So my granddaughter Lollipop got assigned to write about her summer vacation.
If I would have known this ahead of time, I would have palmed her a twenty and told her to say she went to the beach.
But that isn’t what happened over summer vacation. What happened was the Gunches, as a family – 17 of us, plus my gentleman friend Lust – decided to rent one of them cabins up in the mountains, do some outdoor stuff, hiking and all, take in Dollywood.
I don’t know what got into us. Gunches don’t “hike.” We walk. On sidewalks. We stop for bars, not bears. Which, it turns out, live in the mountains.
Who knew? I only seen bears in Hanna-Barbera cartoons or at Audubon Zoo.
But this cabin we rented actually has padlocks on the garbage cans. There is a cute little sign that says this is to “discourage persistent bears.” PERSISTENT bears? If I met a persistent bear, I would hand him the garbage in a gift bag.
Anyway, the first day, we take a ride up to a scenic path to “hike” on until we leading to a gorgeous waterfall. Three carloads of us going in the wrong direction because somebody, I ain’t saying it was my sister-in-law Gloriosa, misread the map. Anyway, an hour into this drive, nature calls a few of us, including me, and we text each other that we are pulling into the next gas station. And we do.
This gas station turns out to have been built in the 1940s.
Lust is frowning at the gas pump – no slot for a credit card on it – and I step inside and ask for the restroom. They don’t got one. By this time everybody else has driven up and I inform them there ain’t no restroom.
We got to use the woods. Luckily, my mother-in-law Ms. Larda had thought of getting some special biodegradable toilet paper for hikers before she also thought of staying in the cabin with a romance novel instead of hiking. So she gave it to us in case we needed it. I head into the woods, the first one to try it.
I go in a few trees deep and get behind a big tree. I notice the ground slants downward – I guess I am on a hill – but I got no time to worry about that, so I drop my fancy new hiking shorts and do my business. When I’m done, and am using the biodegradable toilet paper, I hear a rustling nearby. One of the grandkids, I think. I snarl “You take any pictures, I will break that phone!” And then I realize what I am threatening is a bear.
I shriek and lose my balance and tumble over backwards with my knees caught in my shorts and roll down the hill. At the top of the hill I hear, “Ma, you okay?” “Modine?” And I yell, “Don’t come! Do NOT come!”
Of course they do come, stomping through the woods and down the hill in time to see me wrestling with my shorts and not in time to see the bear, who probably scuttled off giggle-snorting to wait for the next lady tourist who had to pee.
Lollipop’s version went like this:
“On my vacation I helped save my grandmother. She was relieving herself in the woods with her pants down.
“She screamed and we all rushed to save her but then she said she saw a bear and everybody turned around and saved themselves.
“Then we drove to a McDonald’s and used their bathroom. My mother bought a McFlurry for my grandmother. Her friend Mr. Lust had some vodka under his car seat, and he poured some in her McFlurry. Then all the grownups bought McFlurrys and put in vodka.
“Then we went on a hike and afterward everybody had to relieve themselves again so we went back to McDonald’s and did, and got more McFlurrys.
“Then we went back to our cabin and the grown-ups took naps and the kids played ‘Going on a Bear Hunt with Grandma Larda.’
She got a A. The little snitch.