Bearing Pizza

The day melted away, and evening gloom had swallowed all shadows. I sat in our breakfast nook finishing off a late-evening plate of stroganoff when a dark shape a few feet away stole my attention. I dropped my fork when I realized it was a black bear just outside our window.

A little scraggly, this one. A yearling on the prowl for bird seed in a neighbor’s feeder or hot dog ends from a Memorial Day barbecue, most likely.

The bear barely paused as it passed by the porch, then it ambled out the driveway to the street. Good. It’s always a relief when a local bruin decides not to visit.

Minutes later a 20-something pizza delivery guy exited his pickup in our driveway and tried to hand me a steaming-hot pizza—which I declined.

“Not ours,” I said. “Wrong house…”

“Isn’t this…?”

“Nope.” I pointed up the street the same direction the bear had traveled. The heavy aroma of sausage and salami engulfed the two of us—and I couldn’t help myself…

“A bear was standing right where you are, a few minutes ago,” I said grinning.

Color drained from the pizza man’s doughy face. “Man, that’s ALL I need!” he said. He glanced around warily.

Was he worried about being eaten by the bear — or about losing his job if the bear ate his undelivered pizza? I didn’t have time to ask. Pizza Man and his little pickup made tracks to a house down the road.

I love Alaska—where bears stroll past my window, and leave evening chuckles as their calling cards.

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