Saturday, 15 December 2018

C Columns

Was a Bear Fight Part of God's Plan?

By  Jewelea  Clarke

Would  you  fight  a  big  black  bear  to  save  your  best  friend’s  life?  Romans  12:10  says,  “Be  devoted  to  one  another  in  brotherly  love,”  but  does  that  mean  even  risking  your  life?

Don  Bollinger  lived  with  his  grandparents  in  Clatsop  Plains,  western  Oregon,  in  1945.  These  wetlands  and  sand  dunes  areas  lie  between  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia  River  and  Seaside,  Oregon,  providing  proliferate  cranberry  bogs.  Leaving  the  beach  area  led  into  a  very  dense  forest  in  1945.

Don  and  his  best  friend,  Johnny  Adair,  had  recently  graduated  from  high  school  in  Seaside.  Don  had  received  his  draft  notice  to  join  the  military.  World  War  II  was  in  progress.  Don  was  a  tall,  strong  young  man  over  6  feet  tall.

Johnny’s  dad,  John,  owned  a  ranch  where  they  raised  cattle.  The  calves  were  being  killed  by  a  large  black  bear.  On  a  Saturday,  Johnny,  his  dad,  sister  Florence,  friend  William  Yuilt,  and    Don  formed  a  hunting  party.

They  set  a  trap  for  the  bear  using  the  carcass  of  a  calf  the  bear  had  mutilated.  Noise  from  the  bear  led the  party  to  locate  him.  They  shot.  Some  of  their  shots  wounded  the  bear  and  he  escaped,  running  deeper  into  the  woods.  Johnny,  Florence,  and  Don  ran  ahead  of  the  others  after  this  provoked  animal.

The  path  had  a  “Y”  around  the  cranberry  bog.  Don  went  left  and  Johnny  and  Florence  ran  to  the  right.

Surprising  Johnny  and  Florence,  the  bear  came  out  of  the  heavy  brush,  ambushing  Johnny.  He  dropped  his  gun  when  the  bear  attacked.  Florence  screamed,  “Johnny,  Johnny!”  What  could  she  do?  She  was  so  scared!  Would  Johnny  die?

This  big  black  bear  bit  Johnny  in  the  head,  puncturing  his  skull,  and  blood  began  to  pour  out.  The  bear’s  mouth  went  from  the  top  of  Johnny’s  head  to  the  bottom  of  his  right  collar  bone.  Florence  continued  to  scream,  “Johnny!  Johnny!  Dad!”

The  bear  was  on  top  of  Johnny  when  he  bit  him,  breaking  two  bones  in  his  left  arm.  Both  thighs  were  punctured  as  the  bear  mauled  and  scratched  Johnny  many  more  times.

Don  rushed  to  the  scene  and  without  apprehension  shot  the  bear  one  time  with  his  single  shot  .30-30,which  did  not  deter  the  bear.  For  fear  of  hitting  Johnny  with  another  shot,  Don  hit  the  bear  with  the  butt of  his  gun  three  times,  breaking  the  gun  and  making  the  bear  even  angrier.  He  kicked  the  bear  in  the  stomach,  again  to  no  avail.  Don  put  his  hand  out  as  the  bear  approached  him  and  left  Johnny.  The  bear  bit  Don’s  hand.

The  remaining  hunting  party  heard  Florence’s  screams  and  the  commotion.  They  bolted  to  find  the  unbelievable  crisis.  Their  arrival  did  not  deter  the  bear.  The  bear  was  not  afraid  of  them.  He  was  fighting  for  his  life  too.  He  was  going  to  kill  Johnny.

Johnny’s  dad  grabbed  Yuilt’s  .300  Savage  and  shot  the  bear  two  times  in  the  mouth  as  the  bear  prepared  to  assail  Don.  The  bear  dropped.

John  put  Johnny  on  Don’s  back.  Don  ran  two  miles  through  the  thick  woods  to  the  pickup  to  transport  them  both  to  health  care  in  Seaside.  This  is  an  example  of  Don’s  valor  and  steadfast  Christian  love  for  others.  

Johnny  cared  for  his  frightened  daughter.  He  was  transported  to  Astoria  hospital  due  to  concern  for  an  infection.  The  bear  had  nearly  bitten  through  Don’s  hand,  which  took  a  few  stitches.  Each  young  man  recovered  with  scars  and  very  unusual  memories.

Don  went  to  see  his  girlfriend,  Phyllis,  showing  her  his  hand  and  telling  her  about  being  in  a  bear  fight.  She  didn’t  believe  him.  It  had  to  be  a  joke.  The  Daily  Astorian  newspaper  confirmed  his  story  to  Phyllis  and  to  the  community.

Because  of  Don’s  injury,  the  draft  board  extended  his  entry  into  World  War  II.  By  the  time  he  went  into  the  military,  the  war  was  over  in  Poland.  Rather  than  going  into  battle,  he  went  into  intelligence  in northern  Europe.  God  had  a  plan  for  Don’s  safety,  even  though  it  may  not  have  seemed  like  it  during  the  bear  fight.

Jeremiah  29:11  (NIV)  says:  “For  I  know  the  plans  I  have  for  you,”  declares  the  Lord,  “plans  to  prosper  you  and  not  to  harm  you,  plans  to  give  you  hope  and  a  future.”  Do  you  trust  God  to  lead  you  in  his  plan  for  your  life?

P.S.  Phyllis  and  Don  have  been  married  70  years. 

Jewelea  Clarke  is  a  resident  of  Caldwell,  Idaho. 

 

 

Christian Living Magazine

Email:

boisechristianliving@gmail.com

Phone: 208-703-7860