Preston senior and Margaret Culver were the original Yuppies. Not the free love Keristan Society crap that sprang up in his later years but the real deal . Living off the land ,taking what nature gave them and giving something back in return. Almost everything they ate came from the ground or the trees or the creek outside their door. "A man can never go hungry with living breathing nourishment scampering around in your own back yard." Preston senior would say. " but one thing you gotta remember son , never kill unless you need the meat. Never kill a pregnant critter, because in order for us to eat they have to breed, you hear me boy?" That was his fathers philosophy. He lived on the minimal. But Margaret Maybelle Culver was the most extreme. She wouldn't touch anything that mother earth didn't place in her arms without offering a prayer. Every morning began with an hours long plea because her brothers fought in the war and killed so many Japs that she was sure their souls burned in hell on a daily basis. Not to mention all the Jews that were being prosecuted over in Europe. And her a Jew from birth who hasn't been to temple since her eighteenth birth day when she moved out west and hooked up with the son of a trapper in the wilds of the Montana wilderness.

"Well looks like some ones been busy." Margaret beamed spying the trout which lay in the pan as indifferent as if it was still swimming upstream.

They unloaded in the mud room. A small three by six foot addition of the back door designed to keep the Montana mud ,snow and cold out of the house and off the split pine floors which always seem to gleam with a lemon scented shine. This little box of a room was equipped with four coat pegs to hold their winter gear and an in wall metal lined cabinet for camera and film storage. The Culvers ran a tight house with well defined borders and boundaries and so far as they were concerned the most important of which was "leave nature where it belongs".

"Yeah Ma!" Preston grinned unable to contain his excitement he launched into a long winded telling of the days events embellishing on the comments already written in his journal. His father smiled as he stoked the cast iron stove with firewood from the stack by the door tossed in a match and heaved the trout out of the pan to admire.

"Well this is sure gonna bring in the bear." The wrinkles around his eyes formed little cat whiskers as he clapped a hand on his sons shoulder. "Good job boy."

Those three words were the best thing a man could say to his son .Preston's chest swelled with pride as he smiled back up at his father. This was the man who at the age of nine had brought in his first bear. A scraggly gray snouted bull so scratched up the hide wasn't even fit for a rug but to him that was a great accomplishment and to Preston it was some thing worth envying.

They ate in silence, the crackle of the fireplace the only accompaniment to the scrape and clatter of knife and fork against tin plates. These were the moments Preston Cluver senior lived for. The deep meditative silence of the Rockies coupled with the forlone cry of a distant wolf. The Occasional owl singing its mournful song in a pine outside the window. All things natural and pure. The stuff dreams were made of. He smiled to himself chewing mechanically not even tasting the rich flavor offish and brown rice. His mind was wandering back to the time of his own youth. When his one dream was to live in a city like people in the magazines he browsed while waiting for his father at Craig and Bronns down in Libby. At the age of twelve that dream came true when his mother took ill and he was sent to live in Helene with his aunt Vivian her boar of a husband Joshua Jennings and their spoiled brat of a daughter Wynetta-Rose. But that dream was a nightmare it had been the worst summer of his life. Sitting for hours in the government run school , restricted to back room of the Jennings Doctors Office because times were hard and they couldn't afford a house and an office in town. He resented every moment of that summer and begged his father to take him back home. Which he did after they buried his mother in a cement lined grave on a hill with a large Aspen reaching its arms to the sky.

Lydia was a good woman yes big boned and strong as any two cent ox of a back country man. Only problem was she was always plagued with some ailment or another and finally at the ripe age of 39 she gave up the will to fight and died peacefully in her sleep. Preston senior then at the age of fourteen devoted himself to proving his worth to his father. The best trapper this side of the Appalachians with a son too skittish to kill anything bigger than a half dead bull bear that didn't have the will to eat let alone fight for its life.

Preston senior looked over at his son with a waning smile letting his eyes focus on everything he had made for himself .All that was truly his . The carved oat tables and chairs with fancy scrollwork whittled into the back rest. The grand father clock sitting stately in the corner face drawn down into a wise smile as it ticked off the minutes. His smile grew wider until he was grinning openly at his wife and son. He rose from the table danced a jig across the rug and into the family room . He appeared a moment later holding his old guitar and wearing a battered cowboy hat with a poncho thrown across his shoulders. His smile lit the room as he stomped of a tune and began to sing his deep tenor rising up and mingling with the cry of a wolf somewhere up in the mountains.

The summer dragged on with Preston Jr tumbling around in the scrub pine forests setting snares and bring in whatever critter he could catch for the evening meal. The oppressive glare of the sun ate away at the trees and grass and even the Culvers until they were as bronzed as the leaves on seasonal scrubs and just about as bare. Autumn was winding down fast and October with its blasts of freezing rain and sleet kept them cooped up like hens in the house.