This morning started like every other morning: namely, in the afternoon because it was 12:30 when I got up.

That’s when I found THE NOTE.

This is what it read (and this is verbatim):
“Dear Veronica –
These muffins are for you.
Also, bear sighted near our intersection yesterday. Check for bear before letting the dog out.
Love, Mom”
Have you ever done a spit-take with a muffin? I have now. I will be finding bits of muffin in weird places for weeks to come.

Check for bear? That’s not like checking the weather or making sure you didn’t forget to put on pants before you left for the grocery store. I’m not a zoologist. I don’t know how you check for bear. Is there an app for that? I’m starting to think there should be.

Do you just go out and start reading Winnie the Pooh out loud and listen for clapping? And in that case, how do you know the clapping is coming from a bear and not just a roaming, free-range toddler?

I dug deep in my memory banks to see if I had any pertinent bear-detection skills lurking in the recesses of mind, but all I came back with was “Stop, look, and listen”. I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re supposed to do to avoid getting hit by a car. But it was all I had, so I decided to try it.

I looked out the window and used my keen observation skills to notice that I was not staring into the open jowls of an angry bear.

Then I realized I had failed to actually do the “Stop” part. So I ceased not stopping and began starting my stop. Overall, I found this step to be the most useless.

Then I opened the back door just a crack and listened carefully for the sound of yodeling.

You’re wondering where yodeling came into the mix, aren’t you? Well I’ll tell you how my mind got there. Then you’ll be sorry.

The closest I have ever come to a bear is watching the trailer for the Revenant and since the bear in that movie wasn’t union, he did not get any lines. So I have no idea what sound a bear actually makes. In all my years as a child, Old MacDonald always failed to have a bear on his farm to make whatever sound here and there and everywhere.

So then I thought that I could simply listen for noises that were out of the ordinary and that would alert me to the presence of a bear. And then I thought, “What sort of noise would be out of the ordinary to hear in my backyard?”

Yodeling, obviously. Never have I heard the slightest amount of yodeling in my yard. And so if I heard any now, it would be obvious that something was amiss.

But since there wasn’t any yodeling, I felt pretty sure that it was relatively safe to let my dog out. I just wasn’t about to make her go out all by herself.

And so I armed myself with the best bear-avoidance equipment I had on hand:

      • I put on my sneakers so I could outrun the bear
      • I got my cell phone so I could distract the bear by ordering a pizza
      • I had on my pajamas, which are tie-dye, a natural bear repellent
      • I found a weapon to protect us with. I was looking for a baseball bat, but all I could find was a yard stick. So I brought that.

I took my dog out on a leash and waited impatiently for her to do her business (Import/Export Management). Of course she took her time, as though she did not understand the reason I was clinging so desperately to that yard stick was because it was possibly the only thing standing between us and seeing the inside of a bear’s intestine.

I could already see the headlines:

“Crazed woman runs at bear with yard stick, screaming ‘YOU CANNOT EAT MY PUPPY! SHE’S THE QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE!!!’ before being eaten. In lieu of flowers, please send doggie toys.”

Spoiler alert: we did not get eaten by a bear.

However my dog will still need to go out a few more times today.

Does anybody have a thick, hard-back copy of “Paddington” I could borrow and possibly get bear blood on?