To the editor:
On Aug. 14, I, along with three of my teenaged children and a friend of my daughters' from out of town were out searching the roadsides for thimbleberries. We were in the Bear Lake area, and my son spotted a patch. We pulled over, and the youngsters were getting out. Before they had gotten more than 10 feet into the canes, a pickup truck came speeding over the hill before us, and pulled to a very hard stop in front of my car.
A man got out and without preamble, yelled "I don't remember giving you permission to be on my property!" He then proceeded to be verbally aggressive to the children.
As soon as the man mentioned "my property" the children apologized and hurried to the car. My oldest daughter had to walk past him, and feared he may strike her, he was behaving so aggressively. I apologized to the man repeatedly, and told him we had no idea it was private property; to us it looked like empty roadside. I did suggest he stop being aggressive toward my children, and that he "take a chill pill."
I'm a firm believer in the rights of private property owners. Being one myself, I appreciate very much the necessity of respecting one's right to keep the produce of one's property to one's self. For trespassing, however unknowingly done, I heartily apologize. I would recommend the man put up a "No Trespassing" sign or a fence to prevent others from making the same error.
I'm also a firm believer in civility and common courtesy. There was a time when a man would never have approached a group of women and a 14-year-old boy in an aggressive manner. As a simple act of neighborliness, the man could have informed us politely that we were on private property, rather than verbally assaulting us in the rude, sarcastic manner he did. We would have apologized and moved along without question, but with a much finer opinion of local people.
This man not only left us in no doubt of the fact that he is not a gentleman, but impressed our friend with the idea that the folks in the Upper Peninsula who are not (working) behind counters in tourist shops or known friends, are, in general, rude, bombastic and intolerant. Well done, stranger. I'm quite sure your mother would be proud.