A Bigger Bear

Eternal Hope Springs

The Scene: Bob-Ed’s front porch. It’s morning, cool clear and quiet. Grady sits in a rocking chair reading an old newspaper. Broderick is sitting on the porch rail to the right bearing a look of deep consternation. Pete enters from inside the store.

A Bigger Bear

“What was all that thrashing over to your house last night?” asked Grady.

“A bear,” answered Broderick T Smothers-Thought. “How on earth do you control a bear?”

“First line of defense,” said Pete, “is to gather together in free assembly and talk at it.”

“Negotiate with a bear?” asked Broderick.

“There are risks,” said Pete. He sits in a rocker. “Especially if the bear’s particularly unhappy. Most folks go straight to the second line of defense.”

“What’s that?” asked Grady.

“Get yourself a bigger bear,” said Pete. “One with huge arms. When it comes to bears it’s all about arms.”

“There’s a market for bears?” asked Broderick. Consternation changes to confusion.

“Country’s full of ‘em,” said Pete. “Why one time up in Alaska I saw a bear with an upper arm bigger than my two thighs tied together. He had claws the size of my fingers.”

“Sounds like just the bear for the job,” said Broderick. “Is he available for employment?”

“Nah,” said Pete. “He retired on account o’ somebody shot him, stuffed him full of sawdust and set him in a glass case inside the airport. But there ain’t two ways about it. The best defense against a bad bear is a good bear with bigger arms,” said Pete.

“But what if what you think is a good bear turns out to be a bad bear being sneaky. Then you’ve got two bad bears, one with big arms and the other with even bigger arms.” said Grady.

Miss Sadie danced up the stairs and said, “Good morning, Gentlemen.”

“Mornin’ Miss Sadie,” chorused the debating team.

“We’re studying about bears,” said Pete.

“Oh I leave them a few muffins or some cookies, occasionally a pot of cool tea to soothe their teeth and gums. Sometimes they scratch at the door a little and I go out to check their paws for ticks and chiggers after that I rub their belly until they go to sleep,” said Miss Sadie. She continues into Bob-Ed’s store.

“That kind of attitude,” muttered Pete, “will undermine the bear market arms and all. It just might wind up destroying the country.”