I had the feeling that my high school friend from Notre Dame, Fred Blau (aka Freddy Nefer von Blauhart) would likely not respond to this Blog idea.
Blau was never quite as close to me, after I abandoned him during a small crisis that happened while we were camping one summer in Yosemite!
Fred had a "serious" butterfly and insect collection when he was at ND. He had secured a special collector's pass from the National Park and we camped out at Tuolome (sp) Meadows to catch illusive California Blues as well as a variety of high country beetles. Exhausted from running around all day with nets, we looked for a good camping spot, somewhere out of a really cold wind.
There it was.
A crab apple tree.
With all the meadow grass under it matted down.
A perfect place to camp!
Deep into the night, I heard a stifled noise.
"Jer, Jer, something's standing on me!"
It was Fred, or someone who sounded like Fred.
The moon was bright, and I could see a large, very large, black outline looming over where Fred was sleeping.
"A bear!" Holy s___!
(sorry about the censorship but this a Blog about a Catholic school)
I did what any loyal, strong, courageous, true friend would do. I struggled out of my sleeping bag and ran!
I fell into an upper tributary of the Merced river!
I was ice cold and I was unsure if Fred Blau was alive or not.
The sun rose mercifully early. Fred had survived.
Unexplainably, Fred was somehow more distant toward me after that event. But, what the heck (cleaned up here); he was alive, wasn't he? What is a little betrayal between friends?
For several years, the California Blues that Fred and I collected were on display at the Yosemite Museum.
Fred Blau went on to create synthetic blood for movies and tv.
He still lives in the Valley, in Woodland Hills. We are going to have lunch next week, so I guess he's over the bear.