|Look who stopped by for dinner!|
I glanced through the picture window of our remote Smoky Mountain cabin, and there was a large black, furry face staring back at me. A bear face to be exact.
He was perched on the railing of our deck with his long tongue protruding, trying to corner a few sunflower seeds from our bird feeder. He was so startled when he saw us, I was afraid he'd either chomp on his own tongue, or fall overboard.
He probably marched up the stairs to get there, but for a quick exit, he leaped from the railing to a nearby tree, his sharp claws extended and strong muscles rippling beneath his fur coat, and shimmied down to the ground while we ran around like crazies screaming and trying to snap photos.
We'd heard there were occasionally bears spotted in our region, and a mountaineer down the slope that hosted bee hives had reported a honey-invader a few years ago, but we had never actually seen one in the 20 years we'd been spending vacation time there.
My 28-year-old daughter was in the shower, but managed to pick out through all the commotion in the living room the word "Bear!" So she grabbed her towel and camera, and with hair dripping down her face, shot out the door in the 45 degree late afternoon chasing the fleeing bear wearing only a towel.
That's when we discovered that the birdseed was merely dessert. By the looks of the nasty food debris strewn around the front yard, dinner had been our three full garbage bags that were sitting in the garage awaiting transportation to the dump. That'll teach me to keep the garage door closed when there are ripe trash bags inside.
But the funniest thing of all came later the next day when Spouse went to make himself a fruit smoothie. The jumbo jar of protein powder supplement that had been sitting beside the door leading from the den into the garage because it was too big to stay in the kitchen ... was missing.
On a hunch, Spouse went on a hunting expedition and found the jar smashed on a log in the woods at the foot of our property. Apparently Joe Black Bear had hauled it away, although we can't for the life of us figure out how. The jar was too big to fit in his snout, so he must've carried it with his front paws, walking on his hind legs. Wouldn't that have been a sight to see! And eyeball-to-eyeball we would have been all right if one of us had opened the door at just the right moment.
Now we just have to keep our eyes peeled for Joe carrying a blender into the blackberry patch.