This next week Miss Trixie and I will celebrate the anniversary of nabbing my first bear. It just so happens that was sometime in the beginning throes of Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch’s harmonious relationship, too.
In fact, it was date Number Two. On our first date, we went to the circus because Ol’ Dutch had free tickets to the clown show and no other woman wanted to go along with me. And you wonder how I snagged Miss Trixie? Nothing like clowns, a cover scent, a dead carcass, and a smelly bear for a romantic mood setting.
Since Ol’ Dutch had always wanted to get a bear as he had been accused often of “being a bear,” I finally drew a license that year and had spent anxious months waiting for opening day.
Like any great dream, though, daily life intruded.
When the season rolled around, my mother — choir director at our church — pleaded for my tenor voice on her planned anthem for Sunday. So rather than my going bear hunting at the crack of dawn, she reminded me of the Andy Griffith song about the preacher who went hunting on a Sunday morning instead of going to church. When he encountered a bear, the preacher found himself sitting in a Sycamore tree singing these words:
Oh lord, you delivered Daniel from the bottom of the lion's den
You delivered Jonah, from the belly of the whale and then,
Three Hebrew children from the fiery furnace so the good book do declare,
But Lord, if you can't help me, for goodness sakes don't ya help that bear
So, not wanting to tempt the Lord or feed a bear, I went to church and sang. I am not sure I made a joyful noise, however as my body may have been present in the building but absent mentally which in hindsight is pretty much normal for Ol’ Dutch anyway.
Following church, other social commitments blocked my plans, and more delays were encountered, so it was about 3 p.m. before Miss Trixie and I headed out for a nice evening hunt.
The weather was perfect and the wind a lazy breeze as we exited the truck near Del Norte Peak. We walked ever so quietly expecting to see a bear around every tree. Finally, we found the location of an old elk carcass left by some other neophyte and we sat down for what could be a long wait. They say silence is golden but what followed was anything but.
No more than one minute into our wait Ol’ Dutch heard a chomping sound and thought for sure a bear was already feasting on the maggot-filled carcass. Slowly I rose from my seat in the aspens, but there was no bear. The chomping noise continued apace, so I turned to see Miss Trixie eating a bag of crunchy Cheetos.
One stern reprimanding look from Ol’ Dutch to Miss Trixie and quiet once again settled down over the forest — almost.
Soon the sound of her opening her backpack resounded like thunder echoing across the canyon. Another look of total unbelief in her actions from me and she finally settled down and laid down on the forest floor to take a nap.
At this point, I was sure that I would have some respite from her constant fidgeting and noise-making but it wasn’t long before glancing down at her to make sure she was still asleep, I saw her eyes pop open, and she signaled she could smell something — a bear. I motioned for her to be quiet but if you know Miss Trixie, quiet is just not in her vocabulary.
She likes to communicate which she says we need to do more often, especially when Ol’ Dutch has made up his mind about something. Sitting up in all her blaze orange dressed best she started texting every new update to friends on Twitter and Facebook. The look on my face must have been priceless as I tried to comprehend all the busy work emitting from our blind and then at 5:31 p.m. she suddenly felt compelled to show me the texts and at that moment, you guessed it, a bear stepped out into her view.
It was at that point that Miss Trixie felt compelled to scream “Bear! Bear! Bear!” and the poor creature — not conditioned to shouting from an Internet-connected, loud-mouthed, orange clothing-clad, wild-eyed, social media-using-butterfly of a woman — took that as a cue to exit stage left.
Thankfully, Ol’ Dutch had a lifetime of such unexpected antics from the female of the species and instinct took over. I made what was probably the shot of a lifetime through the aspens and that alone could only be attributed to God Himself honoring my singing choice that morning.
So, at 5:33 p.m. we had our bear, and true to form she used those magic fingers to summon help up to the peak to get our bear down safely. Suddenly we were surrounded by 25 of her closest friends and family and Ol’ Dutch was carried out on their shoulders like one of the Pharaohs of old. Well not quite that bad but a noisy celebration was held right there in the timber.
I guess this is proof that the Bible is true when it says, “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” And I can use all the help I can get to which Miss Trixie adds, “Amen.”