While we don't look alike, most people who know us both well say Shane and I are very similar. Shane married a pretty awesome woman. My Sis-in-Love Quenby happens to be a lot like Curt. Gentle, loving, and kind, neither of them are easily provoked. However... if they reach their tipping point they can get a little fiery. Quenby and Curt "get" Shane and I. We are blessed to have them in our lives.
Quenby grew up in Montana. Her parents own forty acres of the coolest land outside of Helena. It borders BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and is take-your-breath-away beautiful. Huge boulders litter the land. It looks like God was playing with a bunch of playground balls and just chucked them at the earth. The Rocky Mountains peak out from every vantage point. Abandoned mine shafts and outbuildings sit on the edge of the still visible stage coach trail that runs adjacent to their property. Quenby grew up outdoors - hunting and riding horses in a land full of mystery, danger, and history. And then she moved to the midwest. Once you've lived in the mountains, they always draw you back. It's no wonder she and Shane moved back to Montana shortly after they got married.
|Grant playing under some of the rocks|
|Sun setting over the Rockies and the abandoned mine|
Shane has always been a Man's Man. Moving to Montana was an easy transition for him. Fifteen years later, he's practically the poster child for Man-tana. His day job is a fire fighter-paramedic-SWAT team hero. He's also an expert hunter specializing in back country wilderness hunts. For years he was the Back Country Editor for a major hunting magazine and every year he guides groups into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to hunt deer, elk, bighorn sheep, bear, and mountain lions. His family room is lined with impressive mounts and framed photos of all his epic hunting adventures. You will never catch him without a gun on his body, at least one in his pickup, and several in his house. He makes sure his wife and three daughters (who all hunt with him) are well protected at all times.
But for all his bravado and manliness, my brother is tender-hearted. A man of God, he leads his family with strength, courage and fiercely protective love. You never have to guess how he's feeling because he's blunt, unedited, and very funny. Compassionate to the core, he is moved by the pain of others and will put his life on the line to rescue and protect those he loves.
I knew Shane was Mr. Big Time Hunter but we have never been to Montana during hunting season before. Seeing him in action was really eye-opening and fun. I asked question after question. Most were prefaced by, "Think of zero as no information at all on the subject. Then back it up about ten digits into the negative deficit and you'll know where my knowledge base is." He patiently answered all my questions - even the really dumb ones - and laughed at me for my ignorance of how his life works.
|butchering Kayla's deer|
|the raccoon and coyote|
Later that night Shane asked me to go out to his garage and get some bagels from the freezer. When I opened the freezer, I jumped and laughed. It was full of meat - all game my brother had hunted. It also had a coyote and a raccoon. The raccoon was holding the bagels. Surprisingly I didn't scream, much to Shane and Curt's disappointment. They were hiding on the back deck, in the dark, waiting in gleeful anticipation for my response. Boys...
The next morning, Shane woke Curt and Grant up at the crack of dawn. He saved a deer tag to fill with them and was determined to show them a good time and help with Grant's Man Training. They drank coffee and ate man-food (venison sausage, eggs, and toast) and headed out to the Smith River. Shane gave them the tour of all his favorite hunting places. It was Grant's first time shadowing on a hunt and he was beyond excited.
|Grant's first time out on a hunt|
|My Boy and the buck|
|so proud of his "man hands"|
|Shane floating the deer down the river.|
|they are certifiably crazy|
|at home - couldn't wipe the smile off his face|
|safe and sound after a fun day|
|Shane and Quenby, Kayla, Maggie, Sydney, Joe and Sharon (Quenby's parents)|
|our family: Jodi, Curt, Alli, Grant, Katie and Paige|
They were so satisfied with themselves that they gave Quenby and I the afternoon off. We worked out together. Then went to coffee and talked. Shopped. Talked. Shopped some more. Talked. We even kept up our tradition of buying hats together. I don't remember how this tradition started but we seem to do it every time we're together. We loved it!
|my Sis-in-Love Quenby and me|
Thank you Shane and Quenby for an incredible time. We love you.