One long summer day, I found myself in Yellowstone National Park, squished in the backseat of the car with Tammy. Although my mom and dad loved the scenery and the feel of nature rushing past the car, I was hot and bored. Scenery held no interest to my six-year-old mind. The only thing I was looking forward to was a melodrama in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and maybe a motel with a swimming pool, if I got lucky. To pass the time, we had been snacking on food all day. The half-eaten bag of cookies lay in the front seat between my mom and dad.
Animals weren’t scenery, and I enjoyed seeing the bison and other animals walking in the meadows outside the car. It was fun to get out and walk out in the meadow to get a closer look, although it made it harder to get back in the car.
After leaving the hot pots behind, the smell of sulphur never quite leaving my clothes, I was more than happy to get in the car and begin driving towards the hotel. I curled up in my blanket and was settling down for my afternoon nap, when I noticed the car gradually slowing down. I sat up to investigate the delay in my visions of swimming pools.
“Dad, why is everyone stopping?”
“We just passed some black bears by the side of the road. All of the cars stopped to oogle the bears. Look, over there. Do you see them? Wow, that’s a big one, all right.”
My mom rolled down her window to allow us to get a better view of the bears. I leaned over to look over my mom’s shoulder and out the window. I began to hyperventilate. I was new to this bear thing, but I was pretty sure that the bears weren’t supposed to come towards your car while your mom had the window rolled down. I yanked my head back in and yelled, “Dad, the bear is coming to get us.”
“Don’t be silly. He doesn’t want you. He just smells the cookies.”
“Throw the cookies at him, quick, Dad!”
“Don’t worry, he won’t hurt you. He’s as scared of you as you are of him. He’s just
The bear kept coming closer to the car. My mom began to roll up her window. When the bear reached her car door, he stood up on his hind legs next to the window. Luckily my mom almost had the window rolled all the way up. Unfortunately, bears really like the same kind of cookies my mom bought. He put his claws over the edge of the window where my mom hadn’t quite finished rolling it up all the way.
The cars in front of us started to move slowly forward. My dad began to drive.
“Don’t worry, the bear will get down when we start driving.”
The bear didn’t move his claws out of the top of our window. With his claws inches away from my mom’s face, he began walking alongside the car.
I was certain we were all about to die. My dad didn’t know anything about bears. The bear wasn’t getting down. He wanted the cookies and he was getting mad. I could hear rumbles coming from his chest. Any minute now he would stop playing with us, break the glass, eat us and then eat the cookies for desert.
Hiding was my only hope. If bears had bad eyesight and couldn’t see us, there was a chance Tammy and I could survive this ordeal. There was no hope for my mom and dad. They were sitting next to the cookies. Maybe I could keep us hidden while the bear attacked and then, while he was busy eating the cookies, he wouldn’t notice an odd shaped blanket scurrying away from the car.
I threw my blanket over Tammy and me. Tammy pulled at the blanket trying to get a better look at the action.
“Tammy,” I screamed. “What are you doing? Get back under here so the bear won’t eat you!”
“I want to see the bear!”
“Do you want to die? The bear will eat you!” I began to sob hysterically.
Flash! The camera went off. “Is everyone in this family crazy?” I thought. The bear is going to eat us and we are taking his picture. At least everyone will know what ate us when they develop the film.
Finally the bear got tired of keeping pace with our car. I guess even the best cookies aren’t worth that amount of exercise. My mom rolled her window down enough for the bear to pull his claws free. He loped off across the meadow and disappeared into the trees. I watched him to make sure he really left and wasn’t trying to trick me into leaving the car.
My mom and dad were amazed at how lucky we were to see a bear come right up to our car. Tammy was on cloud nine from all of the excitement. I was shell-shocked in my blankets anxious to go home.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, but I did not feel safe until I was safe at home in my own room, nowhere near any bears or cookies.