TALES OF ENCHANTED OCTOBER: BLACK BEAR UP A TREE . . .
AND EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY
Nothing quite like the shortening days of Autumn, particularly the month of October, to bring out the oddness in a person—and in bears. Maybe it’s the crispness in the air, the color of the trees, or slow-paced advent of the approaching holidays.
Fun is in the air; beginning with that greatest of all holidays—Halloween. Donuts, ice-cold apple cider, and of course, buckets of candy. Then comes Thanksgiving, barely a month later. Turkey day. Capped of course by Christmas and the New Year. The peace, love, and awe of a religious holiday, and the anticipation of good things to come.
A lot of enjoyment at year’s end. Followed of course by the darkest, dankest, and dreariest months of Winter’s cold and wet. But in sweet October . . . well, all that nastiness is still months away.
It was somewhere in Colorado, and it was sometime in the seventies. Honestly, that’s all I remember. No attempt on my part to protect the innocent, or the guilty either. I guess those that actually lived in the small town will remember.
Anyway, it was the month of October, and as a young boy walked along the residential neighborhood sidewalk coming home from school, he heard a soft rustling in a rather large old oak tree between the sidewalk and the street.
Naturally, he looked up.
And so it began. One of the strangest tales of enchanted October ever told.
. . . And, it’s all absolutely true.
What the kid saw was a black bear looking back down at him. And a rather good-sized one at that. Up in the tree. Way up—almost to the top. The kid, and most of the others that would come to be there that day, recall being amazed and impressed that such a sizeable bear would go that far up a tree.
But that was later, when cooler heads prevailed.
Anyway, to move the story along; the kids goes on home (about a half a block away) and tells his mother what he saw. Mom doesn’t believe him. The kid is prone to wild flights of fancy and imagination, she thinks (a good thing, I’d say) and this is just another example of it.
So she walked back to the tree with her son, just to prove him wrong. After all, bears do not routinely come into town just to climb oak trees, she reasons.
Well, she sees the bear looking at her too, and returns home to call the local police. After all, you really don’t want a potentially dangerous animal coming down from the tree and going off in search of victims to eat for dinner.
The police quickly answer the call, and check out the bear. They agree it could become a problem and they call animal control. After all, it is Colorado, and animal control has captured many wild animals and escorted them out of town. This bear, will of course—prove to be just a little bit different.
Animal control comes out to take a look, and they agree that the bear is a potential problem. It’s going to have to be darted, and then removed. Trouble is, of course, that it will fall out of the tree and might be seriously injured. Again, they reason, the many branches might break the fall, and perhaps he (or she) will be okay.
Anyway, they decide to take the risk.
The first dart has no effect.
Or the second.
Not even the third.
The bear does not move. It just continues to sit there and stare down at them. The police are called back. They decide the bear will have to be shot. Sad—but there’s just no way around it. After all, public safety is at stake.
By this time a rather large crowd of people have gathered around the tree. They all have differing opinions on just how the bear problem should be handled. Some are in favor of further darting. Some want to see it killed. Others suggest that it simply be left alone, and sooner or later it will just come down and peacefully make its way back into the woods and hills.
But all opinions are to no avail. The decision has been made. The bear will be killed. And so, after moving the crowd back a safe distance, three or four officers open fire with their pistols.
No effect. None.
Rifles are called for. The same policemen fire a dozen rounds. The bear still hasn’t moved. They know by now it must be dead, but wedged in the tree.
The cities cherry-picket is called for and an employee hoisted up in the tree with the unenviable task of pushing the dead bear out of the tree and letting it fall unceremoniously to the ground.
Up he goes. He reaches the bear. Laughter is heard. And finally, the dead bear comes down. Not falling fast and breaking limbs as it falls. No—this bear floats gently down, and lands lightly on the grass.
. . . A fifty-five-gallon black trash-can liner.
Full of holes.
And very, very dead.
And that, dear friends, is why, of all the testimony routinely presented in courts of law all around the globe . . .
. . . eyewitness testimony is considered to be, the most untrustworthy of all.
Thanks for reading. Talk to you all again soon.
Dumb joke of the day: