Two Dot: reads

I ran into a young man I know at the bar. We talked the usual pleasantries: time of year, weather, ranching. He complained of summer after the 4th of July. “So dry and hot,” but admitted to spending July in an air-conditioned swather. He told me he’d decided to listen to Jane Austin’s novels while haying last year... classics he’d missed. It began as a curious exercise, but he found himself staying after work to keep listening. We talked books for a while. He is a fan of Ivan Doig, but hasn’t read A.B.Guthrie or Zane Grey. He surprised me with his one complaint of Doig. “He portrays his Montana characters as literary, quoting classics in any situations. It’s not that way,” he said. This young man is certainly more Montana than I will ever be and knows so many more Montanans than I ever will know, but I have seen a copy of The Odyssey on the bench seat of a ranch truck. I have heard a rancher’s wife quoting poetry. And I now have a vision of this young man sitting in a parked swather listening to the last bit of a chapter of one of Austin’s piercing and humorous looks at English country life.