unexpected guest

picnic bear

I was inspired this morning by Ally’s post regarding a visitation by wild turkeys. I had a similar visitation by partridges some years ago in Wyoming, but that’s not what this story is about.

Somewhere, by the way, I might have photos of those partridges. I think that they were on an unprocessed roll of film that I have since misplaced. There are no photos, as far as I know, related to the story I will tell. There might be slides of the trip.

You see, when I was four (and a half) our family went on a camping trip in Eleven Mile Canyon in Colorado. Tent camping, as a matter of fact. I remember climbing a mountain, at least in my eyes, and siting on a giant rock that looked like a turtle. My mother apparently had something of a heart attack to see me up there but I was with my father.

We went fishing. Or rather, my brothers and father did. As I recall, my brothers caught nothing. Or they caught tiny little fish. Before we left, my father took me fishing and I caught a gigantic fish… per my four year old memory.

And a family of skunks visited our campsite in the evenings. They had a fascination with my mom. No photos, I’m afraid, but family stories of the skunks coming each evening and stopping in front of Mom to worship her. She was known as the skunk queen from there on.

But one night, my father left an open package of oreos on the picnic table. In the middle of the night, crashing about was heard outside the tent. A bear had wandered into the campsite and was eating those cookies! I guess we were lucky that the cookies were all that it took. In those days, no one locked up their food in the car or hung it from the trees – at least that was never a part of the story. The bear came, the bear ate the cookies, the bear left. We only ate Oreos, you know. My grandfather worked for Nabisco and was involved in the creation of the Oreo.

It would be wonderful to have photos of that bear. I don’t believe anyone left the tent.

I think, actually, that that was the trip we visited Santa Claus at his summer home. While I don’t remember rides way back when, I do recall hearing Santa say that he preferred popcorn and root beer more than milk and cookies. I may be getting two trips confused but our family provided Santa with popcorn and root beer after that visit. Surely the skunk queen could do no less.

You may remember this bear picture from a meme several years ago. It seems it was taken from a video shot in Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Canada by Dorothy Hays when a young black bear came into her backyard.


12 thoughts on “unexpected guest”

  1. So you are the daughter of the Skunk Queen?! Wow, the things you learn as you go along in life. And you’re related to someone involved in the creation of Oreos? You amaze me, as does the fact that the bear only bothered with the cookies– and not with you & your family. What a tale to tell.


    1. Yes I am the Skunk Queen’s daughter! I suppose that makes me the Skunk Princess. Somewhere around here is an Oreo cookie mold. My dad used to torment his father by telling him he bought Hydrox cookies.


  2. Nice camping stories. I did that kind of car camping for many years, both before and after I had kids. It’s one of the most peaceful things to do, I think. It’s important, I think, to have an experienced camper along though. It’s not for the unprepared.

    But on to other very important matters. You wrote: “My grandfather…was involved in the creation of the Oreo.” What..he did what!? Created Oreos. I’ve worshiped at the altar of Oreos half my life — the current half. Well, hat’s off to your grandpa! I love everything about Oreos, but especially the little micro-joy of eating a cookie. The ritual of it. The various methods of eating an Oreo. Ahhh. I’ll have to buy some tomorrow. It’s always daunting to stand in the cookie aisle studying the varieties of Oreos. Another micro-joy!


    1. I was only four so for all I know, they locked the food up in the car overnight – just not the oreos.

      I like the new Oreo thins. Less of the white crap. I know some people like the ones stuff with extra white crap but I’d rather scrape it off. 🙂


  3. Zazzy: you scrape off the white part? I buy double-stuffed just to get more white stuff. This reminds me of my best friend Merrilyn when we were in grade school. I often ate dinner at her house on Friday nights, and because she was (is?) Catholic she always had eggs for Friday dinner. We would each take our fried eggs and cut out the hardened yolk part. She got all the yellows, I got all the whites. Back in those days we weren’t thinking “oh no, Merrilyn got all the fat and cholesterol and Pam got all the protein.”

    And speaking of smart wildlife…I’m currently fixated on my neighborhood family of crows. They build their nests in the trees hanging over my house so there are always big family groups of cawing crows hanging about. I’m reading a book about crows called “Gifts of the crow : how perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans.” My goal is to get the crows to know me and bring me gifts. I may be blogging about it.


    1. My college roommate and I were complimentary Oreo eaters. We’d twist the cookie apart and I got the halves without the white stuff and she squished together the halves with the white stuff. It worked really well for us.

      Oh! You need crow pictures. They like to take stuff, too, so maybe you can leave them gifts. We put out bones for the critters and one evening a crow was trying desperately to take a rib bone. He’d pick it up and fly a few feet and drop it then pick it up again. He finally did make off with it but he was so funny to watch trying. I look forward to reading more about your crows.


  4. Skunk Queen! That’s so funny!

    The apartment I lived in had a skunk that liked to visit. He (or she, I suppose) would snuffle about outside my open bedroom window, along the building’s foundation.

    They make a noise like an old man muttering to himself, like one of the characters Arte Johnson would play on Laugh In.


    1. Oh my words, Arte Johnson! Verrrrry Interesting. But stupid. Not all of Laugh In held up well over the years, but who wouldn’t love Arte Johnson?


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