Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Just Spray Your Bears Away!

Hold your breath and shake!

It was a hot summer afternoon.
And my Husby kept a small can of bear/pepper spray in his night table.
These two statements are connected.
Maybe I should explain . . .
In Edmonton, Alberta, we have beautiful summers.
We wait all year for them.
And they are worth it.
For about three weeks of said summers, the thermometer actually reaches 'uncomfortable'.
Edmontonians head for the pools or hide in their cool, dim basements.
The latter is where our family was.
Happily watching a movie. Minding our own business.
Okay, most of us.
Our middle son, sixteen-year-old Duff, was upstairs.
Raiding the kitchen.
Our second son, Erik was also upstairs.
In the front room.
Working on a model.
Duff finished eating and started wandering around. We heard his footsteps go into our bedroom.
Then we heard the front door close as he headed outside.
Shortly afterwards, Erik, still hard at work on his model, started sneezing.
Finally, he came downstairs. “I' don't know what kind of aftershave Duffy uses,” he gasped, “but I think I'm allergic!”
And then our youngest son started to sneeze.
I turned and stared at him.
Suddenly, my Husby gasped, “My bear spray!” He looked at the rest of us. “Everybody out!” he bellowed.
Yes. Bellowed.
We held our breath and charged in a disorganized scramble for the stairs.
Once outside, we huddled in a group on the lawn and stared at the house.
“So what do we do now? I asked.
Husby shrugged. “Open all of the doors and windows and let the place air out.”
“How long will that take?”
He shrugged again. Then bravely went back inside to open what doors and windows he could.
“There – achoo! – I think – achoo! - that's got them – achoo! - for now,” he said, rejoining us.
We looked at each other.
“Who wants to go up to the store for a doughnut?” Husby asked.
A chorus of positive responses.
Ten minutes later, we were wandering around in the grocery, munching fresh doughnuts.
I will state here that nothing can make bad experiences go away faster than fresh doughnuts.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Moving on . . .
After about an hour, Husby suggested that we head home.
“Is it safe?” I asked.
“We'll see.”
Once more, we were huddled on our front lawn.
Once more, he bravely approached the front door.
He moved inside.
More nothing.
“I think it's all right,” he said.
The rest of us cautiously joined him.
I could still smell pepper.
But it was no longer overpowering.
A thorough vacuuming and dusting soon eliminated it completely.
Later that evening, Duff told us what had happened. “I was looking through Dad's night table for some tweezers,” he said. “And I saw the can of bear spray. I picked it up and, out of curiosity, pressed the button.”
He grinned. “That's all I remember. I was blind, deaf and dumb for about five minutes. All I could think of was getting outside as quickly as possible.”
“You could have hollered or something!” Husby said.
“I couldn't do anything!” Duff said.
Please note: Bear/pepper spray is effective.
Really, really effective.

There is a codicil.
Several years later, we installed hardwood in the entire upper floor of our house.
As Husby was removing the carpet in our bedroom, I could suddenly smell of pepper.
“I smell pepper!” I observed brilliantly.
Husby stopped and sniffed. “I do, too,” he said. He looked at me. “Huh. Must still be left from Duff's pepper attack.”
“But that was six years ago.”
He shrugged. “Pepper obviously lasts.”
The final lesson here?
Bear/pepper spray is effective and lasts a long time.
One application and bears and/or family members will stay away for years!
Now you know.


  1. I'm thinking of all kinds of uses for bear pepper spray...I wonder where I could get me some.

    1. I could show you where we put the carpet . . .

  2. Too bad you can't get selective pepper spray to keep certain relatives away. And another one to keep neighborhood pets off our lawn. Of course the latter is handled quite well with the pocket rocket.

    1. Pocket rockets are much, much more fun. And there's no danger of it backfiring. Well, at least when most people fire them . . .
      Now, as to relatives . . . hmm . . . I think it could be equally effective. I think we're onto something!!

  3. Replies
    1. Why thank you . . . erm . . . anonymous person . . . :)

  4. Diane, I don't know what's scarier, the fact that Duff sprayed the bear spray or that you actually own a can! hee hee! Oh my goodness, I'm shivering with fright at the thought! They may look cuddly as teddy bears but I'm sure an encounter with a bear is anything but! :)


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