Thursday, January 8, 2009


Okay. Time to start over. I've learned my lesson. (Am I right? It's true!) All my future posts or blogs or whatever you call them will in no way make fun of, or pick on, or make any truthful observations of any "particular" group of humanity. No way. I'm here to be interesting. And interesting I shall be. The last thing I want to happen is to say something and then have a bunch of stupid French people in their silly hats come at me with moldy cheeses. So...let's begin anew.

But where to begin? (Not in France...THAT'S for sure.) 

Well, this morning in my attempt to be interesting I actually did something interesting. I dusted off my great grandfather's memoirs. It's a small book of only a page and a half, but spirited and evocative of a time long since past. The story of how he came to write the book is almost as fascinating as the  book itself...

Gregory Dunn was born in Ireland during the latter half of the 19th century.

My great grandfather on the other hand was born in Bristol, England. He emigrated to America while still a young man. He couldn't afford to travel by boat and swam the whole way. (Avoiding France at all costs as you can well imagine.) The journey took 11 years, but Enoch Rugg had finally made it to America!

He longed to make his home in California. He couldn't afford the train fare however, and swam the whole way. Starting in Virginia, Enoch swam rivers, marshes and estuaries until making his way to the Columbia river. From there it was smooth swimming all the way to the pacific. Interestingly, Enoch is briefly mentioned in the diaries of Lewis and Clark.

"And lo, what should appear starboard of our canoe and be much faster than our humble means of conveyance, but a man! White as a lily with firm buttock in good measure. We knew this to be no Frenchman, for he was polite and clean and of marvelous wit. Speedily  he drew past until, at last, he was well forward of us and no buttock could be seen."

Once in California, my great grandfather soon became the state's first Director Of Bear Affairs. The first task he was given by drunken governor, Delando Portilla, was to taunt the first bear he came across with a stick.

Coming from England, my great grandfather knew nothing of bears and set off on his quest with great excitement. In Yosemite he soon found his first 800 pound Grizzly. Enoch was so delighted by the beast and thought it looked so cute that he instantly named it, Sweeties. He then grabbed a stick and began taunting it. The bear charged and my grandfather was forced to take refuge in a very small cave nearby. This is where he wrote his memoirs. 

"What have I done to incur the wrath of Sweeties? I thusly prodded and poked and smacked its hindquarters as instructed but the beast has taken terrible offense. She also has one of my shoes. And my foot was still in it.

She guards the entrance to the cave so here I must stay for the time being. There are other bears here as well. However, they seem to have taken no note of me as they seem to be under some incredible sleeping spell. I will take my stick to them for surely no harm can come of that.

I was gravely mistaken! Fie! The pokings I gave their slumbering shapes has made them awake with a most savage disposition. Their manner is like the French.

I want to live! I want to live! What's this? They seem to be going back to their slumber. What shall I do? What shall I do?"

What he did was to hibernate with the bears for the next three months. He survived on nothing but talcum powder and bear dew. Sadly, he died of his injuries 57 years later.

At least he wasn't French.


  1. I tell ya, I envy the wealth of knowledge the people had in those days. They could survive the elements with nothing but their wits and perhaps a poking stick- and they could even spot your country of origion by a single buttock at a distance.

  2. "And now, a man wrestling a bear for no reason."

    Thank you, sir, for giving us insight into your family's august background. It certain explains a lot about you...

  3. But Mr Wolf, how did you know the memoirs were written in August?

    Enoch was a peculiar man, unlike his great-grandson (who is of course simply barking). Strange that an Englishman from those days had never seen bear-baiting, which was all the rage in England (along with bull baiting) until 1835.

    Children are born late in the Rugg family, aren't they.

    So... I take it he found a way out... Bearly.

    Let me guess: Sweeties became your great-grandmother? Or at least somehow she became a bearskin Rugg.

  4. Oh I like this game! How many puns can Keeper come up with! [counts]

  5. So now you are making fun of the French! I hate you! You are a jerk! I wish that bear would have eaten your great grandfather! probably would not have been born! I hate you.

    Alfredo Ruiz

  6. Only a jackal-riding Cuban dwarf would defend the French!

    Either that or he must be related to the French, look at how ill-mannered he is!

  7. glad you found your great grandfather's memoirs.

    He was a great man

    I think


  8. I am heartened to see that you've named your blog after one of my favorite vacation spots. Debbie and I had the most delightful ski lesson/crumpet tasting during the Festival of Mites in Froynlaven last summer. We've never seen so many people in funny stockings or been offered as much cheese in our lives.

    Reading your blog will automatically elicit some wonderful smells and a peculiar aftertaste. Bravissimo!