Good Hearted Woman

Luke’s New Year’s resolution was going camping in the San Juans before hunting season.  He hummed his dad’s song Good Hearted Woman, remembering those trips into the La Garita Wilderness on horseback every summer after he turned seven.  It’d been two years since the old man died of stomach cancer in Gunnison.   He’d said, “It was stupid to make it wilderness back when I was gearing up for Vietnam in ’64.  Every time I bagged an elk, I drove my truck in there out of spite for the hauling.  The Feds are assholes.”

“And I hate those fuckin’ outfitters who said they saw that grizzly in 2012.  Said it to impress those goddamn Texans paying them to line up a trophy shot and probably even take it.  I was sitting right in the W Café minding my pancakes and bacon and I knew they were fuckin’ high or drunk, probably both.  I’m the only one who saw him, and I’m not tellin’ where.  He showed up after I shot a cow elk in snow, after I dressed her.  That was no black bear.  I knew he was coming back around so I loaded up two quarters fast, what the mules could carry, and got the hell out.  I didn’t want to shoot him.  My horse was nervous as shit and that mustang I broke for your mother was crazy-eyed and frothing like she knew she was on the menu too.  I had a deer tag so we’d have enough meat for the winter anyway.  You can take that to the bank, son, I’m the one who saw him.  And I’d swear today on a stack of bibles there’s more than one out there.  Doesn’t make sense to be a bachelor grizzly in the La Garita.  I bet he’s gotta girlfriend.”


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