Summer of 1960 When I Was 7....chapter 10... There’s Bears In South Georgia ------------------------
Did you know that there’s bears in South Georgia? Well, not really. But one time we sure thought there was one. I remember all three of us girls were playing in the dusty dirt road. I was making dirt piles and trying to teach Patty how to count. She was sitting in the dirt rolling roly polys up into balls and then try to count the balls. Every once in a while she would drop one into one of my piles of dirt and I’d holler, “Stop, Pat!” But she wouldn’t stop. She would just giggle and watch the small bug slowly unwind out of its ball and crawl away. Momma finally came out and took her inside. I got tired of sitting in the hot sun and joined my big sister in the fig tree for some shade. As soon as I got inside the shade goose bumps popped out on my sweaty skin. Then I saw something down the road near Mr. Scranton’s store.
“Moonrose, what’s that? It’s, it’s a…..bear!” I exclaimed. A big, brown, shaggy animal was meandering down the road walking very slowly….weaving like it couldn’t walk straight.
“I think it’s a sick dog,” whispered Moonrose.
“I think it’s a bear!”
Moonrose got up and ran into the house. I sat frozen, hiding in my tree. The goose bumps came back over my skin and I couldn’t move. The big brown animal slowly came up even with my tree and just stood there looking at me. I was shaking so hard my tummy felt sick.
Just then, Momma stepped out the back door with Moonrose and Patty hiding behind her skirt. “Oh, Honey. It’s not a bear.”
“But it looks sick,” Moonrose said.
“No it’s not sick, but she definitely doesn’t feel well. It’s okay Marilyn, you can come out. Marva Rose, go get me a bowl of water.” Momma sank to her knees beside that huge dog that had laid down in the middle of the dirt road and petted her heaving belly.
“She’s gonna have puppies,” she said. “And from the looks of it, any time now.”
“Can we bring the bear in the house?”
“No, she’s better off out here. She’ll take care of herself.” After drinking some water, the dog crawled under the house through some broken lattice that covered the crawlspace. She lay panting in the cool shade.
“Let’s go inside now and leave her alone,” Momma said. “She just needs to rest.”
We left the bowl of water near her and went inside. Later I saw Momma go outside with some old towels.
“Can we give her some food?” I asked.
“I don’t think she wants anything,” Momma answered, “but we can try.” We put some hamburger stew in another bowl and put it by the bowl of water.
The next morning we were anxious to go outside to see her. “She might have just kept wandering and be far away,” Momma warned.
“Look its Bear!” I hollered as she crawled out from under the house to get petted. Momma removed another piece of lattice to open up the space more and slowly crawled under the house. The big dog left us to go watch Momma. After a few seconds, Momma came back out from under the house, her blouse all dirty. She petted the dog’s head and belly. The dog wagged her tail so hard that her whole body was wagging.
“You did good, Bear. Good girl!” Momma said.
“Are there puppies? Can we see them?” I asked.
“Bear will bring them out when she wants you to see them.”
So every day, Moonrose and I would run outside first thing every morning to pet Bear and ask her if we could see her puppies. One day I guess she said yes, because she brought out three squirmy, brown balls of fur, one at a time. We each held one while Bear kept a close watch on us.
“Okay, let’s put them back in their bed so Bear can take care of them,” Momma said. Bear crawled back under the house with her puppies. And, that’s how a bear came to be in South Georgia.to be continued....