a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Aug, 2005

The Killer Beast

Posted by mark in: Misc. life

Mark here, guest blogging on Andrea’s site. This past weekend we went to visit friends at a local campground. Unsure of where their campsite was Emma, Sarah and I set off to locate the site. As we walked around the various sections, I kept sending Emma up the road to read out the signs for me. She would run halfway up the road and then yell back “D7”etc. My children make excellent runners. “Can Someone run downstairs and get me a beer ?” is a common phrase of mine that usually results in a competition between the girls to see who gets to go down to the basement to bring a beer up for me. I’ve always been unsure of whether they like this so much because :

a)they like pleasing their father
b)they like going to the forbidden zone known in our house as the basement
c)they’re just so damn obedient

I’ve had it explained to me by a friend who has boys that this is one of the major differences between boys and girls. Ask a boy to do something for you and it will fall on deaf ears, girls however are always willing to help. In our house, this theory holds true (for now – I’m waiting for “get your own beer”. I expect they will learn that from their mother).

I digress. As we were walking about looking for the campsite we approached a site where the campers were clearly in a panic of some sort. From my angle I could see them all backing away and talking in that high octave voice that people get when they are clearly stressed. I could hear them saying things like “WHAT IS IT ?” and “JESUS, GET AWAY FROM IT” and “IT’S COMING FOR US”. It was a family of four, parents and two teenage daughters. A little nervous about what I might be walking into I carefully walked up to their campsite to see what the ruckus was all about. I was wholly expecting to see a bear or at the very least a highly venomous snake (even though there are none in this part of the country). The family who were now standing a clear 20 metres from the threatening animal looked over at me as I walked by. The father saw me and asked nervously “Do you know what that is ?” I took a long look and then curiously I glanced back at their car to see their licence plate so I could see where they were from. I glanced back at the creature who was standing his ground on their campsite. I almost felt sorry having to say this to the poor guy. I should have made up some ferocious animal to at least justify their fear but I told them the truth.

“It’s a groundhog….” I said. “….It’s a vegetarian”. I’m unsure why I made a point of saying that it wasn’t a meat eater. When I looked at the licence plate I think I expected it to say “The Moon” or “Mars” but it said “Ontario”. I tried to think of a place in Ontario were they don’t have groundhogs. Even downtown Toronto has groundhogs. They seemed greatly relieved and the father made some remark that indicated he thought it might be a groundhog but wasn’t sure because the face was different than he remembered (yah right).

A friend I told this story too thought that I should have screamed out “IT’S A COUGAR. RUN !”. In retrospect had I done this I could have ran after it and wrestled with it. My girls would always have the memory of the time their DAD…FOUGHT OFF … A COUGAR.

3 Responses to "The Killer Beast"

1 | Raquita

August 3rd, 2005 at 3:54 pm


Mark you totally rock and should have yelled out ITS A COUGAR!!! Your girls are lucky and just so you know I still go get my dads beer when he asks for it.

2 | me

August 3rd, 2005 at 7:04 pm


I wonder. Where do the downtown Groundhogs hang out? Street corners?

3 | Ashley

August 8th, 2005 at 10:42 am


The downtown groundhogs tend to hang out in the small (SMALL!) wooded areas around Toronto, there are some… and down by the lake they have tried to preserve some nature… there are a couple of tress.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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