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Opinion & Essays - Oct, 1995 Issue #36 

And How They Can Position You In the Food Chain.
By: Richard Armstrong
Moyie Springs, Idaho

The young man, as with most teenagers, knew it all. And, he of course, was too smart to get caught. He knew he could weather all the deals, the manipulation and intimidation of his parents, or the law. He was connected, and had people on his side. All he had to do with Authority was to walk the walk and talk the talk, and they would give him a second chance. 

But, the people he was connected to were only interested in results. They wanted either the money or the goods, and would not tolerate excuses. So when this young man wound up with neither the money nor the goods and nothing but excuses, he learned they wanted his blood, and were going to get him, and get him bad. 

He was scared, he wanted out, and for the first time in a long while, he was so desperate he turned to his parents for help. 

Yes they would help, but only to a place of his parents' choosing! The resolve of his mother and father was long overdue, and the young man didn't really like the conditions, until he heard THEY (His Connections) were coming for him. Then it was, "OK, but I must leave RIGHT NOW!" 

The parents scrambled. They had heard of REPORTS newsletter. A few phone calls. Some questions. "Call this person." "What exactly is the situation?" "I see." "Choices are pretty limited aren't they?" "Is your son willing to go?" "ALASKA?" "Sure, sounds remote enough." "Can he go there now?" "Not yet, but some great folks in Idaho can take him right now and help him on his way." "GREAT!" So the parents bailed him out again, or so the young man thought with a smirk. "Anyway, Idaho wasn't so bad, at least compared to the creeps waiting back home." 

So the boy adjusted to winter in a big hurry in Idaho. He whined and complained, but his parents held firm. He adjusted to life in Idaho. When it came time for his Alaska flight, he said, "Yes, I've learned a lot here. Can't I stay?" "No," his parents said, "Take what you've learned. It's yours, and can serve you well. Use that to help yourself do what is right." 

A plane flight later, "Look at the Mountains, Trees, and Oh my Gosh, look at all that SNOW. It's everywhere!" Off the plane. "That's the guy? With the big fuzzy beard that's going to change me? Ha! He doesn't look so bad." So out of town and into the bush they went. 

Weeks later the boy was surprised he liked the simplicity of living outdoors. But when he didn't like something, the only thing he knew, was his old manipulations and intimidations which didn't work with fuzzy beard. He still had to chop wood to keep warm. Fuzzy beard laughed at the boy's antics and just shook his head. He had a lot of patience. 

"Grow up and find your place," he would counsel. "Pay attention to your surroundings, it might be vital," fuzzy beard would teach. "Right" said the boy, who still thought he knew it all. 

It was on a day he went down to the river. Winter hadn't closed in completely yet. The animals were getting ready for the long winter. The fish were thick in the river. "This should be easy picking for dinner" the boy thought. 

As always, his thoughts were on himself and the immediate. Food for his belly. Staying warm. Doing his time. Wondering on how soon he could get out of there. "Why had he come here anyway? Yeah, I've made some mistakes, but things will be different when...." 

He was so caught up in himself that he forgot to pay attention. He was taking things for granted. He had forgot that things could change out here very quickly and a person has to be aware, or pay the price. 

"What was that noise? Was it a groan? Where was it coming from? And, WHAT MADE IT?" With the hairs on the back of his neck starting to stand up, his fear caught in his throat. He didn't see the Brown bear until it stood on it's hind legs and towered above the willows across the river less than 200 yards away. 

"Wow!" the boy said. "Isn't that cool. I wonder what he's doing? Why is he sniffing the wind?" 

"Man-he sure is big! I wonder why he's coming this way? Doesn't he see me? I thought bears were supposed to run away from people! " 

"What did fuzzy beard say you were supposed to do when you see a bear? OH CRUD, he's coming CLOSER! What do I do? He's at the edge of the river now." 

It seems the bear had also decided that the river had easy pickings for dinner! 

And as the bear plunged into the river in hot pursuit of dinner, his would-be dinner was making a beeline back to camp, screaming for fuzzy beard. 

The boy burst into camp as the man calmly picked up his rifle and told the boy to stand behind him. A moment later the bear, a large one at that, rambled into camp. Upon seeing two of the strange smelling creatures, the brown bear rose to it's full height of over 7' tall, let out a horrendous roar, dropped to all fours and sauntered back into the brush. "Back to fish," thought the bear. 

"Oh Thank you, THANK YOU" said the boy to the powers that be. 

So for the first time in the young boy's life, he saw the forces of nature at work and was humbled by them. And he understood a whole lot more of life in that moment than he ever had up to that point. Not only did he care about his life, he began caring about others. 

He thought about what he had done to get him there and maybe, perhaps, what he could do differently. He was humbled --- for a while, at least. 

Copyright 1995, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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