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Hop on board for a forty-eight hour ride through the world's most dysfunctional trailer park. WARNING! Don’t read if your are: A) easily offended B) politically correct C) like everything nice or D) believe in the Easter Bunny!
If an Indian falls in the woods, can you hear him scream? Dora Shear did, and her life was about to get interesting. After Maistoinna Standing Bear tackles a tree, Dog Shear Dora - as she’s known in the trailer park - is left to pick up the pieces. Only she’s up to no good.
Uncover the secrets of a Jewish love triangle, why the IGA checkout lady trashes a car, why a trip over the coffee table is better than Novocain, and more importantly, the difference between a Canadian Passport and a Kentucky Waterfall. Hop on board with Maistoinna for a crazy forty-eight hour ride through the world’s most dysfunctional trailer park.
Eyes ablaze, a bear came at night. It lumbered into camp, earth shaking under claw. In the light of a crackling campfire its shadow flickered upon the trunks of conifers. Its breath swirled about its snout before rising into the night. Fast asleep, Maistoinna (My-stween-a) Standing Bear was oblivious of the ursine’s presence - or maybe he wasn’t. Either way, he turned his back on the bear.
Maistoinna wasn’t concerned about a bear invading his camp. He was experienced camping in bear country and took precautions. The Blackfoot Indian was fond of saying: “If a bear’s crazy enough to slash his way into my tent, I’m crazy enough to have a nasty surprise waiting for him.” This night, Maistoinna didn’t pitch a tent, choosing instead to sleep under the stars.
The cinnamon bear nosed closer, firelight betraying a deep gash upon its shoulder. Around the wound dried blood matted its fur. A normal bear might pause to paw at this rock or that, maybe uncovering a tasty treat. This bear seemed different; slowly, deliberately, he moved toward Maistoinna. Hovering over the sleeping Blackfoot, the bear paused, studying his quarry as its steamy breath belched skyward.
When Maistoinna rolled onto his back, the bear pounced. With a primordial grunt, it nudged Maistoinna with a giant paw, startling him from sleep. The echo of Maistoinna’s bellow rolled over the treetops.
The bear pinned Maistoinna and lowered its snout. “Shut up!” the bear growled, engulfing Maistoinna with putrid breath. “Sweeny, Shut up! It’s me,” the bear shook Maistoinna’s shoulders.
Terror filled Maistoinna’s eyes as he struggled to free his arms, his breath rapid and shallow under the bear’s weight.
“Calm down, calm down, it’s me.”
Maistoinna squinted, recognition settled over him.
“Sorry to scare you, cousin, but it’s the only way I can get your attention,” the bear said. “It’s happening again,” it warned. “Do something about it! This time, do something! Don’t let another eagle fall.”
Maistoinna awoke with a start, his heart pounding. Next to him, embers from the dying fire glimmered. “A dream, only a dream,” Maistoinna mumbled. Confused and weary, he sat motionless, scrutinizing the tree line. Far from his Browning, Montana, home, Maistoinna was camping along the Appalachian Trail in northeastern Pennsylvania, in the midst of a solo quest at conquering the two thousand-mile trail.
Shaken, Maistoinna snuggled into his sleeping bag. For the first time in his adult life, he didn’t feel at home in nature. He suddenly feared the dark and what lurked within; he wished to be in a motel room, in a comfortable bed under a warm blanket, watching this week’s million-dollar movie.
Somewhere in the night an owl hooted; Maistoinna jumped. He gave up his attempt at sleep and climbed out of his bag. Sitting before the campfire, he watched morning light chase darkness across the sky. His mind grappled with the bear. What was he saying? Did the eagle mean what he thought? What was with the bear’s wound?
These things once would have been intelligible to Maistoinna, but lately—ever since his nephew’s accident —many things seemed incomprehensible. Maistoinna was frustrated that he didn’t understand the bear. He related to bears better than women. He knew bears—women, well… he understood bears.
As a boy, his grandfather told him that their clan was directly descended from the great bear. Even then Maistoinna admired the bear’s arrogant swagger. “They’re always smiling,” a young Maistoinna told his grandfather. Unknown to Maistoinna, his own smile resembled that insolent smirk.
Real-life encounters with bears didn’t shake him the way this dream had— not even the time a black bear caught Maistoinna with his pants down. The sun shined brilliantly upon the jagged Mission Mountains as Maistoinna answered nature’s call. He was squatting behind a stand of brush when he heard the bear lumber nearby. It swaggered across an opening in the trees, busily foraging with its snout to the ground. Not until Maistoinna moved for his pepper spray - set upon a stump five feet away - did the bear notice him. With teeth clacking, the bear moved towards Maistoinna.
In his excitement, Maistoinna forgot to pull up his pants and fell over himself. He hit the ground with a thud—pepper spray out of reach. Snorting, the bear closed. It caught whiff of Maistoinna’s scat and lowered its snout. After a brief investigation, the bear scampered away.
Maistoinna never told a soul, he found zero humor in the story. That’s not to say that Maistoinna didn’t possess a blistering wit, he did, as long as others were the target.
As the sun rose above the Appalachian forest, Maistoinna dumped his remaining coffee on the fire and closed camp. He faced the long day ahead of him with a sigh. Hiking was an ordeal in the Mid-Atlantic summer time soup.