The Adventures of the Riverdale Black Bear

Early last evening, my wife ran into my study with a look of delight and excitement on her face. “Chris!” she exclaimed! “The town’s auto call system just called, and it was to report that a black bear has been seen in Riverdale!”

I shared her excitement immediately, because “Riverdale” is the name of one of the neighborhoods in the town that we live in, and we live in Riverdale! Our neighborhood of Riverdale is not large, so I looked at Jean and said, “Well then let’s go look out a window and maybe we can wave “Hi!” to the bear, since he might be visiting our backyard right now!” So like a couple of kids suddenly excited by Mom & Dad telling us we were going on a big adventure, we ran to one of the backyard windows and eagerly looked outside.

But the “Riverdale black bear” was not there in our backyard, so we ran to the front of the house, to see if the bear was paying us a more formal visit, by way of our front yard. But still no bear… I looked at Jean and said “I’ll bet he’s over at the McNallys’ house, cause Mary McNally is always the first to greet new arrivals in the neighborhood, and she probably gave the bear a fruit basket and some fresh baked cookies.” My wife’s pretty eyes danced and sparkled as she laughed.

We never did get to meet the Riverdale black bear, but later we heard that he was spotted in South Needham, the next town over from us, and one of those wealthy upper class and snooty communities, where if the residents saw the bear, they probably looked at him with condescending and superior attitudes, when the bear didn’t pull up in a Mercedes. “Does this bear understand what it means to live in South Needham?” they probably asked each other, with their skeptical and ‘quick to disapprove of and dismiss’ facial expressions.

And if only I was there, I would have quickly answered them, by replying “I won’t tell the bear what a drag it is to live in South Needham if you don’t, but I’m sure the bear would soon find out just how unbearable it is to have people like you for neighbors, without me giving away your ugly secrets. Like how you wouldn’t allow Jews in the South Needham Country Club until 1972, and how shockingly progressive of you to move forward on that issue so quickly!”

There have been no more sightings of the black bear around our area that I know of, but I hope that he headed for Natick, cause it’s a nice town with more down to earth and friendly people, who aren’t so mean spirited, arrogant and full of their own overblown egos.

But my guess is that the black bear who came to visit our Riverdale neighborhood, but then made the mistake of crossing over into South Needham, is now long gone from these parts. Those dickheads and their trophy wife gold diggers probably offended the bear’s dignity, by demanding that he submit a financial report for his business, along with proof of his annual personal income, and a complete family genealogy to the South Needham HOA within a week, and no later.

Our Riverdale bear would never have a chance in South Needham anyway, because our Riverdale bear is black, and they’d never allow a black bear to live in their lily white community.

Yeah, I’m sure we’ll never see our Riverdale black bear around here again. I just know that those South Needham A-holes made our black bear guest feel so insulted and unwelcome, that he growled “Well fuck this shit, and I don’t know why I wasted the trip to come down here! I’m high tailing my black bear ass back up to Lincoln New Hampshire, and going back to my job in the bear show at Clark’s Trading Post!”

So as our former Riverdale neighborhood black bear ambled along through the woods parallel to Intestate 93 North and back into New Hampshire, he was alone with his thoughts as he reviewed the pros and cons of his life…

‘Some of those tricks that they make me do at Clark’s are pretty stupid and kinda degrading, but at least when I do them, people clap for me and they look happy. Folks up there treat me like a black bear celebrity, and they get in line and wait eagerly to see my performances, after spending their hard earned cash to buy tickets for my show.’

‘Maybe I was taking that too much for granted when I took off, because now I know it’s just so much better than those rich and racist snobs in South Needham treating me like bear shit in the woods, while acting like I’m a potential criminal, and a threat to their sky high property values. And I can just imagine their reaction when I tried to date one of their daughters!’

‘I guess that I was just in a real bear of a mood the other day, when I demanded a 20% raise in my bear kibble, and a raw sirloin steak for dessert from now on. And demanding 10% of the gate was just unrealistic in these hard economic times, and really asking for trouble. It’s no wonder Mr. Clark got so angry and told me to go do what a bear does in the woods!’

‘Maybe when I talk to Clark about getting my job back, I’ll try to seem much more reasonable, and if I treat him with the proper respect, he’ll be more receptive to a compromise when I tell him that I know my demand for 10% of the gate wasn’t fair, and asking for a 20% raise in bear kibble was excessive.’

‘Yeah, that might work… I’ll offer him a return of my services as his star bear performer in The Clark’s Trading Post bear show, in return for only a 10% raise in bear kibble, and throwing in that raw sirloin steak for my dessert. Clark’s a pretty reasonable guy, and I think he’ll go for it.’

‘So I guess this whole trip down south was one of those learning experiences in life for me. I learned that the grass isn’t really greener on the other side of the border down in those Boston suburbs, and in some places, the bigger the lawn is, the bigger the asshole is who owns it.’

This news just in: Daniel Clark, owner of “Clark’s Trading Post” in Lincoln New Hampshire, and star bear show performer Brendon the Black Bear have reached an agreement to resume working together, after a recent disagreement and falling out. Complete details of Brendon’s renegotiated contract were not disclosed, but according to an anonymous source, a daily dessert of raw sirloin steak made the formerly disgruntled black bear very happy, and ready to rejoin the bear show.

After both parties reached a final agreement, Clark punched Brendon in the nose, but claimed that “Hey I was kidding around, and that bastard of a bear is lying if he says he doesn’t like it.” Brendon was unavailable for comment, since he had to get ready for his return to the bear show.


Brendon riding his Razor Scooter around the ring during the bear show. When asked by a reporter how he felt about the way things worked out, Brendon said, “Hey, I’m still doing the same old lame ass tricks, but my fans love me, and now I’ve got that raw sirloin steak dessert to look forward to after every show, so life is good and I’m happy!”


Unlike some of this post, “Clark’s Trading Post” is not a result of my over caffeinated imagination, but one of the oldest and still ongoing attractions in the White Mountains region of Northern New Hampshire, since 1928. My parents brought me there when I was still in diapers, and we took my daughter to Clark’s almost 30 years ago when she was three years old.

But she didn’t see much of the bear show, because she became fascinated by a very large rat just inside the chain link fencing around the bear show ring, and she wouldn’t stop watching the rat chowing down on some stray pellets of bear kibble.

No matter how much her mother and I tried to get her attention off the rat, and get her to watch the black bears instead, she would go back to watching the rat again, while repeating “pretty kitty… pretty kitty.” over and over again. I tend to see this incident as absolute proof that she is my child, not that there’s ever been any doubt.

She’s now an attractive and intelligent, good natured young woman, who is also an expectant mother, and maybe in the not too distant future, she will bring her child to Clark’s Trading Post. Hopefully there will be no large and distracting rats there, to be called “pretty kitty” because certain “eccentricities” in my extended family seem to be passed down from one generation to the next. Including myself, I know of more than a few of my relatives, who are convincing examples of this genetic progression of unusual personalities and behavior.

Clark’s Trading Post has lots of other things to see and do besides seeing the bear show, and it’s a good place for kids to have fun. So if you’re ever in the area, with children aged 4-10 years old, you might enjoy checking it out.

BTW, there really was a black bear sighting in our neighborhood yesterday, which is definitely a first, and a pretty amazing occurrence. Hopefully the bear’s presence won’t result in any harm to either the bear or the humans, and this story will have a happy ending for all involved.


About Chris Sheridan

I’m a 56 year old guy who is young (and immature) at heart, and I love humor and laughter. Married for 22 years, but still enjoy all the glories of womanhood everywhere, even while dedicated to one woman only - and I hope my wife never finds out about her!
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14 Responses to The Adventures of the Riverdale Black Bear

  1. Elyse says:

    When I lived near Hartford, CT, a woman called the police because there was a bear on her front porch, sitting in her wicker furniture. Turns out it was a wet Newfoundland dog…

    Hope you get to see the bear, from a safe distance, and that he doesn’t run into any rich-ass snobs while sampling their left overs.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Elyse. You created a very amusing image for me, of a bear sitting in wicker furniture on a front porch, and then I laughed about it turning out to be a “Newfie” cause they do tend to slightly resemble black bears. Lol :-)

      Honestly, I hope that the bear is long gone to a safer and far more remote place by now, because I fear for it’s safety if it stays around here. I’ve seen black bears in the wild before, and one time up close, when I was near the summit of Mt Adams, on a narrow trail in the early evening, with no other people around.

      Both the bear and I almost walked right into each other from opposite directions, as we both rounded a sharp and blind turn at the same time. We were both very shocked to see each other, and we both immediately turned around and ran away in opposite directions real fast, as both of us were badly scared by our surprise close encounter! Lol :-D

  2. Congraulations on being about to become a grandfather! Just because you are doesn’t mean you have to be grandfatherly (except to him/her, obviously).You can still be the same handsome debonair Chris. Can’t help feeling sorry for the ‘tame’ bear. Must be amazing to live in a place where bears can just turn up! The actual wild! We humans don’t normally have much to do with it except in pre-packaged form.

    • Thanks for the congratulations, Rose! :-) I am going to make it my goal to prove that being grandfatherly and being handsome and debonair can co-exist in the same guy at the same time. (Oh, and thanks so much for referring to me as handsome and debonair!)

      The ‘tame bear’ thing is a hard call these days. I would always rather see wild animals remain wild and free, but with the increasing destruction of wild habitat today, the lives of many wild animals are becoming much harder, and at least nobody is going to shoot and kill the black bears at Clark’s Trading Post. But like you, I have mixed feelings about it.

      It IS amazing to suddenly live in a place where bears can just turn up, because it’s never happened before, and I’m sure that a black bear hasn’t been seen around here in well over a hundred years, since we live about 10 miles from downtown Boston.

    • Well LMAO at you too, gorgeous! :-D It’s nice to see you here again! I was beginning to think that my Aussie girlfriend had sent you death threats to stay away from me, but trust me when I say that she would never do that, or at least that she has never done it before. Lol ;-) So don’t be a stranger! Because it’s MY role to be stranger, and then even stranger than that! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. JAC says:

    If there’s ever a loose bear in CLE, it’s usually the result of some hillbillies who think it’s cool to have a backyard zoo. I loved how your daughter was fixated on the rat and not the bear at the bear show. Hilarious!
    For whatever reason, this reminded me of The Massanutten article.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Summer! And Lol @ backyard zoo keeping hillbillies in Cleveland! :-)

      Yeah, my little girl’s rat fixation was mildly frustrating back when it happened, but now looking back from many years later, I think it’s very funny too, and her repeatedly calling the rat “pretty kitty” makes it even funnier! If she hadn’t been only three at the time, I’d have thought that she was saying it to be humorously sarcastic. But that’s just way too young for that way of thinking, and she didn’t start getting humorously sarcastic until she was around 10.

      Thank you so much for the link to the Massanutten article! I loved it, and loved the humor, and I could relate to that guy so much, that I almost started to wonder if there was something that my Dad wasn’t telling us for all these years, but the timeline is wrong, so Dad’s reputation is safe. Lol :-)

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, and thanks for the compliment! :-)

      Just so you know, your comment got stuck in spam purgatory, and I didn’t notice it until now, or I would have replied a lot sooner.

  4. RFL says:

    Treating me like bear shit in the woods and pretty kitty made me snort! Enjoyed this post, and thanks for the laugh today.

  5. susielindau says:

    The bear looks like he has it pretty good at Clark’s! Be careful when taking out the trash, he may pay you a visit the next time he needs a little R&R!

    • Well hello again Ms. Susie, and thanks for coming over! :-) Honestly, I think the bears at Clark’s do have a pretty good life, and even more so, since they were found as orphaned cubs and raised there.

      But I’ll heed your good advice about being careful when taking out the trash. Actually, I tend to be careful already, and long before our neighborhood bear sighting. I try to take the trash out only in daylight, and not after dark.

      Many years ago I got an instantaneous and shocking fright, when at night, I opened the top of a dumpster, and a raccoon the size of a beach ball catapulted up and out over me while almost landing on top of my head! Lucky for me, the masked mammal ran away fast and vanished, with no harm done.

      Then about 5 yrs later, there was another frightening instant with a trash can at night, when I picked up the lid and immediately saw a skunk in there, with his body in position to aim and fire a direct hit right in my face! That trash can lid slammed back down on the can so fast, that only the highest camera shutter speed could have ever caught the action! It was also fast enough for me to avoid a full blast of skunk spray in my face, but still WAY too close a call!

      It was after this, that I saw the light… and I’ve had nothing to do with trash outside ever since, unless it’s still light outside. Lol :-)

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