Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

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A bare bear story

Something on MIT zephyr just randomly triggered a memory of a story my mom used to tell.

Ten years or so before I was born, when my sisters weren't in school yet, my dad (or perhaps my mom's uncle Jesse) shot a bear in the woods the other side of the pasture. We had about 12 foot ceilings in our basement, so naturally enough my dad skinned and dressed the bear and hung it in the basement, in preparation for butchering it and smoking, canning and/or freezing the meat.

Now my mom grew up on a ranch in Oregon, and her dad made part of his living as a government trapper. So a bear hanging in the basement didn't strike her as an especially odd thing. So the next morning at breakfast time, without giving it much thought, she sent my sister Jo to get something out of what we called the fruit room — a rodent-proof room in the basement where we kept canned goods and various foods that were amenable to storage in a cool dry place.¹

My sister emerges a few minutes later at the top of the basement stairs, with a jar of whatever it was and eyes the size of, in my mom's telling, milk-bottle caps.²

Mommy? Is that a people down there?

¹ We moved off the farm when I was eight, so at this juncture the only foods I'm sure I remember us keeping in the fruit room without preserving them are root crops: beets and potatoes, in particular. Perhaps because they were the ones in bins low enough for me to get at.

² Unless you're familiar with old-school glass milk bottles, that's probably bigger than you think. Call it 6 cm or so.
Tags: family, stories
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