H. Neal Glanville: Now, I’ve seen everything
November 3, 2008
Ever see or experience something that convinced you that you had just seen everything possible?
A year or so ago, I was part of a construction crew remodeling Storm Mountain Condos in Steamboat Springs. Now, let’s agree that a day, any day, in Steamboat will about fill your “now I’ve seen everything” score card.
During that summer, Storm Mountain was having a “residents need to be aware” bear problem. If, four days out of five, watching three to seven bears cruise parking lot trash bins or admire their reflection in patio doors was a problem, then yes, residents needed to “be aware.”
One morning, a “regular Dumpster-diver” showed up with her two cubs for breakfast – much to the delight of crew members who owned cell phones (I’ve been warned not to call them devious devices anymore) that would take pictures.
I sat on a sawhorse watching three men follow this trio around the building clicking photos as they went. It took less than 90 seconds before a bear cub started balling and three grown men burst around the corner ashen-faced and breathless. As I watched the color return to the cheeks of these “photo-op-struck” men, I thought about my “list of everythings” and put these guys one full notch above my previous No. 1.
But I was soon to have a brand-new, A-plus, never-to-be-topped No. 1.
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At noon a few days later, the majority of the crew went into town for lunch, leaving myself and “Bulldog” Bloomquist to hold the fort. I was on a third-floor deck when Bulldog whisper-yelled, “We’ve got a problem.”
I looked down, and Bulldog was staring into the building.
“What?” I asked impatiently.
“A bear cub just walked into the building.”
“Where’s the mom?” I yelled.
He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Don’t know, haven’t seen her since breakfast.”
I thought for a minute about anyone else in the condos, and asked Bulldog to watch for the mom and keep the main entry clear.
My plan was to – well, there really wasn’t a plan. I was just going to go through the building floor-by-floor, making noise as I went, hopefully pushing the bear cub back out the front door before his mom came looking for her lost charge.
I walked each hallway, talking out loud and banging on doors, relieved when I didn’t see any bears, but a little more fearful each time I’d start down the next hallway. I kept thinking of a scared bear cub and his mom playing soccer with my skinny lifeless body.
Finally, I was on the first floor, walking outside, feeling pretty good not to have been a black bear’s chew toy.
There stood Bulldog, still in one piece, watching me walk out of the building.
“Where’d they go?” I asked.
“Nothin’ came out,” he said.
I recounted my journey up and down three stairwells and the four hallways.
“Nothin’ came out!” he said again, but more forcefully.
In the back of my head, I could see my bravado going down the tube of life’s toilet.
“Well,” my mouth said, “I’ll go to the far end of the building and start on the first floor working my way up. Maybe I missed something.”
“Are you stupid?” my brain was screaming. “Tell your mouth to shut up, you checked every inch of that building!”
I pushed my glasses a little further up my nose, hiked my jeans up, and started back into the building.
“Go ahead, you moron” my brain whispered, “walk through that door, and if you do, I’ll be right here waiting. I’m not going.”
“Hey,” Bulldog yelled, “look.”
There he was, Mr. Bear Cub, walking out of the building, without so much as a, “See you soon.”
“Where was he?” I laughed.
“He just walked out,” Bulldog said.
“I saw that part!” my returning bravado snapped.
A familiar noise interrupted my outburst.
I looked into the building and watched the elevator door closing.
Now, I’m not saying he was in the elevator, and I’m not going to say he wasn’t. But I spent what seemed like a lifetime walking through that building, and the only place I didn’t look was in the elevator.
Yup, that afternoon I had a brand-new, A-plus, No. 1 “now I’ve seen everything” on my list. That is, until we saw that sheepherder talking on a cell phone.
Until next time :
Here I am, grieving the death of Chris Wilson, a precious young man, whose moment here touched more lives than anyone will know.
He walked with God here, and he is walking with him now.
We must not forget his life.
Thank you for your time.