Odd things happen to Nathan Baron. One of his teachers at Madawaska High School says it’s true. Nathan himself admits it.
Like the time he bought a new riding mower … put in a battery … cranked it up … and watched, alarmed, as the battery exploded and his mower burst into flames.
“I thought I was going to die,” he said with a chuckle. “I wasn’t burnt or anything, but I was afraid I was going to light some trees on fire.”
That teacher, Maine hoop legend Matt Rossignol, said that every time he sees Nathan, the teen has another story to tell. The one he told on Monday was particularly memorable, and Rossignol had what you’ll shortly agree was an understandable reaction.
“I told him, ‘We’ve got to get this in print,’” Rossignol said.
I agreed (although I expected at first that the story was part of some school project titled “See What Kind of Crazy Story You Can Get a Newspaper to Print.’)
So here’s Nathan Baron’s tale:
Nathan said Saturday didn’t start off as an extraordinary day. In fact, it was pretty low-key: He was sitting in a chair in the woods, hunting, watching as a doe crossed in front of him.
After the doe left, he ate his lunch. Then nature called.
“I had to go to the bathroom but I had no toilet paper,” he explained.
Luckily, he was hunting right across the road from his family’s St. David home.
“I walked out of the woods and got on my four-wheeler and I went home,” he said.
Another thing he did (which, for the record, we’ve got to advise everyone to avoid): He leaned his Remington .30-06 rifle against the tree, next to the chair he had been sitting in.
“And when I got back, I couldn’t find the gun,” he said.
Nathan said he stood up from his chair and began looking around in the woods. Then things got interesting in a hurry.
Nature had called again … in a different way.
“There was a stream that was running about 100 feet away from me. I look, and there’s a beaver hauling that gun into the water,” he said.
Let’s take a moment to let that sink in.
Nathan said he really didn’t know what to do at that point.
“I was mad, but I started laughing because it was funny,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening, that I was seeing him take my gun into the water.”
So here’s what Nathan did: Absolutely nothing.
“There was nothing I could do,” he said. “The gun was in the water and the beaver went under. That was it.”
The water was deep, and pursuing the beaver was out of the question. The gun was gone.
Besides that, the beaver was armed. OK. That was my concern. Nathan didn’t mention it in our interview.
Nathan said he figures the beaver’s intentions were more innocent. (So much for my image of a lone rogue beaver arming himself against trappers). Instead, Nathan just thinks the gun was made of some good-looking wood, and Mr. Beaver decided to haul it home.
“He was probably going to go and use it as part of his shelter,” he said. “Maybe I go there and there’s a gun sticking up out of the beaver dam.”
Nathan swears his story is true. Rossignol believes him. So do others.
Things just seem to happen to Nathan Baron, after all.
Some do have doubts, though.
“My close friends don’t believe me, but all the other kids in school believe me,” he said.
But Nathan has a plan that he figures will convince everyone that his far-fetched tale is true.
“I’m trying to get my gun back,” he said. “If there are beaver marks on it, I’m going to hang it on the wall of my garage [so others can come and see it].”
Follow John Holyoke on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke