Scene 2: The police officer arrives
I saw his headlights and a very bright spotlight bouncing up the road and felt instant relief. Thank god there was a responsible adult headed my way. What would we do without brave-ass first-responders? Seriously? So thankful for them. I hung up with Eric but did not go out to meet him. Instead I waited until he cased the driveway and I heard him walk up the front steps. What if the bear is on the front porch? But the officer had a gun so I waited for him to knock on the door which told me that at least the front porch was clear.
I can only imagine how I looked when I opened the door. Small, in fuzzy pajamas, hair askew, soaked in sweat, and clutching a can of bear spray, my finger firmly on the nozzle top. I explained what had happened and almost burst into tears from relief at seeing him.
“Will you check the back porch too?” my voice croaked.
“Take deep breaths. You’re going to be okay.” He was reassuring and in charge of the situation and it was exactly the attitude I needed at that second. “Are there any fire arms in the house?” (Translation, are you going to shoot me while I’m walking around inspecting your house outside?) Smart man.
“No.” I quivered in response.
“Okay, I’m going to walk around the perimeter and see if it’s gone. I’ll come back to this door and knock again.”
The level of relief I had now that he was there was palpable. His flashlight was unbelievably bright, so I surveyed the property with him, but from inside the house, moving from window to window and following his light as he flashed it all around outside. He came back and knocked.
“Where does that downstairs door lead to?”
“To our house!”
“Oh, is it okay if I come in and inspect it?”
All I could think was, are you kidding? Can you come in? How about can you STAY tonight? I will make you cookies and coffee and let you play the PS4 to your heart’s content, just stay here and keep watch while we sleep!!!!
But I didn’t say that. That would have been inappropriate and police officers have to police stuff and protect the rest of the town from these crazy ass bears.
I just said, ‘yes, of course!’ and showed him downstairs. He opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. In a second I heard him say, ‘ah!’ and then he poked his head around and gestured to me.
“Do you have food stored down there?” We were both outside looking at the side of the house. The bear had ripped off a bunch of wood paneling from the side of the house. It looked like he was trying to get IN to the unfinished crawl space under the house. We had nothing stored under there. We could also see the bear’s tracks walking away from the house which gave me some measure of relief.
I asked the officer if he would say hello to C and tell her everything was okay and he agreed. We went into her room and at first I thought she had fallen back asleep.
“C, are you awake?”
She shot up to a seated position, throwing the covers off from over her head. This flashed me back to childhood and times when I had been scared and the only thing I could do was put the blankets over my head too.
The Sergeant was super kind and he spoke to her in a calm voice talking about his two children. He told her it would be okay and she could go back to sleep and then he and I went upstairs.
His presence had been supremely reassuring but I knew he needed to go and I hated the thought of trying to sleep the rest of the night not knowing if the bear was going to come back and do more Ursid home décor.
“I don’t know your personal views on fire arms, but living in an area like this, you might want to consider getting some guns. I’d suggest a 12 gauge shotgun, nothing less than 12 gauge.”
I nodded. We weren’t opposed to guns, but it wasn’t something we had yet looked into for the house up here. “Or consider getting a revolver. This is a semi-automatic,” he motioned to the fire arm on his waist. “But I practice with it all the time. If you needed to grab a gun and you were shaking or upset, you might drop the clip. If you get a revolver, you could just bang, bang, bang, but you’d need to get a big enough one to take down a bear.”
I kept nodding and the adrenaline that that finally started to ease began to ball up again my stomach.
“If we had been stalled getting here and the bear had broken down the door, you’d need something to stop it. I don’t think that bear spray would do much good. Consider barricading yourself in a room with the girls. Move a bed in front of the door.”
Now he was freaking me out. I mean, these are the kind of scenarios I play out in my head. This is why I had bought the two bear spray canisters to have on the top and bottom levels of the house. Here he was literally playing out my worst fears blow by blow.
“Okay, thank you officer. I’ll talk to my husband about it.”
“If the bear comes back, just call 911 again and we’ll be back here.”
The rest of the night was hard. C couldn’t get to sleep and I was wired. I called Eric back to let him know it had indeed been a bear and to tell him about the damage to the house.
“Take a sleeping pill,” he urged. “You need to get some sleep.”
“ARE YOU CRAZY? I HAVE TO PROTECT MY FAMILY.” I felt like I was literally saying what my adrenaline was thinking. “I'll have to sleep with one eye open!” : cue Metallica :
“The bear isn’t coming back. It’s probably halfway down Old Mammoth road and getting into the dumpsters down there.”
C slept in bed with me but try as I might, I couldn’t sleep. Around 2am I finally decided to take a half dose of Nyquil. I figured it would tranquilize me enough to maybe, possibly, sleep, but I wouldn’t be too groggy if I had to spring up and go into action. I slept fitfully for a few hours, coughing and hacking, and generally bemoaning the entire evening’s events.
Scene 3: In the Light of Day
This morning I woke up and after getting the girls ready for the day and imbibing coffee, I headed out to see the damage.