In The Park


One of the charters I took on as a school bus driver was a Parks Canada position in the Rocky Mountains. Because the job was a three hour drive from my home it was a three-days-on three-days-off proposition with no-star accommodation in the mountains provided. It involved carrying passengers up and down a rough gravel mountain road so they could hike, or camp, or both, in the shadow of the stunningly beautiful Rocky Mountains.

There were rules of course, which were posted in horrible, impersonal list form in various places within the operation, and naturally I took it on myself to KerDoodle-ize them, for easier audience inculcation. Considering that many of the passengers were from far away lands with extremely limited, or zero English skills, I thought this apropos.

I got a kick out of drawing these, even though Parks Canada management decided they wanted to stick with their impersonal lists. The fact that I didn’t draw them in both official Canadian languages (Canada is a bi-lingual country), might’ve had something to do with it, though I’m more inclined to believe that the manager in charge just didn’t have a sense of humour.

The posters required the creation of the KerDoodle bear you see here.

This one – Don’t Litter! – depicts a scowling park ranger catching a guest red-handed dropping trash on the ground. (Bad guest! Bad). The bears are witnessing this loutish behaviour, along with a bunny and a million disapproving trees. I mean, think about it: would you want to be caught dropping trash on the ground? Well then, shape up! I like how I captured the park Ranger tapping his foot on the ground with disdain.

Occasionally I had ideas for actual humour, as I drove the bus. One thing I overheard a lot was the campers being told that as they went hiking they should make a lot of noise. That was, of course, to alert any of the nasty (but lovely) bears that might be in the area that they were there and so avoid confrontation. Well, being who I am, I couldn’t help but look at that from the bear’s point of view, and this is how that played out.

Again, the trees have eyes. I like the little Canadian flag on the bear on the right. And the bear on the left appears to have found himself a bear bell, which is something that hikers wear to alert bears to their presence.

Then there was the day I was ‘on the hill’, waiting at the bottom for the next run. I was alone and, well, my imagination took over. I wondered, wonderingly, what would happen if a bear were to run amok and take control of the bus.

This is what I came up with: the bear looks mad, (mad, I tells ya!) and the passengers – who must have been napping when the bear got on – are absolutely terrified. As always the trees are watching. The piece is captioned, When Bears Go Wild – because, after all, bears are wild – ‘out there’ – so for them to enter our world they’d have to be even wilder.

I know, completely silly. I mean, have you ever actually met a bear with a driver’s license?

Finally, this one.

I think it’s fairly self-explanatory, so I’ll just call it the final nod to barehood, and leave it at that.

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