Dream of: 03 April 1995 "Bear Hug"

I was a passenger in a car with some other members of my family, including my grandmother Mabel, who seemed so old she could hardly move. As we passed through a small town, I realized everything seemed as if it were about 100 years old. It dawned on me that a movie was being made, and everything around us had been set up for the movie. Even the people walking on the sidewalks were dressed in clothes from another age. The cars (all in excellent shape) looked as if they were from the 1950s. Even though the movie-set was small, everything looked so real. Since I had never seen anything quite like it, I tried to absorb as much as I could. I even noticed a street fair on my right with an old Ferris wheel. However, from where I was sitting, I couldn't see the top of the wheel. I thought it must be a replica of one of the first, if not the first, Ferris wheels ever made.

We quickly passed through the small town, coming out on a country scene. As we passed over a bridge, I noticed two brown bears, probably grizzlies, in the creek below. A large bear was leading a smaller one behind it. I pointed the bears out to the others, but I couldn't quite comprehend what was happening. Seeing bears like this wasn't normal. Since I thought all the wild grizzly bears had been killed, these must also be part of the movie. It seemed strange they would be allowed to run wild like this.

I knew the world had changed so much in the last 100 years that many forms of wildlife had been eliminated, and what forms were left weren't allowed to run free. I lamented this loss, for it was the wild animals that made life enjoyable. Without the animals, I saw a desolate future. I envisioned the earth crowded and bleak, with wars being fought under dark skies. Men and computers vied for domination. Yet I felt if that was how it would be, then I would participate in the coming battles and accept the new order as just another of the many changes the earth had gone through. What was past was past.

Still, I thought a few bears were in the wild. I opened a book of maps which I had on my lap and looked at a map of a state which appeared to be New Mexico. There in the center was a circle showing a refuge for bears. I also saw several other smaller circles which were refuges for bears in the state. This was the last place in the United States for bears – or, more properly, for grizzly bears, because some black bears were to be found in various parts of the country. I would like to visit one of these refuges.

***

I was standing outside a large wooden building deep in the forest. The last grizzly bears had been rounded up and were being held in the building. Through some small windows I could see some of their plaintive faces.

Some vehicles began pulling up and 40-50 men dressed in hunting attire and carrying hunting rifles piled out; they had come to kill the bears. The hunters began lining up facing the building. I thought the scenario would be that the bears would be led out and the waiting hunters would then proceed to slaughter them.

I knew of a back entrance to the building. I quickly determined that I was going to take a chance and try to free the bears. As I proceeded toward the back entrance, an old memory returned to me. Once long ago I had befriended a grizzly bear, and we had learned to communicate with each other, somehow talking to each other. We had become close friends. I now had the feeling that this bear was one of those locked inside.

When I reached the back entrance, I hesitated before opening the door. After all, these were bears I was letting out. They might just decide to attack me. I went ahead and opened it. A half a dozen or more bears marched out, walking upright like people. They were very orderly and seemed to know exactly what was going on, that I was freeing them and that they must be quiet if they wanted to escape.

I looked for my old bear friend. I was sure he was here. I imagined what it would be like to hear his voice again in my mind. It would be a wonderful sensation. We would give each other a big hug when we met.

***

I was sitting in the upstairs of the Gallia County Farmhouse, when two men wearing long dark coats came up and picked up an old console record player/radio which I had up here. The record player didn't work, and the men had come to take it to be repaired. As one man picked it up, he banged it into one of the four large carved posts of my mahogany bed, but he didn't appear to have done much damage.

When the men had left, I knew they would soon return. I also knew when they returned they were going to try to sell me a television. I knew what their method would be. They would want to come upstairs where it was nice and quiet and get me by myself. They knew if they had me by myself they would have a better chance at selling the television. I had once been a salesman myself and I knew the methods. I would flatly tell them as soon as they came that we would conduct business downstairs.

The next day they returned and as they started up the stairs, I stopped them and told them we would talk downstairs. Mabel was here and she was actually the one who would be buying the television. I just wanted to be present to make sure they didn't take advantage of her.

The men first pulled out an old radio which they had taken with them to repair. It was about 30 centimeters tall and about 15 centimeters wide. They opened it up so we could see its insides. It had a tag which said it had been purchased in 1805 for $695. That seemed like a lot of money, but I thought it must have been one of the first radios ever made. That also seemed strange, because I didn't think radios had been made until the late 1800s. Another tag said the covering of the radio had been replaced in 1895. That somewhat helped my confusion, but I still couldn't quite reconcile the dates.

***

I was looking at a curious contraption which someone I knew was trying to sell me. It was supposed to be a computer, but it looked like an old record player. I had known and been friends with the fellow for quite a while. I knew he had kept the computer/record player in an office, but that he no longer went to the office and so he wanted to sell it. (Although I didn't realize it at the time, he seemed somewhat like Salvador Ibarra).

Along with the record player were some record albums which I could buy. They were three for $14. I saw one I liked, but none of the others interested me much, so I doubted I would buy them.

I examined the computer/record player more closely. Inside I found a dozen or more small batteries which were hooked up to the device. It seemed very odd that a computer would be running off batteries. I concluded that my friend had basically constructed the device himself and this was the best he could do. I was uncertain whether I would buy it.

***

I noticed my brother Chris, who had muscular dystrophy, was sitting on a platform. Sometimes the platform would rise and he would go to the next floor, but when he turned back around, he was still on the same floor where he had started. I thought I needed to help him off the platform.

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