My sister, Cid Couture-White, possesses a creative soul.  Her whimsical papier maché creations, stunning photography and dazzling beadwork fascinate me. Cid has been writing (and hiding) stories most of her life. She lives in Dublin, Georgia with her husband, Bruce, and their Black Russian Terrier, Shadow.

Bouncy, Bouncy

Genre:  Memoir
Word Count:  537
Status:  Posted intact and unedited

On one of our family camping trips, my young nephews learned the hard way that, contrary to their beliefs, they really did not know more than their parents. On the last night of this particular camping trip, the three young brothers, aged 8, 10, and 12, wanted to sleep in the back of their uncle’s station wagon. At first, their parents objected, citing concerns that, once out from under the roof of their family tent, the boys would not behave and would not go to sleep when they should. After earnest pleadings by the boys, and a promise by the eldest to ensure the younger ones would behave, my brother and sister-in-law decided to let the boys spend the night in the back of the wagon.  

When bedtime finally arrived, the boys ran for the station wagon, crumpled sleeping bags and pillows jostling wildly in their arms. As they settled in and zipped up their sleeping bags, their dad asked them once again, “Now, you don’t have any food in there with you, do you?” All together they chimed, “No Dad.”  As he turned to retire to his tent, their dad said, “And boys, leave that back window down a crack for ventilation.” 

Later on, every family member at the campsite awoke to shrill, panicked screams.  Aunts, uncles and cousins came scrambling from their tents, some pulling on jackets, and some hopping about trying to slip into their shoes. All eyes were looking toward the source of the screams, and we all froze. There, in the monochromatic light of a waning moon was the cause of the boys panic. With paws planted firmly on the back bumper and claws pressed backwards against the tailgate, was a young black bear, a yearling cub.  Inside the station wagon, the three slender figures huddled so close they appeared as one. They were sitting bolt upright, their legs drawn up tight against their chests.  Their eyes were level with the young bear’s. The yearling was trying to get a whiff of whatever intriguing food items the boys had snuck into the car. Using his brute strength, the young bear would push down hard on the back bumper to bring the slit of the slightly open back window down to the level of his nostrils, but he wasn’t strong enough to hold it there. The station wagon would seesaw violently, bouncing at least 8 inches with each massive thrust by the yearling, and, with each thrust, the boys would scream again. Grabbing anything that would make noise, the rest of the family members began clanging on pots and pans, banging rocks together, and yelling at the yearling as we charged the station wagon enmass. At first, the young bear stood his ground; his desire to discover the source of that delicious scent was greater than his desire to flee. A moment later, the yearling reluctantly gave up his quest, wandered down the dirt road and disappeared into the woods.

“Who’s got food in there?” their father’s voice boomed. As it turned out, all three boys had stashed cookies and potato chips in their pillowcases and had smuggled the goods into the station wagon. The boys rarely doubted their father’s word again.