When I was a teenage punk our family would vacation in Jasper, Alberta, about 200 miles west from here.
Beautiful place, nestled up in the Rockies. Beautiful golf course, too, at the Jasper Park Lodge. It was there that I had my first (OK, first legitimate. OK, first semi-legitimate) beer, and icy and delicious it was, because I'd finally graduated from my Dad's caddy to his golfing partner.
My Dad was no slouch on the links: He was the Alberta Open Junior champ for a couple of years. So it was a bit of a thrill to tee up alongside him, even though I skulled my first shot about 50 yards into the trees where for all I know, it's still being sniffed by bears.
But prior to that the course marshal approached us and asked if we'd like to make up a foursome. One of our new partners was a Mountie who always got his man but who was terrible at the short-iron game.
Meanwhile, back at the cabin, I awoke one day to a godawful thumping and rustling and rushed out to confront an elk cow who was grazing the bushes.
This, I thought, is a Kodak moment. I got my camera and got up nice and close and snapped a lot of photos of this doe-eyed, inquisitively-snouted beast.
These pictures provided much hilarity among me and my sisters and parents until the aforementioned RCMP officer dropped by for a barbeque. He chuckled politely about them and the first chance he got he jerked me aside and got in my face and said quietly,
"Listen. She might look cute, but she's a wild animal. If she gets spooked or if she thinks you're between her and her babies she'll stomp you flat and then I'm gonna have to come out here and scrape you off the ground. I don't want to have to do that."
This, I should add, was accompanied by a not-so-gentle finger poking assault on my sternum that accelerated in tempo as he developed his argument.
Point taken. Since that day I have never molested an elk, moose, or other furry denizen of the forest.
Damn, I wish I could remember that man's name.
Damn, I wish I could go golfing with my Dad again.
Damn, damn, double goddamn.