My friends and I had completed a
two-hour hike and wound our way back
to the trailhead where we found a
sprawling picnic area. We opted for a
table in the shade and opened our
backpacks for sandwiches and drinks.
Two tables down, we watched an
elderly lady unpack her picnic
basket with a smorgasbord of cold
chicken, potato salad, baked beans,
fruit, rolls and brownies. Our mouths
watered. At a nearby stream, her
husband practiced casting his rod.
A clump of bushes began to shake.
Out stepped a black bear. We yelled,
"Lady, bear!" She turned toward us
just as the bear swiped her container
of chicken. She ran toward the bear
and grabbed the container. Back and
forth, back and forth, they fought for
the container. As the tug of war
moved them closer to the table, the
lady used one hand to snag a thermos
bottle. She bopped the bear on the
nose. With a yelp, the bear let go
and fled into the bushes. Her husband
dashed to her side. He screamed,
"Ethel, what were you thinking?"
"Bill, I've told you no one messes
with my food!"
Shaking with amazement, we
stammered in union, "We can't believe
what you did!" Ethel exclaimed, "I
worked long and hard to make this food
and no bear was going to ruin my
Bill replied, "That's my Ethel--
no one and I mean no one--not even a
bear messes with Ethel's food!"
Somewhere, there a bear reinterating,
"Don't mess with Ethel's food! Don't
mess with Ethel's food!"
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