Facing Problems Head-On

September 14, 2023
by Dallin Brooks
DallinBrooksHardwoodIndustryNewsHardwoodMattersNewsOneCommonGround

Can I tell you a funny story? I faced a grizzle bear once. I have seen a lot of grizzly bears, twice within 10 feet and once within one foot while standing on their hind legs. Obviously, I lived to talk about it; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a funny story.

My dad and I were at Mt. Baldy, the family cabin in southern Alberta. We were there for a summer week doing maintenance. Our only companion was my gray cat, Perciville. The house was near a stream, had no running water, and was the only structure for miles and miles.

When you get to the cabin, the kids’ first job was filling up two stainless steel buckets of water from a pipe my dad had created to flow out of a little creek behind the cabin. The same job my kids get. All the cabins were right near a lake or a stream; water was the first choice in selecting a site.
We spent the day working and the evening playing cribbage and reading books by flashlight. It was a small three-room cabin with no doors inside and an old hardwood door with a large window to look out over Mt. Baldy.

CRASH! BOOM! BANG! We woke up the following day to startling sounds. Leaping from our beds, we looked out the window into the face of a grizzly bear standing on our front porch. He had just knocked over the BBQ grill. My dad grabbed his gun and ran to the door, but his first instinct was not to kill it. Instead, he told me, “Grab the water bucket and throw it at him when I open the door.” The grizzly ignored us and stooped down to eat the cat food beside the grill.

So, I grabbed the stainless-steel bucket and stood by the door as my dad opened it with one hand. SPLASH! BONG! I hit the bear in the face with the water and the bucket. My dad quickly closed the door as the grizzly stood up again, exclaiming, “Do it again.” So I grabbed the other bucket, and he opened the door again with the bear standing up and looking straight at us. Again, I threw the water and the bucket in one motion. SPLASH! BONG! Right in the face, the bear was soaked and confused about what was happening, so he stumbled back and stepped off the porch.

“What about the wash basin?” I asked my dad. “Sure, throw it,” he replied, and for the third time, he opened the door, and I stepped out to launch the soapy water and metal basin at the bear. SPLASH! BONG! I hit it right in the head, and he turned and started walking away from us. My dad leaned the gun against the wall, ran to the nearby tractor, and started it up. CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! VROOM! The tractor started, and the bear ran away as he drove towards it.

There are lots of morals to this story: have a gun, risk your son, don’t shoot first, be prepared, stand your ground, bear in mind the risks, and don’t sleep bear naked; in Canada, there is no Second Amendment, so only bears have the right to bear arms. But the lesson I took from my dad that day was that you can’t wait and hope your problems go away, but it’s likely that damage will be done before it’s over, or you can face your problems with whatever you’ve got, no matter how insufficient they may seem.

When mistakes happen or problems arise, I am always surprised by how effectively it works when I bear responsibility for my actions and those of my staff. I am accountable for what the NHLA staff does and stand behind them. I lead and guide them; I empower them, and I trust them. When we make mistakes, let me know; complaining to others about NHLA doesn’t improve NHLA or you. I do not hesitate to face the grizzly problems at the Association or in our industry, and I am willing to say sorry. If we have one common ground, it is that when we bear responsibility, we are more likely to solve an issue.

by Dallin Brooks

Dallin Brooks is the Executive Director of NHLA. He can be reached at 901-377-1818 or by clicking HERE.

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