The wall tent kept us toasty warm. The wood stove burned on low. We sat around the table waiting for the cook to show.
Henry shot a bear that day. The cook had dressed it out. The smell of bear meat filled the air. I could eat or go without.
Mose, the cook, stood at the door and held a pan of meat. I smelled some spuds and onions, thought that’s prob’ly what I’ll eat.
He glanced at me and said, “I think you’re looking mighty sick.” I told him that I wasn’t sure that bear meat’s what I’d pick.
I then relayed a story that took place some years ago. I could not remember when, but I was twenty-one or so.
I’d opened up the gate to let the mare in for the night. She always came a-runnin’ and was never out of sight.
Then way out in the pasture, I could see the old mare’s head. She was stretched out on the ground, and that old mare was sure ‘nuff dead.
I hooked her to the tractor and dragged her to some trees. I knew it wouldn’t be long ‘fore she would permeate the breeze.
A day or so went by before I checked on the old mare. She was ripe and right for eating then, a dinner for a bear.
At dusk I climbed up in a tree and kept the mare in sight. I figured an old bear would show and, sure enough, was right.
A black bear crept in slowly with his nose up in the air. He tore the carcass open wide and rolled around in there.
He gobbled up some innards. It was positively gross. Then started in on maggots, and that’s what he liked the most.
The maggots drooled down from his mouth. I puked out in the air. He saw me but then turned back to his smorgasbord of mare.
When that hungry critter had enough of eating rotten meat, he ambled over to my tree. I guess I was no treat.
The old black bear soon wandered off. I promised then and there that I would never eat a morsel from any type of bear.
I said, “So, Mose I’m telling you: For me there’ll be no bear. I’ll just eat the spuds and onions. You all can have my share.”