Growing up way,way in the country the last place bordering a game reserve, the nearest neighbor a mile away, I was always aware we didn’t live in the sticks, but I hoped to someday. The woods were full of wild pigs, deer, coyote, foxes, alligators, a few black bear, snakes, birds, and a plethora of other wild creatures. It wasn’t a great idea to go stumbling around in the dark out there, especially without knee-high boots, a pistol, and a light.
It was not uncommon for hunters to come walking up to our place, any time of the day or night, reporting being stuck in the deeply rutted roads and off-road areas of the reserve, muddy, fatigued, and bedraggled, desperate for help in getting out of a mud hole. Daddy or my brother sometimes cranked the tractor, bounced them back to their disaster, and pulled them out. It could take quite a while and was a lot of work. More often than not, if they had no cash, they left personal property to be redeemed when they came back with cash.
One morning about daylight, visitors of a different type came walking up, a teenage couple who’d gone parking and gotten stuck. The girl explained, they’d spent the night in the car, afraid to walk out, thinking a bear might get them.
I was amazed. Her father must have been nothing like mine. There wasn’t a bear big or bad enough to warrant getting caught spending the night in a parked car with a boy. I’d have faced a dozen bears rather than Daddy with a story like that!