T’was the Night of the Twenty-Fourth of July

BY MAUREEN NOWOSAD

T’was the night of the twenty-fourth of July

And the sun was gleaming down from the midnight sky

The children were all sleeping safely on the back seat of the truck

As The Wife and I stared out the window, completely dumbstruck

A grizzly and her cubs had come to pay us a visit by this peaceful light

Scaring us to death as they cheerfully tore into our campsite

And like uninvited in-laws come to stay, they settled into our tent

Slashed our sleeping bags, and in the side of the cooler made a huge dent

How quickly they raided through everything, I could not help but admire

Even laughed a little when they threw my fishing rod on the campfire

But watching them stomp my digital camera was unbearable

And worse yet was what they did to my hiking boots, which made them forever unwearable

To protect my family, I knew I had to do something

But these things take time and careful planning

So go ahead and whine and pout, but for your information, my dearest wife

I have absolutely no intention of fighting ANYTHING with my Swiss Army knife

As the stars twinkled weakly through the windshield now coated with summer frost

I shivered and added up in my mind what all this quality time was actually going to cost

Then watched in the rear-view mirror as our dog slunk into the truck bed to hide

While those cute little cubs ripped off the bumper and tossed it aside

After a while, things were getting desperate because The Wife had to pee

But I still hadn’t come up with a plan that came with any sort of a guarantee

And besides, since our pickup does not have doors and windows that seal tight

I was feeling kind of drained by the ten-million mosquito bites

To get to the ranger station, I was idly contemplating being heroic

Picturing myself as all super-cool and stoic

Even had my hand on the door handle in case I was forced to do something rash

When all of a sudden, from the RV next door, there came an almighty crash

A plump old man with a bushy white beard, and dressed only in red long underwear

Leaped out, swearing in French and firing a shotgun into the air

His rosy-cheeked missus followed behind, banging a frying pan with a wooden spoon

Dancing a jig and howling at the moon

Now, I don’t know if it was the explosion or their insane rants

But both the bears and I pooped our pants

Into the forest three furballs fled in a flash

While I tried to squeeze in under the dash

The Wife slid me a look of disdain and mouthed something I suspect was rude and stinging

But I couldn’t hear because my heart was pounding and my ears were still ringing

Mister yelled, “You can come out now and get your keys, they’re good and gone.”

But I had every intention of staying exactly where I was, until dawn

All the noise awoke my sleepy-eyed son who yelled, “Look Dad, it’s Santa Claus!”

And I agreed without a moment’s pause

After all, up here so close to the North Pole, who was I to tell him he was mistaken

And that it was probably just an old prospector who had saved our beer and bacon