It took me ten years to go out and see my old hunting buddy Jason Heil in Southern Oregon. He's a river guide now who runs many of the finest rivers in the west. He can guide you around the wineries too, but we were after wild steelhead. Jason said the run was petering out. But we were in fish all day. Fish and mimosas, that's how they roll. It was great to see some new country and catch up with an old friend.
We missed you the other night at the Jonathan Richman show. No doubt you had to miss it because, after all, it was a school night. But how many more chances to see him will you get? Here's a musician who doesn't perform concerts, but holds "parties". Jonathan and drummer Tommy played their hits and did some improv. Jonathan frequently put his guitar down and picked up shakers. He danced and tried to get the Denverites to party. But we were too uptight, I'm afraid. People don't understand Jonathan Richman in a world where we are constantly offered thirty dollar massages, craft beer, fantasy football. He doesn't quite fit because he freely gives from his heart. He gives so much that it makes the experience awkward. What's the catch? People are waiting for the scam, but there is no scam. It's real. When the show ended, the workers outside were already taking the letters down from the marquee.
The Platte River is in full flush mode. Only fools and parvenus fish during the flush. So Dave Brown and I headed to the Green to throw streamers and get Henderson some boat time. The big browns liked the streams (Peanut Envy in Olive) but hated our midges and dries. Henry growled at passing middle-aged men in kayaks and corresponding beards. He jumped ship at Little Hole and Dave had to haul him back over the gunnels. Otherwise it was a great trip.
I landed a short story in the March/April issue of Gray's. I'm so lucky they continue to support my work. I read the whole issue cover to cover. There's some great stuff in there. I am honored to be in the same issue with Don Thomas and Miles Nolte.
I had a frozen goose and a frozen sharp tail that I kept thinking about. They were in my thoughts as the winter persisted and the small disappointments of living in a Western oil town accumulated. Jason Veggie Burger, who is from Texas and knows a bit about Cajun cooking, kept coming up with excuses. So I soldiered forth and did it myself. At 3 a.m. I put both birds in the pot with the usual suspects (carrots, onions and such). By noon the meat was falling off the carcasses. I let the meat cool, then I built my gumbo. It was terrific and not nearly as difficult as the Coonasses tell you. Here's a photo of the roux and the half-complete gumbo.
This elk roast marinated for four days. Will and Elka, of Casper, WY know how to put on an authentic feed. Will even made authentic spaetzle. If everyone honored their game like this we would see an renewed interest in hunting and fishing that has less to do with trophy and more to do with community. This was one of the most memorable wild game dinners I've ever had. If I were an elk, I'd want to end up as sauerbraten.
The mallards and gadwalls are pouring into Wyoming this year. It's been a terrific migration. Ducks seem to be doing well. Other birds, not so well. Henry is growing in confidence, as well as size. He's physical and excited to be out there, which to me, is the most important quality in a dog. Now if I could only get him to stay. It's gloomy here, hardly any sunlight, and snow every night. But this is duck weather at its finest.
My newest essay, "The Spell of the Yukon" is in the current issue of Gray's. Most of my friends don't have the 13 bucks required to buy a copy of the journal, so I'll tell you what it's about. This story tells the true tale of Bill Mixer's prolonged adolescence as he travels north above the 60th parallel. In other news, the ducks are here and I'm working with Henry to improve his skills (and mine). He's giant now. I never owned one of those 100 pounders, but I think he's heading that way. Below is me and Mike Bailey with a limit of greenheads.