“When I know you know baby, everything I say
Meet me in the country for a day
We’ll be happy and we’ll dance
Oh, we’re gonna dance our blues away…” (1972) “Listen To The Music” Recorded By: the Doobie Brothers Composer: Tom Johnston
Someone very wise once told me that you never are really sure what you’re praying for when praying for your children. Usually it becomes more clear in retrospect of a life event.
Megan is my middle daughter, now 30 years old. I have written of her before, so forgive me if part of this post sounds redundant.
Out of three daughters, Megan is the one most like me, in various ways. My girls are precious to me, and Megan is the one who aligns more closely to who I am. It could be because when she was a toddler and pre-schooler, I was Mr. Mom for a few years. When Tabitha, her older sister (2 years older), went on to kindergarten, Megan and I spent lots of solo time together. In fact, the solo time lasted two of her young years. Although she lives in Buffalo, NY now, and I live in Dallas, Tx where she was born, we do still have a special bond. It’s always apparent when she comes home for a visit.
Megan was a child actress before she turned singer & recording artist. Megan has racked up a mound of accolades in upstate NY for the last 12 years. The bands she fronts have been news worthy and award-winning. (Currently you can see some of her videos when you look-up Grosh, or Grosh Band.) She’s on stage about as much as she sleeps each week.
Photo: Megan in Artvoice Magazine, June 2016.
Exhaustion and burnout can be an issue if not careful in that business.
So, enter kayaking and camping. We didn’t do either of these things for outdoor activities when she was a kid, but she always wanted to. She and a small group of close friends often rough-it out in the beautiful countryside of the southern tier of New York State, or northern Pennsylvania. With kayaks and tents loaded up, they always manage to find these areas of serene landscapes to unplug and get the fingernails dirty. Last weekend, they chose the gorgeous hills of the Allegheny National Forest. Megan always takes pictures for us. (Why am I hearing the whistle of the old Andy Griffith Show theme song?)
The lakes and streams are crystal clear, and cold. With an oar in one hand, and a camera in the other, I love getting to see her kayak perspective.
Honestly, can’t you just smell the pines and feel the cool breeze rising off the calm waters? Yeah, me too.
At night they circle the campfire, laughing at each other’s stories, and roasting s’mores over the open fire. Usually, it’s the wee hours before everyone hits the tents and rolled out sleeping bags. Ah, youth.
Early last Sunday morning, Aug 2nd around 5 o’clock, while nicely wrapped in their sleeping bags, the piercing quietness of the forest suddenly was shattered by the canvas-shaking roar and snorts of a loud animal in the camp. Everyone jumped a couple of inches off the ground by the unexpected wildlife just a few feet from the tent stakes. Peeking out from the flaps of the tent opening, Megan saw something huge and hairy hovering over the food supplies by the now quenched campfire. Someone turned a flashlight on the enormous growling mass of a creature to find a extra large black bear.
Photo: American Black Bear (Wikipedia)
The flashlight in his face didn’t disturb him one iota. Then someone began to yell and scream at the hefty bear with hopes of frightening him away. The vocals fell deaf on his slightly rounded ears. About that time, someone, probably the drummer, had the idea to grab a couple of metal chairs, and beer bottles, and proceeding to clang them together in a sharp ruckus sound for the bear’s fear factors. No doubt the sound echoed throughout the hills with an ear-shaking frequency. Still, the bear did not flinch. Not one eyelash was batted. It seemed an 18-wheeler could hit the big wall of black hair and he would’ve only be slightly annoyed. Fright began to turn in the minds of Megan and friends as their bear-banishing choices came to an end. In cases like this, experts say to flap your arms way up in the air while growling and yelling as you jump up and down to make yourself look bigger than you are. For some reason that is the best way to scare-off a bear, and other wildlife. However, no one was brave enough to try it as close as they were to the massive beast.
Nothing they did worked to spook the animal away because he was laser-beam focused on a nylon backpack full of all the ingredients for s’mores. That’s right. Inside were graham crackers, marshmallows, honey, and chocolate bars. He tore into the tough nylon exterior of the pack, as if it were rice paper, and began to chow down, cardboard boxes, plastic wrappers and all. Nothing that they could do, percussion, scream, or shine on him mattered. His mind was in tune with one thing…his sweet-tooth. Interestingly enough, right next to him was a cooler full of hot-dogs, deli turkey meat, and cheese. I am sure his nose picked up on the scent of the meat and cheese, but even so, the sugar in the backpack was his priority. THANK GOD! Finally, the brute of a beast knocked over a cooking kettle next to him and with a dart, he ran off with the makings of s’mores. The key was…he frightened himself. His own, “fear itself” shook his core.
I told Megan if that had been a mama with her cubs looking for food, they all would be dead in the woods, far from civilization. (It was just the dad in me adding that tidbit.)
Yep, sometimes when you pray for your kids, you often don’t know just what you are praying for until after a life & death event occurs. The Everlasting Arms searches the prayerful heart while holding the future in His hands.
In this strange and spooky election year, full of rage, riots, fires, loud voices, along with a frightening pandemic, we can choose to be the bear, or we can choose to be the kids with noise-making talents. Personally, call me Yogi. With all the distractions of our uneasy, restless times, I shall not be moved. My choice is to stay focused of the life, liberty, and the sweet pursuit of happiness our founding fathers placed in a bag just for me and my descendants. I will NOT be distracted from it by all the noise-making. My choice is to stand on what I know to be true in my heart, that core which turns me to the east or west, north, or south. I will keep my nose in that bag of treats from 1776 and disregard all else that attempts to woo my attention.
Thank you, bear. Thank you for the personal application at this time in my life. Most of all, thank you for obeying your Creator by not caring if my daughter was five feet from you while stuffing your cute face.
Speaking frankly, the bear necessities can be rediscovered in fuel for the race.
“Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.” – Proverbs 17:12 (NAS)