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Down the Road

Moose tales retold
By Milton M. Gross
Nov 22, 2015 - 12:43:46 AM

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Today I got a haircut, and the barber and I were swapping moose tales. So I've got moose on my mind.

So, poor reader, if you have been reading this column a 100 years or so, you'll find you have already read some of these. Of course, admit it or not, if you recognize some of these tales, you are really really old.

But since you're not really really old, I know you won't recognize these.

Now, let's see, where to start. I know! How about one about which I've never written before. I know you haven't read this one. If you have, I don't know who wrote it.

I had just climbed down the Appalachian Trail from a low mountain to Surplus Pond. At the very bottom, I had to climb over a couple of tricky places ("tricky places" are place about which I've forgotten the details, except that they were tricky places) to pass the Pond. I glanced out at the pond, a quiet remote body of water, and I saw a couple of bull moose swimming directly toward me.

Question: why would a bull moose swim 100 yards across a pond toward me? Answer: I have no idea.

My only idea was not being there when the pair would crawl up the bank about 50 feet from me. So, I ran -- not hiked -- back up the steep downhill I had just descended.

The last I saw of them, they were still swimming toward me.

Question: Did you ever have a bull moose charge you while he was swimming? Answer: I didn't think so.

Anyhow the next time I came back down, no moose were around. Some people want to see moose. I don't want to see moose.

Especially the ones that are bigger than me.

Next moose tale -- no, not tail --tale. One of my favorites. Dolores and I were driving along the Golden Road northwest of Baxter State Park. Looking about 100 yards ahead, we spied a tree branch heading toward us only on the other side of the road. If you think thats bad, read on. As it got closer, I recognized Bullwinkle, with a branch stuck on his antler.

As I grabbed the camera and opened the car door, Dolores said, "You're not getting out of the car, are you?"

"Of course not," I replied as I slid out of the car, camera in hand.

I'm not that brave, so I waited at the open car door, camera in hand, which was shaking some -- must have been the late afternoon coolness.

When Bullwinkle got nearly opposite the car, I snapped his photo,* getting a great shot of the branch dangling from his antler.

When I took the photo, Bullwinkle stopped, looked at me, and said, "You're not going to show that to any of my buddies (that's moose buddies) are you? It would be so embarrassing?"

Lest he think I wasn't telling him the truth, and you know by now I always tell the truth sometimes, I jumped back in the car and waited alongside the road while he passed, the branch still dangling embarrassingly from his antler.

Now I know you won't believe all of this tale. You're not alone. Dolores didn't either, and she was in the car with me.

Another moose tale I well remember happened when I was reading the paper after eating breakfast. I remember the tale, but I didn't see the moose that created the tale. This happened in the town of Danforth, where I was principal of the elementary school, which isn't part of the tale but I want you to know that I know where Danforth is. It's right...well, more to the right. It's just up a whole bunch of roads from here.

I didn't hear the tale until I got to school, when a half-dozen kids asked me if I had seen it. Curious as to what "it" was, I finally asked one.

"The moose that was staring in your window at you while you were reading the paper," one answered.

Part of this has always puzzled me. How did that kid know I was reading the paper?

I won't tell the most exciting moose tale, the day while I was walking the Appalachian Trail corridor that two moose, not five, two, came out of the woods and met me. That tale is so exciting...but I won't tell it. Neither will either of the bull moose, especially the one that told me he was in the woods eating his Sunday dinner and suggested I go home and eat mine.

Now you may not think he actually spoke to me. But, following the evidence carefully here, why would I answer him?

I don't know why. Actually I didn't. But by the time he got to within ten feet of the tree behind which I was hiding and heard my knees knocking, he must have thought I was drumming for help. He just watched me while I raced up a steep hill, me hoping I would win that race.

This part is absolutely true, most of it anyhow. I did win the race.

Unless Bullwinkle Junior didn't bother running after me.

I'm not sure because I didn't look back.

That is true.

Oh, the other bull. I saw him a half-hour later. He didn't speak to me but trotted up the corridor line ahead of me.

Now that bull moose knew how bull moose are supposed to act.

* You may be wondering where that great shot is. I've been wondering the same thing. It's around here somewhere. That may be true.


Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015


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