The Blacksburg Bear Who Came to Dinner

It’s logical that Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, home of Virginia Tech, can be considered a “foreign destination” to our international students and faculty, at least until they make it their home.

This is the story, loosely translated from the Dutch, of an international scholar who visited our library. A teacher at a high-level gymnasium in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Erna Trossèl had an interesting “American” adventure in our university town. Nestled as we are on the edge of the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she was pleasantly surprised at the numbers of birds in the trees and enchanted to see a small herd of whitetail deer grazing in our back yard. But she wasn’t prepared for a black bear!  

“The only news around here is we had a BIG BLACK BEAR in sister Tecla’s yard.”

It was I who spotted the black bear. About 9:00pm we heard a crash outside, which was the big blue plastic trash-bag container smashing over, and I rushed to the big picture-window in the front and was shocked to see the unmistakable hulking figure of a bear ripping through the trash-bags that had spilled from the container! The bear had sunk his nose greedily into the bag with the shrimp tails left over from dinner, it appeared later. Paul grabbed one of those big, black, heavy, long-handled flashlights with 4 large batteries inside and headed for the door. I stopped him at the stairs, expressing my belief that even such a huge American-style  flashlight would not deter a bear…

“I know, thanks Erna,” he said, “but don’t worry, I have a dog…” Read more…