The following column which appeared in the Franklin Chronicle has just been awarded first place by the Florida Press Association for humor in a recent contest.
Fall Is Here!
By Richard E. Noble
Ahh yes, once again it is fall. The robins are heading south with all of their little friends. The birds are all a-flutter, the cypress trees are shedding, the grape vine leaves are turning yellow and “I’m as giddy as a kitten up a tree”.
Don’t you just love fall – everything dying or hiding and going into hibernation. It is just like real life in the world today.
You might think that I have fall fever - if you didn’t hear me cursing every morning as I gather up all the broken egg shells, coffee grounds and gooey garbage that had been strewn about my front yard by the raccoons and black bears that are now an integral part of this - the Franklin County Wildlife Preserve.
Yesterday, a little past twilight, as I sat on my screened-in porch, I happened to notice that a fourteen or fifteen hundred pound Black Bear was standing there on my septic tank mound. Naturally I was somewhat apprehensive, so I did what any man would do - I called my wife. She took one look at the bear standing on our septic tank and ran out into the yard to confront the bear. She clapped her hands several times and yelled; shoo, shoo you bad old bear – just like she was talking to the neighbor’s cocker spaniel.
I was, of course, still inside the house. I decided that since this was just a big, old, dumb animal in my back yard, I would take some intelligent thoughtful action. “Honey, are you out of your mind!” I screamed.
While my wife continued to play patty-cake with the two thousand pound Black Bear, I called the Florida Fish and Wildlife. I told the man on the phone that there was a bear in my yard. He chuckled.
I said, “What do you suggest I do?”
He said, “Stay indoors until the bear goes away.”
I was expecting something a little more than that response.
“Yeah, but what if the bear decides to come inside and join me?”
“Oh wow! That would be something wouldn’t it,” he said laughing.
“Right now my wife is out in the yard clapping her hands and shoo-ing it.”
“Yeah, lots of people have been doing that.”
“Is that a good thing to do?”
“I wouldn’t say so. I heard about this lady who rubbed peanut butter on her arm and tried to get a Black Bear to lick it off.”
“Oh my god!”
“Yeah, she didn’t do well. I saw some pictures.”
“Well the only weapon I have is a BB gun. Do you think I should shoot it with my BB gun?”
“Oh, don’t do that!”
“Why, does that make the bear mad?”
“No, but you could hit the bear in the eye or something and then you might find yourself before the County Judge getting a stiff fine.”
“Oh yeah. You hurt the bear and you could be in big trouble.”
“Well, what if the bear eats my wife?”
“You shouldn’t allow your wife to harass the bear.”
“Honey, honey!” I yelled. “The wildlife guy says you should stop harassing the bear.”
“But the bear is stepping on my daffodils.”
“Yes, but if the bear eats you and then develops heart problems and dies from having too much cholesterol in its arteries, I could be prosecuted, fined or imprisoned or both.”
Eventually, my wife chased the bear out of her daffodils, but I sat her down and gave her a good talking to. I said: “You know honey, I took a vow “to death do us part” and it has always been my intention to honor that commitment. Not only that but as the alpha male in this “herd”, I have always considered it my responsibility to love and protect you from all harm. But, I must say that if a two thousand pound bear decides to eat you, there really isn’t that much I can do about it. Nevertheless, you have my word that I will remove your mangled body from on top of the septic tank - after the bear is gone.”
“Thank-you,” my wife responded. “You have always been my hero - the wings beneath my feet - I’ll cherish your concerns and sentiment.”
In any case, if you have a two thousand pound bear in your daffodils, you too can call “the bear guy”. He is a lot of fun - not a lot of help - but very funny.
Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” and “Hobo-ing America.” Both books are now listed for sale on Amazon. If you would like to sell my books at your store or business contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.