|Joan is second from left, sitting between Mom and Dad|
While attending classes at CU, Joan was assigned to write a scene—twice, once from each of two different points of view. Joan wrote about a hunting expedition. You can see by the pictures that she knew something about it. She'd been there, done that. I'm guessing these pictures were taken during Joan's junior or senior year in high school.
|Aunt "Bud", Aunt Luella, Joan, and Uncle Dick at hunting camp|
"Give me a cigaret, will you, Bert?"
"Yeah sure," I passed the lighted Winston to Paul and glanced out the window. The "road" on my side of the Jeep dropped sharply away, and I could see the canyon floor many feet below. My stomach turned over as I calculated the nearness of the edge of the canyon wall. I glanced away and wriggled my toes, which were beginning to feel cramped in my brand new boots.
Paul was whistling in that silly, tuneless undertone. He seemed utterly unconcerned with the twisting, obstacle-strewn path he called a road.
Strange, I thought, I've worked with Paul for years, and yet he seems like a stranger now. I never realized he was so tall. I sat up straighter and asked, "Be there soon, I suppose?"
Paul turned his head and grinned, "Oh, yeah, another hour or so, if the road stays this good."
I groaned inwardly, clenched my teeth, and wriggled my toes again. Wish I could take these damn boots off. How utterly senseless, I thought, that people in this day and age should deliberately set out to endure all this discomfort. Yet, I had been flattered and pleased when Paul had asked me to go hunting with them this year. For years I had listened with awe at the stories told by the group who, every year, sallied forth on a hunting expedition. I had felt somehow left out and inadequate. I had managed a week's vacation despite Mary's tears and protests, and had spent more than I could afford for a rifle, ammunition, license and various and sundry equipment the clerk at the store had insisted was absoslutely essential.
I jumped nervously as Paul's voice broke into my reflections. "Just up that hill and we'll have it made."
I braced myself for the "hill" that looked impossibly steep. Paul shifted gears and started up. Nothing bothers him, does it, I thought irritably. What the hell is he trying to prove anyway?
We executed the hill without upsetting and came upon a broad mesa-like meadow. The others were setting up tents as we pulled up. As I stepped from the Jeep, I noticed that they were all like Paul—different…relaxed, confident. I felt like an intruder.
I was awakened the next morning by the sound of an ax against a tree and the smell of coffee. It seemed to be awfully cold. I closed my eyes and listened to the voices, subdued and happy. I reluctantly got up to face the day.
Paul guided the Jeep easily across the creek. "Give me a cigaret, will you, Bert?" he asked.
Paul took the lighted cigaret and glanced covertly at Bert. He seemed kind of quiet. Not the same supremely confident co-worker Paul knew well. Perhaps he shouldn't have asked him to come. Maybe he thought he was above this sort of thing.
Paul glanced over the rim of the road to the canyon below. The shimmering creek on the canyon floor was a twinkling, narrow ribbon. Paul sighed with contentment and began to whistle softly. Such beauty…such peace.
"Be there soon, I suppose?" Bert asked.
Paul turned and grinned. "Oh, yes. Another hour or so, if the road stays this good."
We're making good time, Paul thought. Such perfect weather this year. This one week, Paul mused. One precious week out of each year when he could live as man was meant to live…away from the pressure of civilization, away from crowds and telephones.
Just up that hill and we'll have it made." He told Bert.
He shifted to low and started the climb. In spite of the steep, narrow grade, Paul noticed the reds, golds, and browns that made the landscape a work of art. As they topped the hill and leveled off into a wide, mesa-like meadow, Paul noticed that the others were already setting up camp. Paul stepped from the Jeep and called a greeting. Such friends, he thought. A find bunch of guys.
The next morning Paul wakened to the smell of coffee and the ringing of an ax against an aspen. The air was crisp and clean. He rose and embraced the day.