Book: Short in the Saddle

A couple of diehard outdoorsmen—in the traditional-Montana sense of the word—Don Laubach and Mark Henckel have written a lighthearted series of stories about their adventures in Montana. Their experiences, and the telling of them, are the likes you might find yourself enjoying while camping with your family and sitting in front of a crackling summer evening fire. The book’s dedication sets the tone perfectly: “To God, who gave us life to do all these things in the outdoors. To our guardian angels, who watched over us and helped us to survive them. And to our wives, Dee and Carol, who didn’t kill us when we got home and told them what we did.” (I can certainly relate to that.) Don and Mark have written 14 short, humorous stories about hunting, fishing, mules, and mushrooms. I could particularly relate to “Kill the Weather Guy”—even the best-laid plans go awry after being lured hundreds of miles away by a sterling weather report, only to encounter 18 straight hours of heavy rain. I found myself smiling as I read “Mountain Rodeo”—as Don writes, “Pack stock is often a blessing. Sometimes it’s a curse. Always, it’s an adventure.” Sprinkled throughout this collection are a number of short ditties, my favorite being “Jerky on the Hoof”—having once inherited a freezer full of elk meat I was particularly happy to find an edible solution. These two good ol’ boys have had some wonderfully fun misadventures that provide an entertaining, lighthearted, and extremely quick read. The illustrations by John Potter are a hoot and are worth the trip to the bookstore alone. Pack a copy of Short in the Saddle on your next trip, and may you find a little bit of Montana in each word.