The Hills of Jackson Flats

Clarence Cobb was a lonely man but a good man just the same
He lived in the hills behind Jackson Flats, no one knew from where he came
He’d been there thirty years or more, folks paid him little mind
Just some harmless backwoods man, no kin, he warn’t that kind

Just once or twice a year he’d come to town to get supplies
His presence barely noticed, no hellos and no goodbyes
And when he spoke he mumbled, no one listened anyway
For he was just a backwoods man and would soon be on his way

His face was hard and wrinkled like a worn out running shoe
His clothes were old and tattered, stained and soiled, nothing new
He had a mutt named Bandit who was always at his side
Best friend he’d ever come across, friends until they died

They say it was a humid night some time in late July
When kids from town went camping ‘neath the starlit summer skies
They took their tents and sleeping bags, six of them there were
Good kids all, just in their teens, their parents’ pride for sure

On this night when the moon was full and they were all asleep
A visitor came to their camp, to find some food to eat
They’d left the campfire burning but the flames had long since died
Just some embers glowing when the hungry bear arrived

Upwards of a thousand pounds and almost ten feet tall
The grizzly was an angry soul, not a pleasant boy at all
Been arrowed by a hunter some time back, it wouldn’t mend
He’d hated humans ever since and now he sought revenge

Some pots and pans were scattered from the rummage of the bear
The kids awoke, began to scream, and panic filled the air
The bear raised up his mighty hide, they froze, they couldn’t run
A meal he’d make of one of these tonight ‘fore he was done

The screaming of the youngsters caused confusion for the beast
But this would not deter him, his would surely have his feast
And then from out of nowhere came a yell not born of fear
One to let the grizzly know a challenger was near

For there just in the shadows that the moon was casting down
Old Clarence Cobb was yelling at the bear to turn around
How he knew, how he got there, no one ever said
But had he not arrived that night the kids might all be dead

His dog was yelping frantically, the old man waved his arms
He was sure that his distraction would keep the kids from harm
It took the bear a moment but he knew that on that night
The man who stood before him wouldn’t run, he’d come to fight

The dog seemed not a bother, not much bigger than his paw
Twenty times his weight he was, no danger there he saw
And then from out of nowhere Bandit leapt to the attack
Too late for Cobb to warn him though he tried to call him back

The bear was swift and agile as he faced young Bandit’s charge
A dog so small and helpless facing one so strong and large
Completely unexpectedly the grizz leapt straight ahead
And struck the dog a crippling blow, no doubt the dog was dead

The bear had quite a temper and he gave a frightening roar
Then turned his cruel attention on the man he wanted more
But never did he figure that by taking out the dog
He’d woken up the devil deep inside old Clarence Cobb

The warriors assessed the scene, both circling the fire
The ruckus stirred the embers, now the flames were licking higher
Clarence always knew he never had a chance to win
But now this thing was personal, now he’d lost his friend

The old man reached into the fire and grabbed a flaming branch
He never felt his burning flesh, this was his only chance
He gripped hard on his weapon and he waved it at his foe
As David slew Goliath, he’d deliver such a blow

The bear was down on all four paws, he snarled, so full of hate
But Clarence wasn’t backing down, he knew this was his fate
For just a moment all was still, a pause had filled the air
Then both combatants charged ahead, old Clarence and the bear

The children told the story when they got back to their homes
About the mighty courage both the warriors had shown
And of the mighty battle, such a gory sight to see
The monster and the grizzled man, who faced their destiny

Long claws ripped into Clarence but he never made a cry
The bear and him were eye to eye, the moon glowed in the sky
He plunged his flaming weapon deep between the grizzly’s jaws
And felt his ribcage caving in between the grizzly’s paws

The two were locked together as the bear raised up again
Cobb was just a bloody mess, the bear’s mouth full of flame
Both animals let out a roar, for their anger, not their hurt
The man below, the bear on top, they crashed into the dirt

The night air gave an eerie wail that night in late July
The locals say ‘twas Clarence and the grizzly as they died
Both bodies gave a shudder as they lay there on the ground
Then nothing stirred and nothing moved, just silence all around

The children found young Bandit almost forty feet away
How he survived that mighty blow’s a mystery to this day
They wrapped him in a blanket and took him back to town
Unconscious, torn and bleeding, but he finally came around

People still go camping in the hills past Jackson Flats
They do take more precautions now, one had to figure that
The battle spot is now a shrine for what had happened there
That fateful night old Clarence lost his life beside the bear

And Bandit still remembers him but never understood
What happened on that fateful night, when side by side they stood
And sometimes when the moon is full and the night is deathly still
He thinks about the love they shared, a love they always will