A year had passed since that memorable night in which we
put an end to the terrifying menace from the itsnstdas that
threatened the entire universe. We were gathered again in
the Roesser east homestead, congratulating one another over
the brilliant, methodical, and heroic way we all acted in the
face of danger during that occasion. Little did we know
what lay in store for us this fateful night.
Yes, little did we know of the things which would occur, but
blindly we proceeded to Agony State Park to tempt nature again
to see if she would punish us as she had when the Fireside Chat
was first born. The weather was not a significant factor this time, but some amazing
things did happen. First we answered a knock on the door to find a
Canadian family inquiring as to their whereabouts. They did not understand
why we spoke English, since they were absolutely sure they were
in Montreal. When we finally got them to explain, they said they bought
a GM car with the latest on-board navigational computer, and IT SAID
that they were in Montreal and we could not convince them otherwise. We finally
got rid of them by telling them that the French section of the park was
across the lake. Then the Murphy's dropped in and helped us
drink up some the surplus fermented malt amorphous matrix
of complex carbohydrates that we brewed up while fighting off
the itsnstdas. These items paled in significance to the discovery which Mark made.
After repeatedly skiing over a cross country trail which formed a closed loop, Mark
concluded that if you ski clockwise around the loop, the ascending grades
are greater than the descending grades. He them postulated and later empirically
tested a theory that if you ski counter-clockwise, the descending grades are greater
than the ascending ones. Although we worked on proving his theory for two days, the real
significance of his discovery was only apparent after Buck point
out that if the potential energy gained by going up was less than
the kinetic energy going down, you have a net gain of energy every time
you make the loop. This phenomenon makes the development of
the first true perpetual motion machine possible. Mark has decided
to quit college and devote all of his energy to this project
which will undoubtedly make him rich and famous some day. At last count, he was making his 498th
loop around the trail, and his data is flawless so far.
All in all, it was a truly reMARKable weekend.
This remarkable phenomenon was mysterious but true, as Mark
was about to confirm in a most distressful way. A park
ranger, whose brother knew a person that had a relative who
actually received a passing grade in college physics,
explained that skiing in a counter-clockwise loop corresponds
to the direction of rotation of the earth in the northern
hemisphere. As a result the skier experiences the effect
of corioulis acceleration which when coupled with the local
warping of the gravitational field due to the confluence
of the Allegheny foothills causes a dynamic shift in the
gravitational force vector that changes with the motion
and position of the skier. The cumulative effect of this
over a closed loop is a net downward grade. This explanation
was too late to help Mark. Each time around the loop Mark
had accelerated by 2.1 feet per second. As he finished the
498th trip around the loop his speed was over 1045 feet per
second or about 713 miles per hour, which is a little
greater than Mach 1. He had broken the sound barrier! He was
yelling for help, unfortunately, though, no one could hear
him when he was approaching them and when he passed it
sounded like pleh. What does he mean by pleh we wondered.
The situation grew worse as it continued. It seems that as Mark broke the sound barrier, he caused a sonic boom which awakened a huge black bear from hibernation. The bear was plenty agitated at being so rudely interrupted and on top of that, he th
ought Mark was shooting at him. The bear began chasing people all over the trail, no doubt intending to do them some harm. George was panicking and asked Nancy what she thought they should do. She suggested they run for it, but George protested that th
ey could not possibly outrun a bear. Nancy pointed out that SHE would not have to outrun the bear, provided that she outran GEORGE.
Indeed Nancy did outrun George. The bear was hot on
the trail of George as he puffed along. George felt
the bears breath down his neck as he tried to out distance
him. George ran up hill, down dale, through the
woods and across the streams but the bear kept on coming.
Then he came to a fork in the trail and he debated whether
he should bear right or frog left. Then he thought, wait that
fork might come in handy in eating some of Buck's You Can't
Make Any Better Split-Pea Soup, Guaranteed because it was
so thick. As he hesitated in order to pick up the fork in the trail
the bear caught and tackled him. George struggled to get away
but the bear pinned him to the ground. The bear opened
his mighty jaws and said bowsy wowsy and licked George on
After giving George (and the bear) the slip, Nancy felt the least
she could do for poor George would be to call for some help. She contacted
the Park Ranger, who quickly set off in pursuit of the troublesome bear. But he came to a sign on the ski trai
l which said "bear left", so he figured that the problem was resolved and he stopped the pursuit. Meanwhile, George was noticing that bears have some pretty serious halitosis. Just as the bear was going to have George for lunch, Lucy came charging down
the trail barking like a German Sheppard. That old bear did not even wait till she was in sight before taking off at a run. Either that, or maybe he caught wind of the Canadians who were there and decided that they might taste better than George.
By this time Mark passed Mach 2 and was approaching Mach 3.
Nancy, being somewhat concerned and not knowing what pleh
meant, which Mark was now uttering somewhat more forcibly,
started calling back Mark, Mark. Of course, what Mark
heard was kram, kram. He knew he had a history test coming
up, but why was his mother so concerned about his cramming
for it at a time like this. Then it dawned on him, that was
his name backwards. So he reasoned, his plea must sound backwards
to everyone else. After a few minutes of reflection he thought
perhaps if he yelled out a palindrome he would be understood.
Now we all wondered why he was saying "madam I'm adam". He
realized himself that wouldn't help so he yelled mom, then
dad, then bob. The reply he heard back, tahw, puzzeled him.
We all realized we needed a better way to communicate. Just
then the French men came strolling by wearing new bear skin
coats. It occurred to us maybe pleh was a French word so we
asked them. At this, one of them got very angry and punched
George in the nose, who just got back from his bear chase.
Meanwhile, Buck and little George were out looking for venison crown roasts.
They didn't see any deer but they came across a huge black bear minus his skin and fur. Was he mad. George
had learned bear attack survival skills from the US Marine Corps and his mother.
He took off running and left Buck to deal with the nasty bear. Buck can't usually
run too fast, but he was moving now, running towards the ski trail with the bear in hot pursuit. When
they got to the trail, the bear spotted the two Frenchmen who previously skinned
him and made bearskin coats. When the bear got done with those two, it was not a pretty sight! Just
then Mark made another loop at mach 6.5 and let off some more sonic booms. The
intensity of them caused an avalanche which began rumbling down from the
summit, threatening to bury all of us.
As the snow came tumbling down it appeared like a gigantic
white canopy ready to engulf us. Was this the way it was all
going to end? Thoughts raced through our minds - how can we
stop this - but as the snow approached ever closer there
appeared to be no escape. Just then Buck recalled that an
episode similar to this appeared in the February 1952 issue of
Boy's Life. Readers were invited to offer solutions and
the best one appeared in the next issue. Boy' Life exclaimed
Elisa, isn't that the magazine I used to cover the bottom of
the picnic basket, which she just happened to have with her.
Hastely we tossed all the contents out of the basket. Sure
enough there on the bottom was the March 1952 issue of Boy's
Unfortunately, the article which we needed was thoroughly covered
with Grey Poupon mustard, making it unreadable.
Nice going, said George, who left the top off of the Grey
Poupon? Who brought that anyways? I don't even like Grey
Poupon - I like Webers with horseradish! Buck retorted, well
that's typical of your taste you like hotdogs rather than
frankfurters and domestic beer like Budweiser rather than
Moosehead! Oh yeah!, said George! Yeah!, said Buck. Well,
replied George, if you like Grey Poupon so much why don't
you feast on that one page that could have saved our necks! Others,
joined into this philosophical discussion, which grew into
a wild fracas. Fortunately, for these intrepid resourceful
adventurers, Marks rapid counterclockwise traversal of the
ski trail had generated a whirlpool air current that
intercepted the snows downward path. The snow was caught up
in this upward stream and gradually took the shape of a long
cylindrical column that came down on top of the denuded
Pete mentioned he saw the two Frenchmen messing around with the picnic basket and
then it became obvious that they had switched the Grey Poupon for our Weber's mustard. When little George confronted them, they took off running but they got sucked up into the vortex created by Mark. The bear still was not finished with them so he took
off after them and also got sucked into the vortex. Just then Mark rounded the bend at mach 9 and attempted to execute a stem christie to try to break
out of his orbit. Even an experienced skier like Buck cannot make that move at any higher than mach 7, so Mark went flying into the vortex, feet first. When he hit the vortex, bear fur, french
cuss words, snow, a mad naked bear and two scared Frenchmen were thrown out of
the pile and all the way to Bradford, where they all died of boredom.
When Neil and DD came across the dead naked bear in their
backyard, they immediately thought that it would make excellant
stock to put into a batch of Buck's You Can Not Make Any
Better Split Pea Soup, Guaranteed, of which they heard about on
their recent trip to Agony state park. They stuffed it into
the back of their Chev and were about to leave for the park.
But they thought that the sight of a naked dead bear sitting
in their car would cause too much public attention, so they
dressed it a beaver skin coat and an army helmet left
over from Neils army days. When they got to the park and
presented their idea to the gang, George exclaimed "oh great,
now all we need is 83 barrels of dried peas, 25 bushels of
onions 125 bunches of celery and I don't know how many
carrots". Then Elisa inquired, "and in what are we going to
cook all that?"
Well it turned out to be a moot point, because lo and behold,
that old bear was not really dead afterall. He had become dazed and unconscious, not to mention
a little confused from his little trip through the Allegany
mountains, and was only trying to resume his hibernation when
the Murphy's picked him up. As he gradually awakened, he was happy
to notice that he had fur again, but he noticed it was a different
color than he had before. And he did not really understand what
that funny metal thing on his head was. Mark re-joined the group
after escaping from the vortex incident with but a few minor scratches.
Just then the bear climbed out of the Chev and headed up towards
the administration building. Nancy jumped in Neil's Chev and
drove to the park office to alert the Ranger. He told her not to worry
because he knew the bear left from reading the sign. We were
now left with a cabin full of peas, celery, carrots and onions, but
no meat to put in our soup.
As it happened the bear turned out to be a herbivore.
Smelling the abundance of vegetables in the cabin he
decided to pay us a visit. So instead of putting meat in
our soup we wound up putting our soup into the meat, sort
of speak. Well after gorging himself on half of the
vegetables he befriended us. He was able to speak a
few words that he learned from being around all of
the tourists that come to Agony state park. He began
telling us that before coming to the park he had
stayed on some land by a house in Elma owned by an older
gentleman who lived with his wife there. The older gentleman
called him Joe the bear and would tell his children and
grandchildren stories about him. But nobody seemed to believe
him. It was when the older gentleman passed away that he
decided to move on and stay at this park.
If you enjoyed these first two episodes, wait till you
read Episode Three!