Harry Reynolds

My wife hates bears; eventually, she went from the general to the specific. Human beings personalize things; it is our nature. New Jersey bears got on her bad side, although they were not in Minnesota.

That does not make sense, right? Bears are bears; they should not be judged on where they live. One bear is the same as another when it comes to food.

They do not drive cars, so they cannot go to fast food restaurants. They love French fries, cheeseburgers and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. They tend to focus on cars, trash cans, and campsites.

Bears have a keen sense of smell. Being very large and equipped with claws, they bust car windows, climb inside and tear the interiors to shreds. I suppose there is a bear somewhere who does not engage in such activities; Smokey, perhaps.

Once a bear gets into a car, he manages to make them difficult to trade in. Not that bears care. After all, they do not drive.

Several days ago, I watched a brainless New Jersey guy record two huge black bears fighting in his yard. He thought they were fighting over sex. They could have just easily been fighting over a ham sandwich.

So, you being a curious reader, are wondering why it is that my wife has it in for New Jersey black bears. If you are a farmer, not so much; you are busy trying to get rid of all your soybeans, and avoid bankruptcy.

In 1998, shortly after graduating from high school, my son, J.L. (whose name the local constabulary seemed appropriate), and his friends, went to Boundary Waters in Minnesota, which is on the Canadian border. There are over a thousand lakes in Boundary Waters. Portage means canoes.

One morning, they were preparing to take their food pack down from a tree when a big black bear emerged from the woods and nonchalantly walked through camp. He grunted a little.

When the bear was gone, they scrambled for pepper spray. My son started to shave when the bruin decided to do a repeat performance. After he grunted a little more, he disappeared.

No doubt, some of you, at this point, are wondering where the restrooms are located in Boundary Waters. Each campsite includes a metal latrine, set approximately thirty yards away.

They do not have toilet paper, but you can sit on them. If you use the latrine during the day, you think of the possibility of a bear sneaking up on you. At night, the function verges on terror.

JL made the mistake of telling his mom about the black bear. He thought it was funny; she did not. The prospect of our son and his friends becoming dinner darkened her opinion of bears – particularly, black bears.

A couple weeks later, after watching fake cable news report about New Jersey officials issuing a limited number of permits allowing hunters to kill black bears, I asked my wife what she thought of it.

Her only reply was: “I hope they kill them all!”

Harry Reynolds can be reached at reynoldsharry1943@gmail.com

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