During a mild period around Christmas time, when a certain she-bear we will call Maybear ventured out of early hibernation to defecate and to dig grubs out of rotting logs, she was attracted by the smell of blood, tobacco, wood smoke, peanut butter, barbecue flavored potato chips, alcohol, and unwashed clothing to a swale in deep snow. She found there a man who had been raked off his snowmobile by an unseen barbed wire fence that had lacerated his forehead like a crown of thorns .
Though smaller than a male bear, the man was somewhat bear-like in other respects. Surely as funky as an old Boar Bear … rather fat and furry-faced for a human.
Maybear licked the blood from his face of this wounded unconscious man …. and she might well have proceeded to eat his head and more, but her healer/nurturer instinct won out over her omnivor instinct. To which we owe this wonderful Christkmas story.
Maybear dragged the man into a nearby blow-down and kept him there for three days, feeding him grubs she brought back by the mouthfull.
When the man (who was NOT me or myself, but Will remain nameless) was able to sit up, Maybear went to dig out a woodchuck for him to eat, but the man was just lively enough at that point to get to his snowmobile, start it up, and buzz off to the hunting cabin where he was spending the winter because his wife had kicked him out of the house. Which was O.K. because it was electrified, had a Satalite T.V., and an extra large refrigerator.
The cabin was several miles off through the woods, and the story might have ended right there too … but it was not hard for Maybear to follow the snowmobile track to that cozy cabin in the pines.
Maybear had generally kept away from human habitation, and didn't know doors from floors, but that night she climbed up on the wood pile and came in through the kitchen window as the man sprawled unresponding in bed.
Her entrance via the kitchen window, produced a lot of broken glass and a small amount of blood, but it landed Maybear on the kitchen counter, with perfect access to the kitchen cupboard, which was well stocked with canned beans, canned hash, canned soup, and canned pears in syrup. She bit into each can and sucked out what contents could be sucked, giving the last of each can to the man, who stayed in bed, afraid for his life.
Maybear did not know about cooking and she didn't know the refrigerator from the stove, but when the man had finished the Captain Morghans pint he had taken to bed, he was sound enough to get up and go to the refrigerator.
Opened, the refrigerator was a revelation to her. The man gave her beer.
After that she always handed the cans to the man for him to open, rather than just biting holes in them.
When the man was well enough to turn on the T.V. and set to cooking, Maybear flopped on the floor, bewildred, entranced by the furious visions in the box and the new smells which she at first thought were coming from the T.V. When the man introduced her to pancakes, bacon, Sausage, and Maple Syrup she was lost to the cause of hibernation and other purely Bear behaviors, with the exception of shitting in the woods. She would never shit in the house, nor could she understand why the man did. It became an issue between them.
But the two did go outside togeher, taking a couple of beers on the snowmobile, which she grew to love, despite the obvious dangers, pluss all the sound and smoke.
Not only did Maybear not return to hibernation; if fact, she didn't even sleep all the rest of that winter. She didn't leave the cabin at all then, except, of course, to shit in the woods. She would bang on the door with her head to go out and after defecating, she would return directly and s gently and then less gently, swing her great head to beat on the door, until he man let her in, and back inside she stayed awake, mostly watching T.V. through the whole rest of the winter, which is a strain for a bear, and by Spring the man had grown more and more fond seeming, but for Maybear the novelty wore off, the strain wore on and, though she was pregnant now, she left the man in cruel April.
Atypically for a bearMaybear gave birth to Nowella the next Fall, although she always told Nowella she was named Nowella because she was born on Christmas. .
But Maybear also fibbed about who Nowella's Father was. Instead of sharing the fact that he had actually been that White MAN, Mother Bear said that he had been a white BEAR: a Polar Bear.
Retelling that origin myth and answering Nowella's questions over a period of years, Mother Bear styled a very particular, roguish Bear - a Bear named Rudy, a Bear with red eyes and several gold teeth, who (she said) had been performing with Missy Hoolihan's Tall Animal Revue, wearing a red vest and balancing on a large ball while smoking cloves in a meerschaum pipe.
They were briefly married and had planned to honeymoon at Pipestone National Park in Minnesota, but it never happened, so Mother Bear said, lying about all but the "it never happened" part.
According to Mother Bear, before any kind of Honeymoon trip, Rudy the Polar Bear had left her without notice and for no stated reason, without even a note of goodbye, and had gone back home to the SOUTH POLE, she claimed, compounding and confusing the lie; because, as everyone knows or else should know, Polar bears are native only to the NORTH pole; and anyway how would she know where he had gone, if he didn't say goodbye or even leave a note?
Being a normal bear mostly (except for her mixed parentage, her farsightedness and a significant directional disability) Nowella grew to be a usual adolescent full of questions and ripe to wander, so she set off to find the South Pole , to search at the wrong end of the world for a non existent bear who was not her father, whom, had she known who he was, she would not have wanted to find anyway.