition sense, Americans tend to do crazy things because…well…it’s worked so far.

Or maybe this is just a funny story about a bear.


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