The Motivational Bear
The freezer was full of rotting, spoiled meat in the middle of bear country. Knowing it was a dangerous scenario, I cried out to God for help...and God helped me do the impossible.
- What Stinks?
- Will You Help Me Please?
- Bear Country
- Oh Dear, What To Do Now
- Like An Egyptian
- Ready, Set....
- ... SLIDE!
Several years ago I purchased one of those big chest freezers. It was 6 feet long and probably 3.5 feet high and 3 feet wide. Not huge, but still a good sized freezer. It was too big to go inside my house so it sat out on the small porch at my farthest back door. I was the only one that ever used that door, and only on rare occasions. The porch off that door made it the perfect place to put the freezer - until it died.
I have a little storage building behind my house where I store fall canning stuff and all my yard tools. When I need to put something in, or take something out is really the only time I ever use that door. I don’t go out there very often but thank Heavens in the fall of the year I use it almost every weekend. On one such trip I noticed there were a couple flies on the freezer and thought, “Hum, that’s odd”, but didn’t stop to open it. That was God telling me, stop and open this thing! But being in a hurry I didn’t, until the next time I went out the door to get something out of the shed. This time there were a few more flies. I’ll tell you right now, I’ve had two freezers quit on me in my lifetime and it is NOT PLEASANT! Because my family raises beef the freezer was 3/4 full of meat. Delicious, home grown, all natural beef rots just like any other meat when not frozen!
Will You Help Me Please?
Now picture this, I have a very large freezer full of rotting meat sitting at my back door, and I live in bear country. Quick rundown here - single woman, home alone, with bear bait on her back porch, right outside her little back door. Not a solid, wood door mind you, but a little, thin, aluminum and Styrofoam door like on a camper! This quickly became a very scary situation for me! Luckily, I have a nephew that is 6’7”, weights 250 plus, and a brother-in-law that is as strong an ox. I knew there was no way for me to move this dead, monster freezer alone so I called my beloved family. “Can you please help me?” “No, we’re too busy”. Right! They just didn’t want to have anything to do with NASTY, ROTTING, MEAT! They suggested I call a trash company and have them simply haul it away. Great, good idea, but the freezer has to be empty for them to come pick it up. There is NO WAY I am cleaning out that disgusting, putrid, rotting mess by hand! And NO ONE will do it. No amount of money created ANY interest from ANYONE! So the thing sat there. Rotting. Getting worse. And it was fall. For those of you that don’t live in bear country, bears eat a lot in the fall. They are constantly searching for food to store up fat for their winter hibernation. And they LOVE rotten meat. The bigger they are the more they eat. Thankfully my “motivational bear” that came to visit was a small, young bear. I call him that because he Motivated me to pray and then to act!
The freezer had been marinating for at least a couple of weeks after I had found it when, in the middle of the night, I heard a very loud, very ominous “thump”. Thankfully the dogs went nuts as I exploded out of bed grabbing my shotgun on the way! The bear was on the porch sniffing the lid, which I had taped and tied shut just in case, preparing for just this type of encounter. He sniffed and clawed around on it quite a bit, but couldn’t figure out how to get into the thing. With all the commotion going on in the house he decided this was not going to be an easy meal and left. Thank you God!
Oh Dear, What To Do Now
The encounter convinced me this situation could not continue and right then I started forming a mental plan of how to deal with my dead freezer. When morning finally came I was on the phone trying to get someone, anyone, to help me get rid of the freezer. As the day wore on and evening drew near I finally decided no white knight was coming to my rescue. Darkness was coming, and, oh yes, there was a bear in the area. Consequently, I was in a bit of a hurry to get the thing away from my house before little, “Motivation”, decided to come back! I started to pray harder than I had ever prayed! Those, pray without ceasing kind of prayers. The prayers went something like this – “God I don’t know what kind of lessons you have for me to learn here, but I promise I will learn them if you will just help me get this freezer off my porch.” “You have to show me how to do this.” “You have to help me because there is no way on earth I can do this by myself!” “You have to help me move this thing because I’m sure it weights over half a ton!” “Please God please!”
Like An Egyptian
Mid prayer it suddenly came to my mind that the Egyptians had moved large, cut stones for miles simply by putting round poles under the stones. They moved the stones by pushing them across the poles and replacing the pole that came out the back of the stone, up to the front again. They continued in this manner until they got the stone moved wherever they wanted it. Thinking this through I decided I could move the freezer by myself the exact same way! I don’t recommend you try this on your own, but with God’s help, I did it.
Fortunately, I had a small, ancient dolly with completely flat tires. I slid the flat lifter lip under one corner of the freezer and pried it up just enough to get a small, fairly round stick picked up from under one of the cotton wood trees around my house, under it. After that one, I kept rocking the thing back and forth until I had several similar sticks under it. As I look back the sensible thing would have been to run to the local hardware store and purchased several smooth, round, symmetrical dowels, but at the time it was getting toward evening and I was mad and not thinking too clearly! With my sticks, I was able to move the thing across the porch, and toward the top of the stairs. But before I could even start it toward the stairs I had to get the truck where I could actually load the thing. It was now almost dark and there were numerous obstacles to maneuver around to even get close to the back porch. Very slowly I maneuvered the pickup between the fence and my other, big, main, back porch, then the porch and the first cottonwood tree, around the back side of the porch and the firewood stack, and finally between the house and yet another cottonwood. I was not able to actually reach the stairs because of the cottonwood but was able to get close enough for one corner of the tailgate to finally be positioned over the bottom couple of steps. Even though I had the pickup close, I still had to figure out a way to get the freezer up and over a small 1”x2” lip at the top of the stairs, off the porch and across approximately four and a half feet of lovely, open air space between the top of the stairs and the tailgate. Time for more prayer! After a bit I remembered the floor of my daughter’s old steer clipping chute from when she showed cattle in 4-H and FFA. It was across two fields, down in the barn. It was a heavy framed thing with three 2 x 12’s about 5 feet long. I thought it was just about the same length as the distance I had to cover. But after I had worked so hard to get my pickup close to the stairs there was no way I was moving it. Instead, I jumped in my little car and drove to the barn to retrieve the clipping chute floor. Remember I said “little car”. It is a SMALL economy car. Not over 8 feet long total and the trunk is tiny. But that was going to haul my bridge like it or not! I cleaned off most of the manure, yes, manure, and loaded the heavy thing in the trunk of my car, tied it in as best I could and slowly drove back to the house. Having to go the round-a-bout way I did it is about a mile and a half. Not a great distance but it did entail driving about 300 yards on a state highway. Thankfully people had no idea what the thing tied in the back of my car was, and simply drove right past me. I finally got back to the house but now it was dark. I dragged the wooden floor contraption back to the steps. It barely reached. It sat precariously kitty-corner with the bottom left corner on the tailgate and the top right corner on all the way on the top step. Sort of tilted and at a pretty good angle, certainly not sturdy or even close to level, but it was there!
With the make-shift bridge in place, now I had to figure out how to get the freezer actually up and over the strange little two inches lip at the top of the stairs and onto the board bridge so it could begin its decent into the bed of the pickup. All the time I’m praying like crazy because if this thing falls off the boards I’m in for a huge, sticky, disgusting disaster! Eventually, I was able to use the dolly to lift the end of the freezer high enough to slide as many of my gathered semi-round sticks under the end as I could. I was getting pretty tired at this point, but was determined to get this thing off my back porch no matter what! But just in case the thing started to tip I decided I needed to have some sort of safety net. Being a good improviser I roped the thing! Cowboy style! I had three, what cowboys call “play ropes”, on the front porch. The play ropes are thinner and considerably shorter than a normal lariat rope, but looped together they worked perfect. I should have picked a bigger rope up at the barn, but I was too focused on the clipping-chute floor to think of that! Instead, I applied the play ropes. The first one wrapped around center of the freezer to hold it shut if it tipped or Heaven forbid, fell off. I tied the second one to the top rail around the porch, and one to the door knob! I know, the door knob?? Seems silly now, but at the time it made perfect sense! Besides, it worked!
To bring your mental picture current - the steer clipping chute floor-boards sat with a corner on the top step and run kitty-corner to the tailgate. There was a total of about 8 inches that were actually touching on either end. Praying mightily, God and I finally got the freezer up on the boards but it wasn’t actually sliding yet. But remember, the boards were not level, and they certainly don’t fit squarely from the top of the stairs to the tailgate. Add to that the boards were only about 3/4th as wide as the freezer and the thing is sticking over on either side of my make-shift bridge. The slightest tip either way and the thing would slide right off! More prayers! My plan was to get the thing up there, take a few minutes to make sure it was exactly square, and then slowly walk it down the make-shift bridge into the back of the pickup. So the freezer is on the boards, and suddenly, unexpectedly it started sliding down the stairs! I had no way to guide it let alone stop it! All I could do was pray, “Please God keep your hand on this thing”! “Please God help it stay on the boards because it is GOOOOING!” After what seems like hours, but was only seconds, the rapidly descending freezer came to the bottom of the make-shift bridge and suddenly hit the tailgate, and I do mean HIT the tailgate! A corner of the freezer is now wedged against the tailgate with all the weight behind it, teetering on the too small board bridge, and I have no idea how to get it picked up so it can slide the rest of the way into the pickup. To this day I have no idea how I picked that corner up, but God and I did it. I simply picked up the corner and lifted. Immediately, the freezer slid several inches so I could step around behind and help it slide the rest of the way into the pickup. Simple! God and I did it! I worked my way back out off behind the house and drove the truck about 100 feet up the driveway. I didn’t care if my friendly Motivation bear came there. He didn’t though, and the local dump became the proud new owner of my dead freezer first thing the next morning! I never cease to be amazed what we can do when we have God on our side.