Hunting,the,Fear,Bear,ack,when DIY Hunting the Fear Bear
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ack when I was 12, my best friend Shane and I spent most of our summerweekends camping in the thick woods behind my family's farm house. We'dpitch our tent next to the fishing pond and would spend the weekend in thegreat outdoors.While we imagined we were living off the fat of the land, we were reallyliving off the larder of my father: Once or twice a day we'd go to thehouse, a mere quarter mile away, share a meal with my family, and stock upon chips, snacks and thermosfuls of sweet iced-tea. On Sunday mornings wewould breakfast at the house for Sunday was the day that my fatherventured into the kitchen to make a batch of his famous (at least amongthe Allen clan) biscuits-and-sausage-gravy.It was one of these Sunday mornings that the great bear hunting incidenttook place.We woke early one morning and set upon the task of fishing. If we werelucky we could catch a few fish before going on up to the house forbreakfast. It was a peaceful day and we were enjoying the silence until wewere disturbed by the clamor of something moving in the woods. Quiet atfirst but increasingly louder, the raucous noise quickly proved to benothing than my younger sister, all of seven, traipsing loudly down thetrail from the house. "Keep it down, will you, we're fishing!" I yelled."Fine," she said, sticking her tongue out at the two of us. "Then I won'ttell you that Dad said breakfast is ready." And she turned and trompedback up the trail louder than before.As soon as she was gone, Shane and I eagerly started winding our reels in.Both our stomach's were growling at the thought of the meal to come. Justas we we're setting our poles next to the tent, we heard a scream that wasobviously Michelle. Shane and I ran down the path, towards the noise,going just a short distance before seeing my sister who was tearing backdown the path towards us."What's the matter?" Shane asked, putting his arm around her shoulder. Hereyes were wide and wet with tears and she was shaking like the treetops ina thunderstorm."I saw a bear," she sniffled between tears and pointed down the path."There's a bear down there."Now, to teenage boys looking for adventure, the thought of catching a bearwas, well, almost unbearable. Without saying anything, I ran back to thetent to look for anything even remotely useful to bear-catching. The bestI could do was a fishing pole and an old Army blanket. I raced back towhere Michelle and Shane were waiting. "Okay," I said, "show us where thisbear is."We walked, slowly but every so stoicly down the road to where the bear waswaiting.The narrow path curved and angled up. Shane and I stepped carefully,attuned to every sound. Just at the top of the hill Michelle whispered,"THERE!" and pointed to a thicket of blackberry bushes.Shane and I peered into the thicket. Something was in there, that's forsure, but we couldn't tell what. We were not, however, going to go throughall of this without having *some* story to talk about so we quicklyformulated a plan: Shane would take the fishing rod and I would take theblanket. We'd approach from two different sides of the bear quickly, tosurprise him, and I'd cover the bear with the blanket and Shane would beatthe poor animal down.It sounded good. And it worked. Yes, our little plan worked. We hadcaptured our prey!Unfortunately, our prey turned out to be a gnarled old tree stump that, wehad to admit, looked like a small bear when viewed from just the rightspot along the path. Of course, we gave my poor sister endless grief forbeing afraid of a "little old stump." We didn't catch a bear that day but we still took something from thatadventure. We took the lesson that much of what we fear doen't reallyexist, and if it does exist, it's probably worse in our imagination thanin reality. We learned that instead of running scared just tackle yourfears head-on and you can overcome them. And we still have a greatbear-hunting story to tell.