Saturday was my birthday, and there's no better way I know of to celebrate the auspicious day than to lollygag around the house with absolutely no agenda while the kids and grand-kids drop in and out, eating cake as we get the whim, hugging, and listening to or telling stories. Memories are made of this -- as the song says.
We laughed so hard reminiscing I thought I'd tell you one of those stories retold on Saturday about when my boys were young.
First it's prerequisite to know -- we have five adult kids between the ages of 18 and 29 who only survived childhood by the Grace of God because we let them do things most intelligent parents would shudder at, and we were young and feeling invincible ourselves when we they were tikes. That said, this story is about a couple of our boys, Quinn and Cade, and their good buddy Gary, who came from equally permissive stock.
Our boys started hunting when they were about four or five. You know -- wrist rocket renegades of the north, BB gun bandits of the misty swamps, notebook wire trappers of the piney forests...
|Cade & Beau when they were little shavers hunting squirrels.|
|Quinn (15) Cade (12) - a few years after the bear tale.|
One day they were out in the woods creating peril for the local frog and field mouse population, when they experienced a true Dan'l Boone moment. Hearing a noise above them, they looked up and discovered twin bear cubs in a tree above their heads. These boys, being wise to the ways of the wild for their ages (Quinn was about 9, Cade 6, and Gary was in between) knew that as cute as those little ebony-eyed, fuzzy, black critters were, mama bear would be somewhere nearby. Slowly, the three-some crouched into the tall grass.
|In the tree above our mailbox in 2011|
Quinn, being the eldest of the bunch, hushed them. "Guys, the mama bear is probably close," he whispered. "Don't make any fast moves."
Mere moments passed. Mama bear came stomping in woofing and thrashing through the brush and raking her nails on the trees in as threatening a manner as three little boys could ever hope to endure without scurrying up the trees like those cubs.
It was then Cade's lip started to quiver.
Now, when they retold this story on Saturday, our 9-year-old grand-daughter was all ears. I asked her, "Kendall, if you were in the woods with your pals, and you were the oldest and had to protect the younger ones, what would you do?" She said she'd take off and leave them behind. Lol!
Well, Quinn, whom we still count on to keep his head in a crisis, put me in mind of that iconic scene in the movie Moonstruck, when Ronny (Nicolas Cage) told Loretta Castorini (Cher) he was in love with her and she promptly slapped him across the face, twice, and said, "Snap out of it!" That's sort of how Quinn reacted to Cade's growing fear. He gave Cade the big brother stare-of-doom and cuffed him a good one. "Don't cry! We can't let the bear know we're afraid."
It had its desired effect. Finally, the boys crept out of the area until it was safe to make a full-out break for it.
I can recall them rushing into the house breathless, telling us how they'd been chased by a bear. It's worthwhile to note that they didn't exaggerate. Gary's dad returned with them to the scene, where there was indeed a mother bear and two cubs. Being not far from the house, he fired a couple slugs past her and her brood to chase them off. It became a day - and story - to live in infamy.
I tell this story to serve two purposes: 1.) Just for a little Northland entertainment. 2.) To encourage you to let your kids have all kinds of wild adventures - especially those boys. It does make them tough. But don't be too naïve about it. You want them to live to tell the tale.
Perhaps I'll share further stories of my kids' adventures in the wilderness another day.
Blessings from the northwoods~