Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wilbur and the Bear

Hello, everybody, it'll been awhile. Wilbur Hucks here. Good thing Bailey finally got the blog fixed. We all thought we'd be lost forever in outer space. (Oh. Someone just told me it's "cyber-space." Whatever in the heck that is.)

Carla's typing this for me 'cause I can't type or spell a lick. If you want to know how old I am now, it's 78. Let's just get that out of the way, and don't say you weren't curious. Been married for as long as I remember and survived it. So far. Also survived a war and just last year, heart surgery. Got the scar to prove it--the surgery, I mean--and it's a mighty fine one. More on that another day.

Might as well say something right up front. As you know, Bailey's reason for starting this blog last year was to make visitors to Kanner Lake feel welcome. That's fine I guess, and a lot of you are good folks and have even stopped in to see us. But don't expect me to be all-out friendly to everybody. Figure you better know what you're stepping into if you're gonna drive all this way to see the town. For every saint like Bailey you've got one of me. Come if you like. Take us as we are. We were here first.

Bailey suggested I tell you about the goings-on hereabouts, like the hunting, fishing and hiking. As the best fly fisher in Idaho, I expect she's got the right man for the job. We got fish in Kanner Lake so big you can ride 'em like a horse. For hunters, we got elk, white-tail and mule deer thicker than fleas on a dog's back. We also got ducks, geese, wild turkeys, and bear.

Took me on a bear once. Bare-handed. Well, more like footed. But the foot wasn't bare.

Since we were youngsters, Wally Keller had been telling me he wanted to sneak up on a black bear and give him a boot in the pa-toot. Don't ask me where he got such a fool notion in his head. I told him from the start he was a downright idgit, but he kept on. Then he started calling me chicken 'cause I didn't want nothing to do with it.

Nobody calls me chicken. Even at the age of eight. I told Wally if he and I ever got the chance, I'd be the one to give it to the bear.

Fifty-some years went by. Wally and I grew up, went off to war and came back. (Thank the Lord.) Wally got married; I got married. We both had kids. Had us some good times with our families and some bad. In all the ruckus of life in general, we forgot about that childhood promise. Then one day when Wally and I were hiking, lo and behold out of the blue we came up on a big black bear napping in the sun with his head resting on his paws.

Wally pointed at the huge critter and then aimed his finger at me. I was about to shake my head no when Wally mouthed "You're chicken." Well, he's right about that. But then I got to thinking, doggone, we'd waited over half a lifetime for that moment, and could this war veteran just walk away? Right then and there my decision was made.

I snuck up on that bear so quiet it would have made Daniel Boone proud. Got my feet set for running, hands up and fingers spread for balance. Holding my breath. Up came one foot while I made good and sure I was stable on the other. Then I let my boot fly.

Tell you what. That bear let out a howl the likes you never heard and took off like he'd been shot out of a cannon. Likely didn't stop until he crossed the state line. Wally and I fell on the ground laughing until we near split our guts.

I came back from that hike with the proof I'm no chicken, though I suppose you could call me a durn fool. But I had me a good story to tell. Half the people don't believe it, even with Wally as my witness. Too bad, I tell the story anyway. Tell it to you in person, too, when you visit Kanner Lake.

So come on see us at Java Joint. Make Bailey happy. Just stay off the fourth stool at the counter. It's mine.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
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