By: Tony Wendt
The Year 1999
Rufus the Bear was born nineteen years ago to the parents of Grufus, his father and his mother Rufeina. Grufus, Rufeina and Rufus lived in a forest high in the mountains of Colorado with many other bears. Rufus’ life was pretty typical until he was twelve years old.
Normally bears eat a lot of fish, nuts and berries and are always looking for food. One day Rufus and his parents came upon a campsite that had been left a few hours earlier by a family on a camping trip. They had left behind three slightly stale pancakes from breakfast. Rufus spotted these round flat objects and picked one up. He began examining it and smelling it. He had never seen a pancake before. After checking it out carefully he decided it would be OK to taste it.
With the first bite he was hooked. You might say it was “Love at first Bite”. Never in twelve years had he ever tasted anything so good. He quickly ate all three of them. This was a good and bad thing. The good thing was that they tasted so good. The bad thing was that they tasted so good that Rufus lost all desire for fish, nuts and berries. All he wanted now was Pancakes. From that moment on Rufus searched every campsite in the forest hoping to find those wonderful round circles of delight. But it was not very often he would find them. He stopped eating fish, nuts and berries to save room for Pancakes. Rufus began to lose a lot of weight, which gave Rufeina and Grufus cause for concern about their son’s new eating habits.
Rufus would wander further and further each day from the rest of the bears in search of Pancakes. One day he went a little too far and couldn’t find his way home. Now he was all alone and on his own. Rufus was sad, lonely and very hungry. He left the forest high in the mountains and made his way down the mountain to a small town called Woodland Park. There were a few restaurants in town that served Pancakes. Rufus would get up very early every morning and go through the trash dumpsters of the Restaurants and find the pancakes that had not been eaten from the day before.
Rufus was happy to eat Pancakes everyday, but he missed his mother and father and the other bears in the high forest. Even though he was lonely he avoided contact with people, especially after the morning he was surprised by two men who came to collect the trash from the dumpster Rufus was digging in. When they looked in the dumpster and saw Rufus they screamed in terror and ran off. When Rufus heard the scream he poked his head out of the dumpster and saw the two men running. He got scared and climbed out of the dumpster as fast as he could and ran the other way.
No wonder there were only scraps left, these pancakes were so good everyone would eat them all. Now how was Rufus going to get enough of these wonderful pancakes when no one would throw them away? Rufus thought for a moment, and then he remembered the big sign in front of the restaurant with the picture of the bear and the pancakes. It must be OK he thought for bears to go inside and eat. So he went to the front door, opened it and stood in the doorway and looked inside. Luckily the restaurant had already closed for the day and no customers were inside. The only people inside were Rickard and Tony the owners who had just finished cleaning up. “Oh great”! Rickard said, “A bear”. “I’ll call animal control to come and take him away”. Seeing how cute and sad Rufus looked, Tony said, “wait, let’s invite him in”. “Are you crazy”! Rickard said, “He’s a bear”.” Oh he looks so skinny, Tony said,” I’ll bet he’s hungry”. “Cook him some of your great Buttermilk Pancakes”. Being a little grumpy and tired after a long hard day Rickard said, “Give me a break I already turned off the grill.
Give him a piece of bread if you want to feed him, and let’s go home”. “Please”.
The next morning before the restaurant opened Rickard and Tony fixed Rufus a farewell breakfast, you guessed it, a big stack of Buttermilk Pancakes. After Rufus finished eating, Tony called the animal control people to come and get Rufus and take him back to the forest. But the strangest thing happened when they arrived. What they found was not a real bear but a big stuffed bear sitting in the big wicker chair. “OK Tony where’s the bear you wanted us to pick up”? “I don’t know” Tony said, “He was sitting in that wicker chair where that stuffed bear is”. People looked everywhere but they couldn’t find Rufus anywhere. “Sorry to trouble you for nothing”, Tony said.
“Rufus ran away and didn’t even say goodbye”. “I hope he’ll be all right”. “Yeah, me too” Rickard said. “You know Tony it is strange how much this stuffed bear looks so much like Rufus”. “I know” said Tony,” but you know what’s even stranger”? “Where did this stuffed bear come from”?
That was the real mystery.
I think that bear needs to go on a diet, don’t you?
111 E. Midland Avenue
Woodland Park, CO 80863
P.O. Box 763
Woodland Park, CO 80863
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