Thursday, August 24, 2006

Black Bear in Tennessee

It’s been over a week since I last posted and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I just got back from one of the coolest professional conferences I’ve ever attended. It is a four-day event for children’s performers called KIDabra. I’ve lectured there for the last few years and have been attending for even longer. It’s a great convention.

This year I took my family including my beautiful daughter, Madeleine. You can imagine the attention she got at a convention of children’s performers. She left after seeing a couple of hundred magic tricks, speaking with no fewer than 27 puppets, receiving about 22 napkin roses, and about 391 balloon animals.

She loved every minute of it.

In addition to all the great stuff at the convention we also went to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, and went hiking in the Smoky Mountains. The Dixie Stampede was a lot of fun and very interesting. I’ll be writing a blog article on the money machine that Dolly Parton has created there which I’ll post on my Business Building Blog:

But now I’ll tell you that one of the highlights of my trip was seeing a black bear in the wild.

We were hiking in the Smoky Mountains with my wife in the lead when she turned and yelled “There’s a bear!” She then very instinctively grabbed our daughter, turned her to be facing toward a tree and then wrapped herself around our daughter to protect her. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do, but my wife sure did it fast like she knew what she was doing.

Meanwhile I grabbed the camera and started running toward the bear to get a good picture. This, by the way is NOT the right thing to do.

Fortunately my wife has enough sense for both of us and she yelled out to me “We’re not in a zoo!”

Oh, yeah. Bears maul people. They are strong and this one was lean. He looked hungry. He crossed the trail and went up the hill. I watched him from what I hoped was a safe distance, about 30 yards.

He didn’t seem the least bit interested in me (thank goodness). He just slowly sauntered up the hill, stopping once to glance back at me before continuing up the hill.

Every time I tell this story my daughter starts crying and saying “I didn’t get to see the bear ‘cause Mommy made me look at the tree and wouldn’t let me turn around!”
The real bummer is that I never got a good photo.

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