Bear Trap

We girls started out digging a hole in front of the vegetable garden to catch rabbits but it kept getting bigger and deeper. We used our beach shovels; they were heavy duty and didn’t even bend when we hit rocks. We filled pail after pail with dark dirt, which we dumped out behind Lady’s doghouse.

Susan and I were very industrious and finished out hole before lunch and afternoon naps. We washed up making especially sure to clean the dirt from under our fingernails. We were excited because we thought that our plan might really work and we would have wild rabbits for pets. After our nap we ran to the hole to finish disguising it with pine boughs and grass. It was important to cover the hole so that the rabbits couldn’t tell a hole was beneath them as they nibbled on the grass and then they would fall to the bottom and not be able to hop out.

We tested our rabbit trap by setting a pail full of rocks on the pine branches to make sure that they would give way so that the rabbits would be surprised. Like good engineers we retested our trap until called in for supper. The trap was ready and all we had to be was patient.

After our baths, as we were reading our bedtime stories we heard a yell from the back yard. Susan and I rushed to our window in time to see a dark figure waving its paws and howling with pain in the twilight. We watched as our mother rushed past our window and down to the garden to help the injured animal … no, it wasn’t an animal but our father that she helped to limp into the light cast by our window. He was holding his back and rubbing his knee as he limped up the side yard stairs.

Creased with frowns, our parent’s faces told us that we wouldn’t be catching rabbits anytime soon. We’d caught a bear and he wasn’t happy. Our dad had almost broke his leg which would have kept him from going to work and he asked Susan and I who would bring home the money if he was unable to work for six whole weeks. He talked to us for a while after he had initially lost his temper and hollered at us, and ordered us to fill in the hole the next day. Susan begged him not to be angry, she cried and said we were sorry and that we would be good girls. Susan was good for the teary dramatics; she promised that we would never dig another hole again in our lifetimes. I looked at my feet and said nothing – it had been my idea which pretty much was taken for granted.

Later that night, snug in our twin beds, Susan and I talked about catching our bear. We talked about how in the old days people caught all kinds of animals in holes. We were like hunters; we had some wild blood in us like Indians. Before falling asleep we made plans to relocate our hole behind the garden – but we never did.

October 23, 2008 KBP

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