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Little Suzi And The Bears Picnic
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"Bears only want one thing: Food!"
A True Story By 'Pop' Johnson
Once upon a time, long long ago, way back in the 1960's, a little girl named Suzi, her mummy Wilma, and her grandparents went on a picnic in a country park in the mountains of Tennessee.
It was summer and very hot in the city where Suzi's grandparents, whom she called Nana and Grandpa, lived in a small house just outside of the town.
First, Nana fixed her special fried chicken, then Grandpa packed the car with the basket, a picnic blanket and fold-up chairs made of wood.
He put all these things in the boot so that Suzi, her mummy, and Nana had lots of room to sit inside.
They needed lots of room because Suzi always brought her 'friends' with her on picnics.
Her friends were a baby doll with yellow hair, a monkey made of socks and a boy she called 'Albert' whom no one else could see but who took up the whole middle of the rear seat of the car.
Nana had packed the big picnic basket, not the little one she packed for Saturday afternoons at the city park.
The big basket had plates and cups, forks and spoons, and the best fried chicken in the whole world, Nana's chicken.
Nana made special fried chicken just for picnics.
She cooked it in an iron skillet so big that little Suzi could not even lift it.
Nana also made baked beans, devilled eggs, and scones.
Suzi liked all the picnic foods, but she could not understand what the devil had to do with making the eggs, and she was afraid to ask!
Little Suzi loved the high mountains with lots and lots of big trees, cool grass under them to sit on, and a cold mountain stream that ran over smooth rocks all the way down to the farms and towns below.
Grandpa drove a long way on winding roads until he found just the right spot.
He pulled the car onto a gravel road and then onto the grass just under a giant mountain laurel tree.
He opened the boot of the car, took out the big picnic basket and put it on a nearby picnic table, while Suzi and her mummy spread out a quilted blanket on the cool grass beside it.
Then Suzi and her family walked to the stream, took off their shoes, and waded back and forth in the water.
This part of the picnic was Suzi's favorite, because the river rocks were smooth and cool on her feet and made her feel happy in the hot sun.
This day, just when Suzi and her mummy and grandparents got out of the stream and put on their shoes again, they heard a man shout out loud: "Bear!"
Little Suzi didn't understand, but her Grandpa understood right away and ran up the bank of the stream to get a look.
He looked funny and a little scared when he turned around and told Suzi, her mummy, and Nana to hurry back to the car and get inside.
"But why are we leaving?" asked Suzi. "We haven't had any chicken yet."
"I know," Grandpa answered, "but we need to get back in the car right now!"
As he said this, Grandpa grabbed Suzi by the hand and started taking long, quick steps away from the bear and toward the car.
"Wait for Albert," Suzi said, but Grandpa didn't seem to hear.
When they all got back to the car, Grandpa threw open the doors and pushed everyone inside.
Then he jumped in the front seat and tried to start the car, but the keys were not in the ignition.
The keys were not in his pockets!
He didn't know where they were until he looked back at the picnic table and saw them lying there next to the picnic basket.
Grandpa was looking at the keys when he saw the bear again.
It came from behind one of the big trees and it headed straight for their picnic table.
Suddenly he heard a woman yell; then he realised it wasn't just a woman, it was Suzi's mummy who was screaming:
Everyone else sat quite still in the car for a moment.
Then their eyes got big as they realised that Wilma was already back outside the car and running toward the picnic table!
That's when Nana sprung into action.
Little Suzi had never seen her Nana actually 'run' before.
Sometimes they played together in the front yard where they lived in town and Nana would trot a little to catch a ball before it rolled out of the yard and into the street.
Sometimes Nana magically appeared all the way from the kitchen and around to the back of the house to catch Suzi just before she peddled off down the road on her tricycle.
No, Nana was far too old and proper for that.
But this time there was no question about it, Nana was running, with her skirts flying around her knees and her sandals flip-flopping against her heels!
Wilma was already moving fast toward the picnic table, but Nana passed her like a fire engine speeding through traffic.
Suzi watched in amazement as Nana raced both Wilma and the bear to the picnic table, where she scooped up the picnic basket, grabbed the car keys, then turned and pulled Wilma by the arm back into the car.
As Grandpa came to his senses and started up the car, that big old bear just stood there on the opposite side of the picnic table looking disappointed as Little Suzi and her family, including Albert, sped away back home.
How can a little girl have a picnic in the woods if a bear shows up and steals the fried chicken?!
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