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Tinker

The Night the Bears Roamed

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Tinker

The Night the Bears Roamed

While my Dad
          sat on the front porch
of the vacation cabin
a baseball bat across his lap
                     to ward off the bears,
Mamma sat on the lower
bunk in the kids dorm
          with her arm around
                      my sobbing friend,
gathered the rest of us kids
and taught us all to recite
            the 23rd Psalm.

"Yeah though I walk
            through the valley of the shadow of death
            I will fear no evil."
The bears were looming
            so we listened,
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,”
A baseball bat
            made a pretty good rod
                       against imaginary bears.
"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me",
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
We believed,
            we were safe,
                       the bears were gone.

To this day when afraid
            I remember that night
                       and the bears go away.
                               ~~Judi Van Gorder
Notes: ▼
 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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YarnSpinner

Judy: A wonderful  analogy of how every child should be raised to believe  it's father and mother are there to protect and guide them at all times. This creates a strength in the child to believe; using today's quip..."I've got your back always."

I remember when I was about 5 years old ; while playing on a school sliding board. I leaned too far over at the top to get my leg out from under my bottom so I could slide down the board. I fell about 14 feet and  broke my left wrist. We walked about a mile to the family doctor's office. He...in order to determine how badly I was injured, pulled quite hard on it...I screamed out; "Let me alone I want to go home. My Daddy can fix it; he's a welder."  I had no idea what he could have done by welding it, but I believed in his ability to make things right.

I maintained that faith toward my dad and mother until the day they passed. Now that they are no longer with us; I believe in the MAN above to be there for me.

Bob; YarnSpinner

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Tinker

Thanks Bob,  This is one of the good memories I have of my childhood and especially my Dad, sitting on the front porch bat across his lap drinking a beer, vowing that we were safe, he would keep the bears away.   There were no bears but somehow we got it in our heads there were.  My Mom who wasn't particularly religious decided that teaching us the Psalm would sooth us.  My girlfriend was having a big case of homesickness and in those days there were no cell phones to call home.  Gathering all of us and teaching us the psalm worked.  

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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badger11

Love this poem Tink.

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Tinker

Thanks Badge, I just basically told one of most fond memories from my childhood. That night my parents were at their best.  

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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tonyv

Judi, this poem presents things to be observed and learned. The first thing I noticed was that it was a vacation cabin. Whatever the problems of daily life may have been, the family was together, on vacation: happy times. I also observed (with the help of your replies) that the parents were both trying to be there for the children including the guest. I'm not even sure if they understood the ramifications of what they were doing, but (in hindsight) it must have come naturally to them (maybe from their own upbringing) because of the far reaching effect the parenting had. 

From the last stanza, I (re)learned something: that it's normal, from time to time, to be afraid. I know this, but reading it from a trusted source serves to reinforce it. That's something else you've passed on to me, the reader, in the same way your parents passed something on to you on in those moments.

I like how you included parts of the psalm in the body of the poem. Thank you for relaying this personal experience.

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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JoelJosol

Thanks for the power of description to allow us invisible observers in this vacation cabin. Is there a special reason why the lines are arranged the way they are, follows a certain genre in form?


"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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dcmarti1

Even if the bears were metaphorical, the family cohesion is clearly presented. For me, the short lines added to the tension.

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Tinker

Thanks Tony,  This was written in response to a prompt to write a poem that showed the poet’s experience with a particular piece of Scripture, the 23rd Psalm. And this was mine. They say write what you know and that is what I did. Nothing was fictional.  No we didn’t see any bears but we were in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where bears do live. And we were in a cabin in the woods where there were a few other cabins and a resort nearby but we weren’t in a city environment.  And my Dad did make production of going outside with the bat to protect us from the “bears” to help calm the hysteria.

 I think it all began with fireside story telling and a scary story started an avalanche of emotions especially in two kids who didn’t have parents present.  Homesickness got the better of them and they passed on their fears to the rest of us.  And the psalm I learned that night does pop into my mind when I am fearful for whatever reason.   It is comforting  I mentioned the poem to my brother day before yesterday and he laughed and remembered that night at Longbarn and said it was his friend Richie that first fixated on the “bears” and wouldn’t calm down until Dad said he wouldn’t let the bears get us.  Richie died of Alzheimer’s 2 years ago.  The incident happened almost 70 years ago.

~~Tink

 

 


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Tinker

Hi Joel,  Thanks for commenting.  There was no particular verse form used. It is free Verse but the indented line just felt like extensions of the lines before and didn’t look right to me left aligned.  It just happened.

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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