Originally this week’s column was going to be a rant about the pathetic mindset of people who don’t understand the difference between being a citizen or a subject. The same people who don’t understand the difference between semi-automatic modern sporting rifles and select fire “assault” rifles the military uses.

However, I decided that instead of venting on these subjects I’d focus on something positive instead. That said, what follows is my list of what is good and wonderful about life in general in our country, things radical political liberals and social engineers are trying to modify, change or destroy.

Among those things that bring pause to my soul and a smile to my heart are children. More especially my grandchildren – tiny examples of humanity with an entire life ahead of them. They’re not creatures to be molded into fascist rogues whose intent is world domination or destruction. They are truly our hope for the future.

Like my stepfather, I enjoy watching a busy covey of quail go about the business of being alive. I also enjoy watching an old tom gobbler in full strut trying to impress his hens. Or listening to the challenge of a rut-addled bull elk echo off the towering granite rims and penetrate through the pines and quakies. Or watching several brookies finning in the current of a remote high-mountain stream.

Or being where mountain goats live. Drinking from a pure spring that erupts halfway up a granite wall that reaches skyward to the foot of heaven itself. The silent majesty of a snow-covered range of mountains.

The insolent majesty of a truly large bear. The silence of his footfalls in the forest. The no-back-up attitude of a mama bear with cubs by her side. The dismissive glance of a bull buffalo peacefully grazing in a small clearing.

Your first look at a true 16-inch pronghorn antelope. Ditto for the first encounter with a plus 30-inch mule deer buck. Or a mammoth six-point bull elk tending his harem. Your initial look at the first moose you ever shot, lying dead on a rocky shoreline. The first time you hear a truly wild wolf howling in the night or the scream of a female mountain lion looking for a male close to your small tent.

Your home-trained bull lab making its first 60-yard retrieve on a wild rooster pheasant. Your untrained Spring Spaniel female dog making her first water retrieve from a river so swollen with ice the lab wouldn’t even dive in.

High country Wyoming quakies turning color in the autumn and rustling in the breeze. The pool room sound of big horn rams banging heads echoing off steep granite crags. The bouncing basketball sound of a male blue grouse drumming to attract a mate for the spring nesting season.

Watching a heavy snowfall from the shelter of your brush lean-to as you add more small sticks to the fire. Drinking coffee straight from the old coffee pot that you made morning oatmeal in. The aroma of an old hunting coat that you didn’t leave something dead in. The smell of freshly oiled boots, ready for the trail. The musty aroma of dead leaves kicked up by deer passing through an old growth forest.

The first five minutes of a spring shower in the high country. Coffee boiling in front of your brush lean-to when it’s five degrees below zero. Elk tracks in last night’s snow. The sizzle of venison impaled on a stick and set over an open fire. The aroma of fresh caught brookies cooking in garlic butter. Sipping a cold beverage and relaxing after a long day of high-country fishing.

The grin on your son’s face as he pulls his first, truly big muley buck down out the canyon where he shot him. The grin on your face as your son shoots a flushing blue grouse out of the air with his model 94 Winchester 30-30, with one arm in a sling. The glow in your lifemate’s eyes as she strokes the side of the first elk she’s ever shot and the pride in her voice as she explains the hunt to a skeptical game warden examining her bull.

The solid thump of a bullet hitting home echoing back across the flats as a distant bull elk stumbles and falls. The rancid horse-sweat smell of the pack train. The creek and groan of the saddle as you ride out.

The shower-fresh smell of the world’s best wife as she comes to your bed.

Thank you Lord.

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