it’s funny looking back

Five years ago, I took my first group of wonderful teenagers to this wonderful place called Montreat.  While on our way home from worship one evening, someone in our group spotted a baby bear climbing out of a dumpster.  Knowing that mama bears usually accompany baby bears, we went back down to the conference center to let someone know.  With a very concerned (almost panicked) look on my face and tone in my voice, I said, “There’s a bear on our street”  to which the o-so-compassionate desk clerk replied “Uh…it’s the mountains…there are bears.”  Gee thanks.

So now I know there are bears in the mountains, and after my first encounter, I was only partially afraid of them at night assuring myself that we were completely safe in the daytime.  I no longer have this delusion either.

Fast forward five years.  We were on our way TO worship in bright daylight.  The adults were loitering and laughing in the back of the pack.  Five rising 9th graders and a token rising 8th grader were heading the pack.  As we turned a corner, the rising 8th grader (D), said, “Uh guys, I think I see a bear.”  Knowing that D was prone to jokes and not prone to seriousness, we all said, “Yeah, right D” and kept on walking.  We walked a little further and he claimed his vision of a bear, to which we replied…”It’s just the dog that’s always in the yard”.  So we walked a little further until we could all clearly see, even from the back of the pack, that there was indeed a very large black bear walking down the front yard of a house, heading into the street which we were 10 feet from walking down.  I wish there had been some kind of candid camera recording what happened next because I think it would have been HILARIOUS to watch.

Youth A starts jogging toward the bear…we’re not sure if he got confused about which way to run or if he was being really brave/stupid and wanting to get closer to the bear.

Youth E stops to take a picture (that unfortunately didn’t come out).

Adult J yells, “Run you idiots” and takes off running back toward our house.

Adult M and I begin running (in flip flops).   Youths C, J, D, A, T and E all pass us because they are young and athletic and we are old and out of shape and also wearing flip flops.  C looks back at me in a panic and yells “Run faster, Dorothy” to which I reply back “I can’t run any faster, I’m wearing flip flops!”  But I am running faster than Adult M…then I get to Adult J, who is running back toward the bear to help Adult M after realizing that his first impulse after seeing something larger than himself was to run, realizing later that he left women and children behind as bear bait.

I then get to a driveway with a car pulling out.  I wave them down and say “There’s (gasp) a (gasp) bear, and some (gasp) of our group (gasp) is still (gasp) back there.  Could you (gasp) drive that way (gasp)?”  To which he calmly replies, “It’s ok, don’t run, running is the worst thing you can do”

All the while the bear, looks at us nonchalantly and goes about his business.  He was probably laughing to himself about how ridiculous we all looked running and screaming.

Once we were back at the house safely and out of breath, we decided it was best to drive the bus to worship.  And once we were all aboard the bus (which was bigger than the bear) we were filled with bravery and went back in search of the bear.

We didn’t find the bear, but the boys couldn’t wait to tell the others in our group about the bear, but the first words out of their mouths when they found the rest of our group were, “Dorothy cussed”, only to fill in the details later.  I definitely get a gold star youth leader award after running away from the bear before checking to make sure all of the youth in my care were safe and then cussing in front of them.

Later on in the evening, we were discussing how glad we were that Taylor and the two other children were not with us.   Youth C replied, “I would have picked Taylor up and run with her…actually you were going so slow I thought I might have to pick you up and carry you back”.  I feel so loved, really.

2 Responses

  1. I do wish there had been a video…I think it would have been hilarious…especially with the “bleep” for the cussing. I love Youth C.

  2. That story: PRICELESS!

    Don’t you love kids? They get chased by a BEAR and all they want to share with the world is “Dorothy cussed”…I love it. I’m also very very glad you weren’t bear dinner.

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