[Editor's note: The following was written by Betty Judd Johnson of New Preston in August of 2008].

My first view of Mama Bear and her cubs was through my kitchen window the first week in June.

She ambled up to my hummingbird feeder, lifted it carefully, and allowed the sweet liquid to drip into her mouth.

She then shepherded the cubs toward the stonewall slowly but hustled them up into the woods when a truck drove into my driveway.

When I spoke to a dog warden about discouraging any more visits, she suggested I discontinue bird feeding for the summer and have noise in the yard whenever I went out.

I followed her advice regarding the birds and began a program, whenever I went outside, of ringing Christmas bells and singing Sunday School hymns.

All went well for a few weeks, until the day I rushed out of the house to accomplish one quick job at the window box.

I hurried to the corner of the house and almost collided with the bears as they came around from the back and reached the corner at the same moment.

It would be an understatement to say I was surprised. I had forgotten the bells and hymns in my haste.

And there I was, head to head with Mama Bear, with the cubs at my feet.

As I stood looking into Mama Bear's eyes, I paid no attention to her babies as I had heard warnings about interfering with cubs.

When I found my voice, I spoke very quietly to her and said, "I think you had better go home before we have a problem here."

She kept her eyes on me for another minute, then grunted to the cubs and they all headed up into the woods obediently.

She was docile and seemed to understand that I meant no harm to her or her family.

It was not until I reentered my home that I wondered, "who did you think was going to have the problem?"

Fortunately, my guardian angel was on duty that day.