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Camping at North Dickey Lake, Montana

Posted by on September 11, 2011

Gene and I are sitting at the picnic table at our campsite playing twenty or thirty rounds of Dominion and drinking microbrews  (why? what do YOU do when you camp?) when a minivan pulls up to our site and honks. We turn around. For about half a minute, the driver just sits and stares at us, as if the honk were communication enough. Then she hollers out “Do you want to see my bear?”

Operating on Jim’s “responding to Dwight” principle from The Office, Gene immediately says “Absolutely we do.”

We walk over and the woman climbs out of the van and opens the sliding door. Inside on the seat with its seatbelt securely fastened is a bear. It is made of wood. The paws are molded to hold a roll of toilet paper, and there is a pouch on the stomach. “For magazines?” Gene asks.

“Right!” the woman says. “I found him at a garage sale and I just snapped him up. I call him T.P.”

“Makes sense,” says Gene, while I try not to stare, fascinated, at the obviously recent stitches covering the woman’s forehead.

“I’m going around the campground showing him to everyone,” says the woman with the fresh head wound.

“Sounds good,” Gene says. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” says the woman, and drives on to the next occupied campsite.

“Did you, uh, notice her head wound?” I ask Gene as we return to our game.


“Maybe we should have called someone?”

“She’s fine,” he says. “You want another beer?”

“Sure,” I say, and go back to schooling him in Dominion.

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