This story happened forty-two years ago, when I was twenty-five years young. My two sisters and I were staying at our lovely summer home in California, because that's what we always did on the Fourth of July weekend. The year was 1963, the year that Kennedy was also shot in. (such a tragedy) My two sisters were seven and nine, and they were very curious about life and the things all around them. Rebecca (seven) was the most curious of the pair, and the surroundings at our summer home were full of wonder and things to explore.
The day this story takes place was on the Fourth of July, our nationn holiday, and my birthday. Of course this is when I turned five and twenty years, so everyone was preparing for our big celebration, complete with fireworks. We were going to have it on the beach; a good old American cookout with family. My other sister, Maxine (I called her 'Max' for short) was a tomboy. She would wear shorts and a dirty teeshirt while Becca and I were wearing pressed skirts and blouses. Now I know this sounds very old-fashioned, but that's how our family did it. I don't know how mom let Max get away with it! But Max was always the favorite, despite all her oddities.
Max and Becca wanted to get me a special gift, even though I told them their presence would be enough. Now I've already mentioned how curious little Becca was, and how Tomboyish Max was. These two traits together were a recipe for disaster, and this day was no different. If they couldn't buy a gift, they decided, they were going to find one instead! Max told me that she wanted to get me a chipmunk as a pet, but Becca wanted to pick me some flowers. So they decided they would get both, and bring me a 'fantastic' gift. Max went into the forest to look for a chipmunk, and Becca went behind the house to look for a boquet.
While this was going on, my mother, father, and myself were all sitting on the beach and relaxing. Mother had the radio turned on, and we were all dozing off. Suddenly, we heard a scream. My mother at once knew it to be Becca's, but we couldn't tell where it had come from. Then, we heard a scream from Maxine! We were worried, as you can imagine, and rushed to find them. I went with mother to loom around the house, while my father went to look in the woods. We searched for hours until I looked down into a large bush, and saw Becca! She had somehow managed to get caught in the bush on her dress, which was of course ruined. And she had a few dandelions in her hand, which she tearfully explained were for me. As I was helping her out the the bush, I heard my father say "GET THE GUN BETH!". I was shocked, to say the least! But I did as my father asked, for I knew he would have a very good reason to use that gun. He rarely touched it, because it had been his Grandfathers and he cherished it. So only a serious emergency would make him use it. He ran back into the woods with it, and a few moments later I heard many gunshots, and then a scream. He then came out of the woods with Max in his arms. She look terrified! My father had the gun tucked into is pocket.
He later explained that Max had been in the forest looking for my 'pet', and then a bear had suddenly appeared, and had chased her. Max scampered up a tree, while the bear ran behind her. It then waited under the tree for hours. She finally called for help once she calmed down. My father needed the gun to shoot the bear, you see. But it wasn't a very big gun, and took more than one shot to take the bear down. I realized that my two sisters cared for me more than they valued their safety. And that was the best gift I could have ever recieved.
This is a true story, and one that I will never forget. I hope you enjouy reading it as much as I enjoyed remembering it.