Not only are we in a suburb, but we're in a subdivision. A genuine, bonafide subdivision with a name and HOA nazis and everything. Seriously. We get "gentle" reminder letters if we leave our garbage cans at the curb for too long or if we have weeds growing in our cracks. (Cracks in the driveway, people! Even the Homeowner Nazis don't look that closely so get your mind out of the gutter.)
I must admit, I'm beginning to see the sense in removing your garbage cans from the curb as soon as they're empty. Or even removing them from the property completely. It seems that garbage cans are the real life pik-a-nik baskets for roaming Yogi-wannabes.
There were rumors that a bear had been seen in the area. I saw one several months ago about a mile from our subdivision. It was crossing a very busy street with the lumbering cadence of an animal that might have taken too seriously his need to store up fat for the winter. Especially given that he's apparently chosen to hibernate in Florida. Then we heard that one had been seen inside our subdivision. Then we heard that one had been seen in the conservation land right behind our house.
Even at that I wasn't too worried. That conservation land is less than a mile wide, and there's a bar and a highway on the other side of it. Didn't seem like a place where wildlife would really like to hang out. Except a couple of weeks ago I was headed back on a Sunday night from dropping our son back off at college. It was late, and I was chatting on the phone with my husband. He had just gotten home from church and was complaining that some sort of critter had gotten into our garbage, even hauling some of it off to the edge of the woods. He speculated that it was a bear because entire bags had been dragged across the small clearing and ripped apart at the edge of the trees.
Suddenly I heard my husband gasp over the phone and then say, "It is a bear! It is a bear; I just saw it come out of the woods. I'll have to call you back." Common sense would indicate that he was hanging up because he had to call the authorities.
Common sense would be wrong.
I waited an hour for someone to call me back and reassure me that the bear hadn't eaten my entire family. I was not thrilled to find out that Indiana and our grown son, Matt, had chased the bear back into the woods.
Chasing bears does not seem very prudent to me.
A week or so later I reminded the boys to set out the garbage for pick up in the morning. A short time later I came downstairs to find the garbage ignored and all of the boys joining their dad for a movie in the family room. When I reminded them about the garbage, I was informed that they were waiting for the bear to go away before they went outside.
I suggested (more than once) that we should store the garbage cans in the garage to keep from being the neighborhood drive-through for wildlife. I've been soundly ignored. (More than once.)
Tuesday night my husband was on the phone with Luke, our son at college. On nice nights Indiana likes to pace up and down the driveway while he chats. Don't ask me why. At any rate, he opened the front door the front door, mind you, and came almost face to face with the bear. I guess if we're not going to put out our garbage early enough, Yogi is now feeling free to come knock on the door and remind us of our duty to share our garbage bounty with those less fortunate.
The bear was literally on the sidewalk, between our driveway-parked vehicles and the house. Startled by Indiana's sudden appearance, the bear hurried over to the (small) clearing at the side of our house. I guess he realized we wouldn't chase him any farther because he turned around and sat down not ten feet from the house. He looked like a giant dog. (We tried taking pictures by the way, but when you take a picture of a black bear at night, there's really not a whole lot to see.) After a few moments of sitting at attention, Yogi sprawled lazily in the yard and watched the cars drive by.
He also watched all of my men-folk who were congregated in our driveway. I couldn't convince any of them that standing there with nothing between them and the bear was not the smartest move I've ever seen them make. Being the only one with some common sense, I went inside to cower and watch the bear through the family room window.
After about ten minutes, I was relieved to see the bear get up and waddle away from us down the sidewalk. I was not so relieved a moment later when Indiana moved into view. He was less than 10 feet behind the bear, and was following (re: chasing) the bear away from the house. At that point I couldn't stand to watch any longer so I did the only thing that made sense. I closed the blinds and re-confirmed the amount of life insurance I'd be receiving.
The bear eventually left. Someone called the police, but by the time they got there, Yogi was long gone. One neighbor called animal control, but they said they couldn't do anything because there hadn't been an "incident". That left me wondering how much blood had to be shed for it to be considered an incident.
Stephanie named the bear Yogi because she said we couldn't have a normal bear visit us; we had to have a grandstanding one.
I'm just worried that Yogi is auditioning one of the boys to play BooBoo.