Recently, I got a package from an old friend in Montana who was diagnosed with lung cancer, which now is in his brain, and he counts every new day as a gift. In the package was a 40-year-old Kabar hunting knife that had belonged to the late Norm Strung. Norm showed him, and me, a lot of what hunting was about before he checked out. The knife was originally Norm’s and he lost it on a mountain top while gutting an elk in deep snow. He told my friend that if he should happen to find it he could have it, and after the Karbar lay there all winter, that’s what happened. I have it now, and I sometimes wonder who I will give it to.

A little while ago, I had gotten a deer down, and the guide and I were waiting for a second guide to show up and help us get the critter out. He pointed to the rangefinder on his belt, and told me that it had belonged to a client whom he took on his last hunt. The client, once a big, powerful man, had been reduced to a skeleton by cancer and had only a few weeks left.

“He was one of the best men I’ve ever known,” said the guide, “and I always carry this and tell this story every chance I get.”

There was a pause, and he said “Excuse me. I think I hear Trevor coming.” Then he stood up and walked quickly uphill to meet his colleague. At least I think that’s why he walked away so fast.