Additional stories of the Blackberry Bears' adventures will be out soon.
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BLACKBERRY BEARS OF NORTH CAROLINA
By Nana Blankenship Hensley, Dan Drewes
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Nana Blankenship Hensley
All rights reserved.
BEARS AT THE BEACH
Tukker Bear and his family lived in the mountains of North Carolina in a big cave at the edge of a small creek. Tukker was just a cub, but he had heard of a place a long way off called "the Beach," and he wanted to go there more than anything. He daydreamed about it. He talked about it. He even tried to imagine what it was like. He had grown restless just roaming the mountains hunting for food, fishing and playing in the creek. He longed to see far-off places.
One day Tukker's friend told him about his family's trip to the Beach. He talked about the sand, the tide rolling in, good food and all the pretty people who go to the beach. Tukker wanted to go more than ever now.
"Please, Pops; please, Momma," begged Tukker Bear, "let's all go to the Beach." He told them how his friend's family had followed a creek to a river and a river to the Beach. "It'll be fun!" said Tukker.
That night Pops and Momma talked about it. "Maybe we should go," said Pops. "I've been thinking we should show the cubs more of our state." Momma agreed. She had been thinking about it, too. "That settles it," said Pops, "we'll go." "I'll have to get new bikinis for Baby and me" said Momma. "That's what they wear down there, you know."
The next day the four Bears loaded their backpacks and headed out. "Good bye, you steep ole mountains," they all thought, "hellooo, flatlands." Down, down, down the mountains they went. Through meadows of grazing horses, past ponds with ducks enjoying a swim, passing beautiful waterfalls and miles and miles of forest, they traveled.
Late one evening they came to an old deserted farmhouse.
Pops said, "This is where we'll rest a few days."
Unbeknownst to Pops, a family of skunks had thought the same thing and had bedded down in the back room. Pops, Momma, Tukker, and Baby snuggled up for the night.
"Phew," said Pops, "something stinks to high heaven!"
"Skunks," said Momma; but she didn't mind; she already liked the old farm so well she wanted to stay there forever. They soon were four snoring bears.
Next morning they enjoyed eating fresh blackberries from the field, honey that Pops got out of a tree, and rainbow trout from the river. The setting, the house and the food were everything Momma had ever dreamed of.
But Pops kept saying, "Kitty Hawk Beach or bust," so, onward they traveled. Two more days' travel and they were in a strange land. There were no mountains, no waterfalls, and no beautiful vistas. The land was a lot flatter than the bears were used to seeing.
A wise old owl along the way told them, "This is the Piedmont; it's very different from the mountains."
They thanked him and on they went. They played in rivers and lakes along the way, went under a big road called I-40, and wandered through huge fields of good things to eat.
Finally, after three weeks' travel, they arrived at the beach.
"Whoa", said Baby, "me wanna play in water!" She squealed and jumped up and down. Then, Momma and Baby hid behind a sand dune to put on their new bikinis so they could surprise Pops.
But Momma had forgotten about those extra pounds she had put on. She bulged out at the top, stretched the bottom of her suit way out of shape, and was having trouble breathing in that tight swimsuit. She was miserable and had not thought about how hot that fur coat she always wore would be. In just a few minutes, though, Momma slipped out from behind the sand dune.
"Shreeet-shree!" whistled Pops. He thought Momma looked terrific. Baby thought she looked all grown-up in her little polka dot bikini.
The four of them played in the ocean, walked on the beach and enjoyed the sights. But Pops was sweating in his fur coat, and the salt was making him itch. He scratched and scratched until he was ashamed to scratch anymore. Momma and Tukker tried to pretend it wasn't bothering them. Baby, however, was enjoying all the excitement. She had just got to sample her first soda pop from a half-empty can she found. "Burrrp!" expelled Baby very excitedly. Soda was new to her.
That night they slept under the pier. Pops dreamed about their nice cool cave back home and about Momma's home cooking. Momma dreamed about her feather bed. Tukker dreamed about his buddies and about climbing trees. Baby just snuggled up to Momma and went to sleep as soon as she closed her eyes.
The next day Pops got as sick as a monkey on a Ferris wheel. He was homesick. Momma's back hurt. Tukker got stung by a jellyfish. Baby just gnawed on her paw and whined. Things weren't looking too good for the bears' vacation at the beach. So far all Pops liked was the salt water taffy, three boxes, in fact, that some kids had spilled on the beach. Momma liked the crabs, and Tukker liked building sand castles.
They all decided to take a little stroll. About half a mile up the beach they noticed a line of people waiting to get in a thing called a hot-air balloon. When the people in line saw the four bears coming, they scattered, which gave Pops an opportunity to explore inside the balloon.
"All aboard!" Pops called to Momma, Tukker and Baby. But just as they climbed in, the rope snapped and up, up, up went the four bears.
They floated over beautiful white clouds, big cities and super-highways for days. What a wonderful vacation! But Pops was getting hungry as a bear, and Baby whined all the time. Momma's back hurt.
Tukker kept asking, "Are we there yet?"
On the fifth day Momma spotted their beloved mountains. She got so excited that she fell out of the basket. Fortunately for her she landed in a pond full of lily pads.
"Whoopee!" yelled Momma. "Come on in, the water's great!"
So Pops got Tukker in one arm and Baby in the other and over the side of the basket they went. Never were there four happier bears! They swam and splashed around 'til almost dark. It was so good to wash that salt off and swim in cool water, but by then they were exhausted.
Pops, Momma, Tukker and Baby struggled up the bank out of the pond. And, to their surprise, right in front of them was the old deserted farmhouse where they had stayed! Momma looked at Pops, and Pops looked at Momma.
"Can we stay?" asked Momma.
"You bet!" answered Pops. That called for some great big bear hugs. "Home, sweet home," he said.
To their delight, the old house was just the way they had left it, skunks and all. Never again did they go back to the beach, or have any desire to. Pops said, "The beach is just not a good place for bears wearing fur coats."
Tukker Bear and his family loved their house in the mountains of North Carolina. They were the only bears in the hills that lived in a house, so they had lots of bears come for a visit. When they had visitors, Tucker slept upstairs, and could hear a train whistle 'way off in the distance. "Whooooo, whooooo!" He would lie there wondering where the train went after it got to the top of the mountain. He was just a cub, and had never been allowed to go to the other side of the mountain to see where the train went.
Tukker's cousin, Bobby Bear, and his family always came for a visit on Wednesdays. They spent the night in the big house, and they all had one big party. But Cousin Bobby was a mischievous little bear. Lying in bed one night, Tukker told him that he wondered about the train and where it went.
Bobby said, "Let's find out where it goes, Tukk."
So, early Thursday morning, before daylight, Tukker and Bobby tied their toothbrushes, two cold biscuits and their harmonicas in a rag, that was attached to a pole. Quietly, they slipped out of the house. Pops, Momma and all the visiting bears were still snoring.
Down, down the mountain went Tukker and Bobby, and in about an hour they came to the train track. Sure enough, they heard, "Whooooo, whooooo."
"Here she comes! Get ready to jump," shouted Bobby.
The train was going slowly up the mountain because it was loaded with heavy coal from Kentucky. Just as it got to the bank where Tukker and Bobby were sitting, Bobby yelled, "Jummmp".
The cubs landed kerplunk in a boxcar, and all the commotion awoke a sleeping hobo. Mr. Hobo rubbed his eyes and stretched. He had seen a lot of bears in his day, so he was not afraid of them..
He said, "Morning, boys. Where you headed?"
Bobby was so frightened by the hobo that he very shyly said, "To the other side of the mountain, Sir".
Bobby was afraid of the hobo because Mr. Hobo was dirty, ragged, and smelled real bad.
Excerpted from BLACKBERRY BEARS OF NORTH CAROLINA by Nana Blankenship Hensley, Dan Drewes. Copyright © 2013 Nana Blankenship Hensley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
BEARS AT THE BEACH.................... 4
HOBO TUKKER.................... 10
THE HILLBILLY BEAR HOOPLA.................... 14
BULLY BEAR.................... 18
BILTMORE HOUSE.................... 22
AUNT BECK.................... 26
TRAPPED TUKKER.................... 30
STAR GAZING.................... 34
POPS AND BUBBA.................... 38
POLITE BEHAVIOR.................... 42
TUKKER AND GLORIA.................... 46
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.................... 51