I resisted taking a photo of our son John $ as he told a bear story. He is allergic to the front side of cameras. When I do take his picture, he doesn’t complain, but I know he prefers not to be recorded. That evening he was stretched out on a sofa and told us about a hike a few days before. There is something about the way he tells a story that commands attention. Hiking on a little-used trail, he and a bear surprised each other. Since he was alone, he wasn’t making much noise. He spotted the bear climbing up a tree about the same time the bear saw him. They parted amicably. Further up the trail, he startled two bears digging for grubs under rotting logs. He said it was highly unusual for two grown bears to be together. He wondered if they were two-year-olds cast off by their mother but still used to being together. One scampered off, but the other started toward him. You need to think quickly in a situation like that. $ made noise and sauntered back the way he came, diffusing the situation. Our son is not accident prone, but dangerous things happen to him all the time.
I wish I could take credit for $’s self-sufficiency. Just before we all went to bed, $ asked if he could have the air mattress. He lugged it from our closet to the living room, set it up himself, knew where to find a pillow, and was soon settled in. The next morning, when I looked in the living room, there was nothing in the middle space. He had already stowed away the air mattress and put the sheets in the laundry room. That’s as close as we come to having an instant guest. We didn’t even have to stir in water.