• Shawn Hosford

Grizzly Bear Birthday

I had one of my best birthdays ever this year.

In my book, a fabulous birthday includes time off with loved ones — relaxing and enjoying each other's company. I have never been one who fawns over material things. Most of the jewelry I own has either been gifted to me by a loved one or gathered from secondhand stores. The furniture in our home is much the same and ninety percent of my coats have come from similar places. I have always been blessed with abundance and the gifting of hand-me-ups.

Spending time in Montana to usher in my 58th with loved ones seemed like a recipe for goodness. The Friday of my birthday we woke up to ready ourselves for a road trip to Glacier National Park, with planned visits to other small towns along the way.

While waiting for his morning coffee, Mark looked out the window of the VRBO we were staying in and calmly encouraged us to come join him. We hustled over to see what was so important. To our amazement there was a young bear ambling towards the house. When it got to the porch, it looked toward us, changed direction, and lumbered on across the yard. We were all elated. Mark joked, “Thought you might enjoy that as my birthday present to you.” Indeed I did!

As we were leaving Glacier National Park later that afternoon, three out of the five of us went into the gift store. Upon returning to the truck, Sister Barbara had a book in her hand as a gift for Mark. It was titled Mark of the Grizzly. She figured that since Mark was the one who sighted the bear, it was a must-have book.

We all enjoyed the remainder of the weekend in fellowship — cooking and eating great meals while taking turns reading aloud from Mark of the Grizzly.

When seeing the bear Friday morning we hadn't taken note of the hump on his shoulders. It wasn't until a week or so later, when showing off the picture to one of my clients, that he noted this was a young Grizzly bear. What a gift indeed. Never have I had such close contact with a wild Grizzly. I cherish the opportunity to see wild animals in their habitat without disturbance. This Grizzly will be in my memory forevermore.

What do you treasure the most? Can you do more of it? With whom do you treasure these moments? When celebrating, how do you enjoy spending time? What is your favorite birthday memory?