Bear in mind that I attract all kinds

Maybe it was the recent solar flare that messed up the earth’s magnetic field and caused my neck of the woods to suddenly attract wildlife, or maybe it’s just that, yes, I live in the country and this is what happens in the boonies.
Or perhaps the Universal Plan was bored and simply having some fun with me.
Whichever way, it’s been animal astray around here.
It all began when six little grandchildren came over to play on the weekend and to say good-bye to their Auntie Heather, a.k.a. “Daughter #3,” who was to be hitting the college scene in southern Ontario the following week.
Six little peppers were unleashed here on Saturday in the tradition I now liken to a game of billiards, where they scatter like the break shot after the eight ball and burst out in all directions.
My little hurricane tribe wasted no time hauling their toys out into the sunshine, playing tag around the barn, and squealing with delight in the cold water that shot across the lawn from the misplaced sprinkler, which invariably soaked the mothers resting in lawn chairs as their children terrorized the outdoors.
Pieces of uneaten hotdog wieners, ketchup-soaked buns, and potato chips where strewn about in full view of crows, chipmunks, and dogs—a sight worth a thousand photos as the trio stalked from sky and land to be first on the scene.
The “Dirt Cake” (a mixture of Cool Whip, cream cheese, chocolate J-ello pudding, and crushed Oreo cookies), lovingly supplied by “Granny down the way,” was vacuumed up by kids, parents, and grandparents alike and begged seconds and thirds from all of us.
To a stray kitten, I’m sure the “happy time audio” emanating from this place that day was as enticing as a bowl of warm milk. And suddenly “poof,”’ two of the little darlings showed up that afternoon in the back porch—just sitting there as if delivered by the stork.
The kittens’ timing was well-received here as we still were in a sad place after losing our “purrfect” pet, “Oliver,” to an owl or some such night creature two weeks earlier.
My little hurricane tribe were all a-glee over the bundles of newfound fur, and did what most kids do and nearly squeezed two of the nine lives out of each welcome stray.
We all assumed some coward stranger had dropped the poor felines off at the driveway, thinking this neck of the woods was the answer for unwanted pets.
We adopted them with much love and hugs. They slept in our beds and chased balls of rolled up foil across the kitchen floor, and provided much entertainment for two days.
Unbeknownst to us, they had wandered over here from next door for a weekend getaway. And then as quick as it had begun, the kitten cuddling was over.
Adios! It was fun.
But I digress.
Some of those nubbins of hotdog and ketchup-soaked buns had made their way into the barn, and had rolled off into the undiscovered recesses of the horse stalls and gutters just long enough for “Mr. Skunk” to catch wind of his dessert.
Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, this occurred on the very day when the caretaker forgot to close the barn door before dusk.
And to top it off, Mr. Skunk had eight empty beer bottle boxes left in the barn from the Drennan reunion to hide amongst during the scurry to shoo him from the premises, which, of course, was not successful before he lifted his tail.
Thankfully, my dogs were nowhere to be seen. They were busy chasing the chipmunk down the driveway that had found the last potato chip under the picnic table.
But the wildlife, yet, gets bigger.
It was a quiet mid-week summer day. I was in Heaven—by myself at home, off work, in the sunshine, enjoying my little life as I painted window trim.
“Cash” was in the house out of the sun, as his black fur sometimes gets the better of him in the heat of the day. “Dot,” in her perpetual chipmunk patrol, was parked in the shade about 30 feet behind me.
So when the slow-moving black thing came around the corner of the house and into my peripheral vision, I thought to myself, “How did Cash get outside?”
I turned my head ever so slightly. A bear was standing there not two feet from where I was taking up my latest summer project. I could see the snot oozing from his nostrils and without effort, I easily could have painted big white circles under his eyes with my paintbrush.
But oddly, that didn’t seem like a viable option at the time.
I just stood there staring at the hairy beast staring back at me in a dead stop duel, wherein I experienced that microsecond of racing thought that included silent yet very bad swear words inside my head and a wish for a portable black hole I could jump into.
The bear must have had better meals up his sleeve, as it promptly turned around and sauntered off in the direction it came—stopping once to glance back at the stupid person who’d started to follow it across the back yard.
And then it was gone.
I snapped back to real time and, realizing Dot hadn’t made a peep, turned around to find her sleeping under the tree.
I won’t repeat what I shouted to her, but it sounded something like this. “@#!%^$&$#! You’re supposed to have my back!”
While I do possess a certain animal magnetism that I know has caught the attention of Mr. Right, I’ve decided it’s off limits to skunks and bears.
And if I were a drinking woman, a shot of whiskey would have gone down nicely.

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