PORT ARTHUR — It was as beautiful as the Mona Lisa.
That is the print of a beautifully drawn cougar sitting on a tree limb looking right at me.
I had never seen the Mona Lisa at the time (I was nine) but it had that kind of impact on me as it hung on the wall of the five and dime store.
This was around 1983 and my intense devotion to wildlife was well underway. I thought cougars were absolutely amazing and this print just had to end up on my wall.
Each time we would go in the store I would look at it and let it take my imagination into the wild where an encounter with such a mighty beast might take place.
A couple of months go by and Christmas rolls around. Things were a little tight that year due to a busted oil industry and semi-tough times for the Moore family.
There were plenty of gifts under the tree for me but just like on “A Christmas Story”, there was one more hidden under the tree, sort of tucked away in the back. And as excited as Ralphie is on that move to get his Red Rider BB Gun, I was equally excited to get that 11 X 17 cougar print.
I was so excited by parents got that for me that it hung on my wall for the next 15 years.
It is interesting how certain seasons bring about particular encounters.
Close to Christmas a few years later, I saw a cougar in the wild. I have shared that experience on these pages a couple of times over the years but what I haven’t shared is that I immediately thought of the print hanging on the wall when I saw that great cat.
Then a year or two later my aunt heard a cougar screaming out on her property north of Deweyville on Christmas Eve and my uncle went out to hunt it.