Originally uploaded by kepkanation.

Two weeks ago, while driving in West Eugene, I saw a sign. Bear, it said, and it pointed to the left. I laughed and passed it by, but later, coming back the same way, I saw the sign again. So I took a picture and thought, who wouldn’t follow that sign?

Sixteen miles and about 6 signs later, I had a choice to make: I could turn left, as the last sign was asking, and go down a country road clearly posted as a Dead End. Or I could let my imagination fill in the blanks.

It was a circus bear. The father won it at a church raffle, but instead of simply naming it — as he was supposed to do before donating it to the humane society — he decided to take it home to his kids. They’d been lonely since his wife died. The bear was talented. It could draw on paper and it liked to grill morningstar farms hot dogs on the Weber. It could ride a bicycle, but only a women’s style bike with the bar missing from the middle. The man and his two children learned from school encyclopedias that bears are social creatures. They couldn’t let the bear socialize with the cattle, so the kids made the signs and then went out with their dad on a Saturday afternoon and posted them up. They wanted the bear to have friends around. And they wanted the world to see their bear.

That’s what I think.
Second photo here.

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7 Responses to Bear!

  1. tangleofthorns says:

    Okay, your imaginary story is the kind of animal story that makes my heart hurt. What’s the bear’s name? Do the kids and the bear live happily ever after? What are its drawings of?

  2. kepkanation says:

    I think the bear’s name has to be Murray. And I think he draws the hat that he used to wear at the circus, which sort of looks like a washtub only with red and blue stripes, and upside down.

    And of course they live happily ever after. Kids who will go to such lengths to find a bear friends will obviously make good playmates for him (and probably grow up to be veterinarians or zoologists and eventually find the bear a home with other retired circus animals. Mayeb he’ll be reunited with his old friend the lion, who he may also draw sometimes, though it’s hard for him to draw lions since yellow shows up like white on paper for him. Being a bear, and all).

  3. tangleofthorns says:

    …I love you, did you know that?

    I can _see_ this as a children’s book, the illustrations are so clear in my head. If I could only draw slightly less crappily.

  4. drenilop says:

    ….. Wow.

    To me, that just has ‘story starter’ written all over it. In big rough hand-painted capital letters, like the sign.

  5. kepkanation says:

    🙂 Beary much?

    I can’t draw either. But maybe the bear could help out…

  6. kepkanation says:

    Heh! Yeah, it’s a pretty good prompt — I should use it in my fiction class.

    And also, those signs are really well done, somehow — they’ve been up for at least two weeks now and they aren’t running or smudging. It’s rained at least every other day.

  7. starstraf says:

    actually it is a family that their pet bear ran away and these are the signs leading it home

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