When I was a wee tot of seven years my Mom and my cousin Sonny took me on a trip “out west.” We took a trailer in tow and that was our home for our ten- day trip. Very early one morning we were parked somewhere in a place called “Montana” and I woke up before the old folks so I decided to take a walk.
Soon after leaving the trailer I saw something move in front of me maybe a hundred or so feet away. Curious, I moved closer and I soon saw an adorable furry creature – a bear. it looked so compelling that I got closer and then the bear stood up and looked straight at me. Now he was at least three times my height and he instantly became far too interested in me, so I ran back to the trailer at a speed that would have made Superman proud. The bear, now bored, slowly walked away.
It was the 4th of July so we bought some fireworks and then drove north eventually entering Alberta, Canada. As night fell we pulled off the road and parked for the night. I was amazed by the total absence of fireworks, after all it was the 4th of July. I did not fully grasp that Canada was a different country than the United States of America and that Canadians found nothing “special” about July 4th. Oh wel,l at least I had some fireworks.
So I stepped out of our trailer and lit off a Roman candle horizontally. I was instantly horrified as I watched balls of flame from my Roman candle bounce off of a car door. The light from my Roman candle was bright enough that I could easily read what was on the car door. It read: “Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” I was instantly absorbed in terror. The Mountie drove straight over to me and got out of his car. He was I believed at least 40 feet tall but upon seeing me his voice was calm and pleasant. He gently explained that Canada did not celebrate American independence day inasmuch as Canada, it seemed, still had a positive relationship with mother England.
I then noticed that the Mountie was not wearing the very fancy uniform I associated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He complimented me on my good observation and invited us to visit him at his headquarters the next day where he would be wearing the more formal uniform just for us. We went, he did and all was well. Then it was time to head back towards Chicago.
Our final stop along the way home was at a farm in Iowa. It was super cool. They had chickens, and pigs and lots of cows. One cow, calf actually, caught my full attention. He was clearly a very young calf and about my size so we soon began to play with each other. I would chase him and then he would stop. I’d start after him again and he would run and then stop. Finally, he got tired of the game He turned and looked straight in my eye not budging All four of his feet were firmly planted and then he lowered his head and began digging into the ground with one hoof. Then he attacked, knocking me down as he stood directly over me grinning with delight.
Mom began to freak out but the calf and I began to laugh. Okay so the calf didn’t laugh like a human but his behavior clearly demonstrated that he was having a great time playing with me and I was equally pleased with the calf’s antics. There I was a city boy from Chicago recently joined in a friendship with a calf from Iowa. It was a moment that has lived with me for well over 65 years and I can’t say that about a lot of my people friends.
Oh, what a trip. I was almost breakfast for a bear, tried to blow up a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and became playful fighting friends with a calf all in just one trip. Over the years I have been blessed to have traveled much of our world but no trip so far can compare with the string of events this one trip brought to me. For the bear, the Mountie and the calf – I salute you.