“I’m an old hippie from the 70’s.” The man says, dressed in his sweat pants and gray tee-shirt. “Do you have to have a gun to hike here?”
The lake ripples behind him, studded by lillypads and fall leaves. A stop-and-go breeze cools the warm October day. Nearby, a man in a blue truck shakes the water out of his electric boat. The old hippie leans against his car and crosses his arms over his chest.
“No,” I smile, enjoying my next sentence a little too much. “This place is the highest population of mountain lions in the area. Animals usually like to come out early mornings and late, late afternoons.”
“Just the time when I am going to go hike that trail.” He points to the trail head behind the public bathrooms. “In the morning.”
“There’s a lot of human scent on those trails. Chances are you’d be okay, but there have been times, like when that rapid fox latched onto the arm of a hiker a few years ago.” I say.
“We don’t go anywhere without our firearm.” Tony nods.
The conversation continues and Tony ends up shaking hands with the old hippie. As Tony and I begin our hike to the summit of Granite Mountain, I say to him:
“I should have told him we know a hippie who now packs a firearm.”
We both laugh. A bee does a rude fly by past my ear. A duck takes off across the lake, leaving ripples in his wake as he tries to gain altitude.
My husband would later say, the man at the truck rolled his eyes. He had an attitude, but as the conversation continued in an unoffended way, that old hippie appeared to soften.
Militant liberals tend to brain wash regular liberals with false facts and stereo types. So when an old hippie meets a couple wearing a gun, his response is curiosity and gentle sarcasm. It’s interesting to say the sarcasm seemed to hide a genuine interest. For that, I am glad on that warm Sunday to have met the old hippy and to show him that gun owners aren’t the threat.