Mother Bear versus a Whatsit

Shortly before the molestation

During the mid 80’s my Mom and I found ourselves touring the Barcelona Zoo on a warm sunny day. We stopped to look at some hoofed mammals, trying to figure out if they were antelope or deer. There was only a low bar separating us and I stepped forward for a closer look. The decision was still pending when one of said mammals grabbed the hem of my skirt and started pulling, tugging and walking backward. My skirt had an elastic waist and was pretty short. My thoughts were still trying to switch gears from “Hmmm….Maybe it’s a goat since it’s trying to eat my clothes” to “Uh Oh, I hope I didn’t wear the undies with holes…” as my mom took decisive action. Acting either on her farm-girl instincts or mother-bear instincts, she smacked the poor beast squarely on the nose.

Taken aback and apparently unaccustomed to being womped-on by zoo visitors, the antelope-deer-goat-animal released my skirt. It was wet and slightly torn, but, as it had not been pulled much below my knees, my dignity was intact. Not sure whether Spanish law looked kindly on captive animal assault even in defense of a child (albeit grown), I hurried Mom on to the next exhibit where we were both careful to keep a safe distance from any and all would-be mammalian tug-a-war partners.

© Laura Hedgecock 2011


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