Christmas List 2011 - A Bear
My dearest Santa, this particular wish is for my mother, rather than for myself. Mom would like a bear. I mean, a real, live, furry, grouchy growling mama bear with a couple of cubs to go with her.
Now, this might seem to be a strange and dangerous request. But Mom and her neighbors had a neighborhood she-bear, with a couple of cubs. They’d gotten used to her. Oh sure, she chased the meter reader up Mom’s driveway and chased Brother B., too. Mom says all the bear really did was huff and puff at them to make sure they behaved themselves. If the bear had wanted to, she could have killed them. Only she didn’t. She was just making sure the humans knew who was boss.
But the hunters came to town and shot a she-bear. The picture was in the paper. Mom is positive it was “her” bear, although at only 200 pounds, it sounds like they got the half-grown cub. Mom is very upset that her bear is gone. She tried putting out cranberries and all sorts of bear yummies to encourage the bear to stay in the neighborhood where she was safe. Being a bear, and the winter setting in, the bear did what was natural – she went hunting for her hibernation cave and so the hunters got her. Or the cub. Or both.
I wouldn’t mind having a bear myself, Santa. That would certainly send the Tattooed Lady into convulsions. Having a bear visit would send her packing in a hurry, I’m quite sure, and then we’d be rid of her. The Neighbor from Hell would be history. I’d reward the bear with cranberries and peanut butter and whatever bears like for a job well-done.
These bear hunts are a terrible thing. The state and the hunters just don’t understand that the residents have gotten used to them. They would much rather make their properties bear-resistant than bear-free. One year, a hunter shot a cub in the woods. But it ran out onto the highway – at rush-hour – where it died in agony in front of a parade of commuters. Since then, the suburban residents have been very angry about the bear hunts.
People in Pennsylvania and in the Cattleskill and Adirondack mountains of Upstate New York don’t think twice about killing a bear or a deer. Here in New Jersey, we’re different, though. We don’t want to see our pets eaten, of course. That’s why people have learned to adjust their habits when walking their dogs.
The wild animals were here first and the residents have suburbanite guilt about killing the original inhabitants. New Jersey is wildly overdeveloped, Santa. Developers built all these huge houses people couldn’t afford, and even though they couldn’t afford them, they bought them anyway, and then defaulted. All the development ate up a lot of the wild animals’ territory and all for what? Empty strip malls. My mom is thinking about getting up a petition to put an end to the hunts. I’m thinking about planting cranberry bushes in my little garden.
Please send Mom another bear, Santa. And once awhile, send it over Federal Hill to come visit me. Just tell it to be careful crossing the highway.