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OLD GRIZ

Performed at the Tall Tales Show, Plummer, ID, 2003.

    This poem has to do with some backpackers and a grizzly bear.

    I've spent some time in the Yellowstone country. And you really can't be out there without the thought of grizzly bears somewhere in the back of your mind. More than once I'd be going along and a big brown thing would get up. I'd freeze in my tracks and my heart would pound. Then I'd realize... Whew, it's just a moose.

    A lot of people wear bells when they go out in the back country. The theory is that the bears will hear the bells and won't be surprised. Bears don't like surprises. So if you happen to know a grizzly bear and he's got a birthday coming up, don't throw him a surprise party ...He'll eat you up.

    I never wore bells. They seemed to me like those bells on the icecream truck -- just advertising your presence --if a bear was out to get ya, he'd find you that much sooner.

    I was out with an old timer and we were looking at some bear scat. Now wildlife does it, it's called scat. If farm animals do it, it's called manure. I'm sure you can think of lots of other names. The old timer said, "That's black bear scat." I asked him how he knew it wasn't grizzly bear scat. He told me, "Grizzly bear scat has bear bells."

As they say, SCAT HAPPENS!


OLD GRIZ
     by Hilma (Volcano) Volk

Old Griz was sleeping under a pine,
Dreaming of Mrs. Griz (so fine),
When a faint little noise brought him awake.
He sniffed the air, did a double take,
As he listened to 'tingle, tangle, tine'.
And he thought, 'COOKIES!'.

Three helpless looking backpackers trod
Up the trail with bells upon their bod.
Mother Griz had warned 'bout such as these:
"Sure you could crush each one with ease.
But they can kill with fire from a rod."
But he thought, 'COOKIES!'.

"People don't taste good, you'd spit them out.
Then all their friends would hunt about
Until they found the likes of you
And turn you into grizzly stew.
They're only trouble, do not doubt."
But he thought, 'COOKIES!'.

He followed them slowly up the path
Then grinned and thought 'I'll show my wrath'.
On hind legs gave a fearsome growl,
Delighting to hear the hiker's yowl.
The terrified three heard a grizzly laugh
As he thought, 'COOKIES!'.

One fellow threw down his pack and fled.
The others froze - one pale, one red -
Then watched the mighty beast attack
With razor claws that shred the pack.
The bear distracted, away they sped,
As he thought, 'COOKIES!'.

He woofed down bags of instant rice
And freeze-dried veggies, "That was nice".
Sank sharp fangs in a can of beer -
Foam grinnin' bear sittin' on his rear
Munching bread and dried apples by the slice.
"What's this? NO COOKIES!"

Standing up he looked around to see
Three young men huddled in a tree.
Their gear they'd hoisted on a limb.
The bear grinned, 'I'll fix 'em.'
Then he started to shake the tree with glee,
As he thought, 'COOKIES!'.

The second backpack hit the ground.
He scattered the contents all around,
Inhaled bagels, then some cheese.
Quoth the bear, "What morsels these."
Then M&M's, then coffee (ground)!
He growled, "NO COOKIES!"

Eight hundred pounds of angry bear
Beat his chest and clawed the air,
Leaped and almost grabbed a boot.
Down came another bag of loot
From the frightened threesome in despair.
"I hope there's COOKIES."

He dragged the prize to a grassy rise.
A brand new 'Lowe' met its demise.
Down feathers were flying everywhere
With polypropylene underwear.
Then he passed up nuts and Lunch-Box-Pies
When he found COOKIES.

  Selected Cowboy Poetry
by Hilma (Volcano) Volk

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Manure Happens
by Hilma (Volcano) Volk
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Website: http://www.manurehappens.com