Took my wife's family out for a drive to Mt. Rainier National Park for a picnic and a quick hike around Paradise, Washington, at the foot of the mountain. It really is truly breathtaking out there. We saw a few deer but, thankfully, no mountain lions or bears.
During lunch I briefly entertained the kids with a made up story about the "Monkey Bear" that is rumored to live in the woods around Mt. Rainier. I'm not sure where the inspiration came from. I think perhaps it was something Jay might have mentioned in one of his posts as a story he told Harper once, like the third eye on her forehead. I believe Chuck may have told such a story, too. Fact is, any of my friends could have told this story--great minds think alike.
Anyhoo, it was just a silly story about how a monkey had escaped from the zoo to the woods and married a bear. Next thing you know there's a bear with a monkey face and hands with a long prehensile tail stalking campsites looking for Doritos. My older boys chuckled and immediately dismissed the story. My 8-year-old played along, perhaps hoping beyond hope that there really was a monkey bear and that he'd get to see something he's never seen before. My daughter nervously laughed...I know she believed it.
Skip ahead to bedtime that night. I just finished a bedtime story for the younger kids. It was a pretty poor effort and not filled with my usual fare of silliness, farts, and general mayhem. By the way, I've learned that the secret to a good bedtime story is to throw a fart or two in--gets them every time. Again, I realized from the looks on there faces that I would get no peace until I satisfied the masses. When one of my nieces asked if the monkey bear story was true, I took the opportunity to modify my previous story a bit. I said that it was actually a gorilla with a taste for human flesh that killed it's keeper and escaped into the woods. I went on to talk about how it trapped a carload of teenage girls and was closing in for the kill (they were eating this up by this point and all smiles and screams) when it grabbed a banana and ran off. The masses were appeased and I went back downstairs.
My daughter (age 6), while initially pleased with my second offering, had a little time to think about it and decided the story was too scary. I had to talk her down with promises of a chapter story spread out over many nights with lots of ponies and princesses. It's hard to include farts in a story like that, but I'll do my best.