Bear, Them There Hills, Etc.

Early 21st century communication patterns:

Outgoing text message: At a bbq watching a bear

Incoming text message (respondent 1): A real man would kill it for sport
Incoming text message (respondent 2): @ Pat Park watchin a hooker score fix
Incoming text message (respondent 3): Do u think u could send it to eat my [family member]?

Two observations: (1) amazing how easy it is to keep in touch these days and (2) yes, we were at a barbeque, watching several bears, in fact. Possibly even within the Missoula city limits, no less – I’ll have to check a map.

We were in the back yard of a colleague of A.’s, a department head who hosts an annual pot luck to kick off the school year. I was on my way back from the buffet table, where I had just scooped up a little of the salmon I’d missed earlier (they were being brought out in seven-pound slabs, the poor card tables whimpering with the weight of them, and then the crowd would swarm in…).

I noticed A. gesturing and hurried back to our chairs in the middle of the lawn, and, as I did, I noticed that everyone was looking in the same direction, at the steep ridge on the far side of the road. There, about half-way up – maybe three quarters, what do I know about these things – was a big black dot trailed by three small dots.

We all watched, mostly transfixed, until the group climbed out of site. A bear still a bit of a wonder, even in this jaded age, and deer leaping up the hill besides.

As the man at the grill announced the availability of some more freshly barbecued venison and elk, I had the sense that I was no longer in Baltimore.