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Dear Bradshaw,

            It was great to see you and to be home in California. I was happy to see you surviving in there and, for whatever it’s worth, you looked okay.

            Meanwhile, as promised, here are some words about our trip to Yosemite. What a place, pal, just like the last time when we were there together with Rich and Erin and everyone else, remember, the giant sequoia groves, sheer-faced rocks towering above the valley, waterfalls galore, and the majestic glory and spirit of the place. What colors! Trees and grass green, red flowers, blue sky, white clouds, and the gray rock walls. There’s only one word for that place = wow!

            While glancing through the guide I came upon a section about mountain lions. It suggested what to do if you encounter one. First of all, it says, don’t run. Face the lion, standing upright, and try to appear larger by raising your arms or spreading your jacket over your head. Also, wave your arms and shout. Try to convince the lion you’re dangerous. And, if attacked, fight back! Did you get that, Shaw? FIGHT BACK!

            Have you ever seen a mountain lion? I haven’t. Not a real one. But while wandering through the visitor center one afternoon, I came upon a scene depicting life-like replicas of the animals in the valley. There was a gray owl, a western squirrel, a jaybird, a black bear, a mule deer, a spotted bat, a coyote, a golden eagle, and (with the exception of the bear) they looked like animals I might stand a chance against if I had to fight back. But the mountain lion… I tried to imagine coming across a live one in the wild, having to fight that thing and, holy hot potato, pal, I’d be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Depends on the time of day and how hungry the lion is.

            Anyway, I’m back now, in Rome, writing you while struggling to stay awake, fighting (no, not a mountain lion but) jetlag. I can hardly keep my eyes open. Wish me luck!

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