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Down the Road

Pretty good bear tale
By Milton M. Gross
Jun 1, 2014 - 12:35:55 AM

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Following is a pretty good bear tale, assuming I got the bear facts right.

As I walked into the office this morning, I caught the tail end of a bear tale being told by another employee. She left before I could think to ask her details, such as where, when, and perhaps even why. I knew the who, her. (Whose name I am temporarily forgetting, so it may have been....Her.)

She, whose name probably isn't Her, said that she was outside of her and her boyfriend's tent one night during a camping trip. As she was leaning over to do some camp chore on the table, she felt something lightly bump her rearward area.

Thinking it was their dog, whose name I didn't catch, so it may have been Shep, (or it may not) she swatted at it. Then, something made her turn around, such as having finished whatever camping chore she was doing out there in the middle of the night.

She turned and saw -- nothing.

"Darn dog," she mumbled, as she crawled into the tent, where she saw Shep or whoever it really was sound asleep.

"How long has he been asleep," my fellow employee asked her boyfriend.

"He's been there a long time," her boyfriend replied.

Then she knew. Aha, it wasn't the dog. She crawled to the tent doorway and lifted the flap. And saw four large furry feet, which hurried off since she had apparently frightened it.

I've only seen black bear a couple of times, once on the Golden Road from Millinocket to Greenville, Maine. I was with my parents, and I was driving a '49 Plymouth, and we saw a black bear cross the gravel road ahead of us. We stopped, watched it disappear, and then continued on our way.

This was an old car -- not that old at the time -- and when we stopped for gasoline in Greenville, the attendant noticed that the large round thing, whose name I forget since newer cars don't have them, was not fastened. It had been resting there, loose, when the bear crossed the road.

We were some happy that the bear hadn't decided to eat the large round thing, whose name I forget since newer cars don't have them.

Years later, in a much newer car, I saw a bear cross Route 2 somewhere west of Bethel.

A bus driver told me that while he was driving said bus down the Acadia National Park Loop Road south of the Jordan Pond restaurant in the middle of the park, he spotted a black bear crossing the road ahead and going into the woods.

A passenger wanted to get a picture of the bear, so he stopped the bus. She got off and followed the bear into the woods. The bear, however, didn't like being followed, so he turned and followed the tourist back to the bus -- at a run.

The driver had closed the door, and only opened it after the tourist banged on it for a few life-preserving seconds, and jumped aboard.

"Why did you lock me out?" the tourist asked.

"Because we never let people on the bus with a bear behind," the driver answered.

Now, I'm not all that good at spelling, so there may be a word misspelled here someplace outside the bus.

A bear that turned out to not be a bear joined my son and I one night as we were camping. We were sitting on a bench of the picnic table, legs outstretched enjoying the warmth of our camp fire. Something made us turn around, and standing on the bench on the opposite side of the table, was a non-bear. It may have also been trying to catch some heat from our fire.

Or, it may have been masquerading as a bear.

But it looked a lot like a raccoon.

A neighbor told me she had seen a really huge, black porcupine in our dooryard early one morning.

I figured that it may not have been a really huge, black porcupine. It may have been a medium-sized other critter.

With a name spelled, if I guessed correctly, like one of the "bear" words in the bus story.

This non-bear appeared in our kitchen a lot of days and nights. But one night she went out and refused to come back into the house. We think another non-bear, the owl that hung out in a tree down the street, had her for supper. Milt Gross photo.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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