Sammi is one of those children for which parents have great expectations but a healthy dose of apprehension. In other words, her self-confidence was bound to get her into trouble now and then. As a 13-year-old ranch kid, she could rope and ride, do the chores, cook, read, shoot and take care of herself like most kids reared up in a country raisin’.

One weekend the family was overnighting at one of the line camps on the forest. Sammi and her girlfriend had gone down to the creek to fish. She had been to the same camp many times and was aware of the wildlife precautions. Signs had been posted warning of bears in the area, and her mother had reiterated the message to her.

Knee-deep in the creek, the girls soon became absorbed in girl talk as they walked downstream nonchalantly casting and reeling as they chattered like squirrels about boys, teachers, music, clothes, volleyball, boys, teachers, music, clothes, volleyball, boys, teachers, music, etc. Suddenly, Sammi screamed!

“Run!” she shouted, “There’s a bear!”

The two girls dropped their rods and splashed to the bank, both shrieking at the top of their lungs! They raced to the camp where Sammi’s mother sat in front of the tent. She was making sandwiches for lunch.


“Mom, there’s a bear, right down by the creek. It’s the biggest one I ever saw! Right on the bank! Climbing a tree!”

“Settle down,” Mom said, “Take a deep breath. First, are you hurt, either of you?”

“No! We ran as fast as we could. He was huge, climbing a tree!”

“Are you sure it was a bear?” Mom asked.

“Yes! We were this close. I could draw you a picture,” Sammi said. “I’ve seen bears before. I know what a bear looks like! I could draw you a picture!”

“Did you see him, too?” Mom asked Sammi’s friend.

“I think so,” she said, “It all happened so fast.”

“Let’s go look,” Mom said, taking the rifle out of the pick-up truck. They backtracked to the creek and walked up the near side till they heard rustling.

“There he is!” pointed Sammi.

Shore enough, a large brown beast was moving among the sycamores and willows along the opposite bank. It stopped in front of a large trunk and raised its head up into the leafy foliage to graze.

“Maybe,” said the wise ol’ mom, “when you draw the picture you can get her brand a little higher on the hip.” PD