He was and is very dear to my heart and will forever be.  He was part Ute and part Apache and I’ve never met a kinder and more caring individual. During a particularly dark and stressful time in my life, even though he didn’t know me personally, he would always stop me and say hello as I walked past the business in which he worked, taking my mail or bank bag down to the post office or bank from my bookstore, up the street.

Then came the day when we had our usual courteous exchanges, but he asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”  I wasn’t… far from it… but I was trying to hold back the tears  before the dam burst.

Taking my arm, his comment was, “No, you aren’t.  Step inside with me for a minute.”

Mountain Lion Fetish

Mountain Lion Fetish

Once inside, he told me he could tell I was deeply upset about something and he wanted to help me with whatever it was.  Before I could speak, the tears began flowing and I could not stop them. As they went on, he gently placed his arms around me until I gained control.  Then he had me sit down and talk to him.  What a wise and wonderful older man he was.  By the time I left, I felt so much better and right then and there, our close and warm platonic relationship began.  A lot of days, I could just say I was fine and get on down the road, but many days, he wasn’t buying it until I came inside and told him what was wrong and listened to his wisdom on how to cope with whatever the problem was at the time.  He was the most perceptive person I have ever met.

Bear & Mountain Lion Fetish

Bear & Mountain Lion Fetish

A few years later, after my life was in a place better than it had ever been, he confided that he was so concerned during my dark days that he had gone ” up on the mountain”, for me and was so pleased it has worked.  That ritual is part of his Native American culture and I’m not enlightened about what it entails, but I know it is intense, difficult to endure and has a spiritual connection.  Words cannot describe how that bonded us together in a stronger way than just average friends.  We talked daily for years about all sorts of topics.  Many days he dried my tears and we laughed uproariously on others.

Wolf Festish

Wolf Festish

He chose a Native American fetish for me and gave it to me, which is a female mountain lion.  He said my husband’s fetish is the wolf because he was the chief of police here for 22 years (and a LEO for 42) and alpha wolves fiercely protect their pack.  The wolf fetish pictured here was given to me by my best friend, who works at the Ute Museum.

This morning, I sat down to do one of the saddest things I’ve ever had to do.  I sent a sympathy card to his widow, whom he adored.  I’ve met her several times and she’s a dear tiny Native American woman, so it’s apparent why they loved each other so deeply.  I know she is lost without him.

Yes, my dear friend  recently took that final ride into the eternal sunset.   I’ll miss you, never forget you and you will always be in a special place in my heart. May your loving soul now rest in peace.

Native American Angel Holding a Dream Catcher

Native American Angel Holding a Dream Catcher


About jtzortman

Author of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW" - A Grandparent's Journey Through Grief and first place award winning novel "FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST". Contributing author to anthologies "Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides", "American Blue", "Recipes by the Book: Oak Tree Authors Cook" and "The Centennial Book of The National Society of Daughters of the Union 1861-1865". Numerous articles, poems and short stories published since 1990. Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Winner of ten writing awards. I live in a quaint Colorado mountain tourist town with my husband and Siamese cat. When deeps snows blanket the terrain and spectacular views from my windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.
This entry was posted in blogs, Friendship, grief, Jackie Taylor Zortman, Native American, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Thank you for sharing this in your touching writing, Jackie. Sorry for yet another loss.

  2. jtzortman says:

    Thank you, Nancy. I’ve known this man for 30 years and he was a unique personality. He lived in Montrose, so I didn’t see him much anymore, but will still miss him.

  3. Vicky Points says:

    So sorry for your loss Jackie. He was meant to be there for you years ago and then to become so special to you for years to come. God Bless and Keep this Special Soul.

  4. WINCE LEE says:

    Thank your for sharing your story. Uncle Wince

  5. Linda Reed says:

    There is no explanation for such deep and abiding friendships between two kindred souls. Thank you for sharing your experience with one of those friends. May he rest in peace.

  6. Barbara Shepperson says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your special friend, Jackie. {{{Hugs}}}

  7. Colleen says:

    Did I know him? I’m sorry for your loss, but what a special friend he was! Love you!

    • jtzortman says:

      You may have known him, Colleen. Respecting his widow’s privacy, I will message his name to your privately. Miss you, Girl. You watching “our” show???

  8. Mr. DAVE says:

    Sorry for the loss of a great friend, hearing those special words that you left in his passing is extremely heart warming. These great friends that pass thru our life are a sign of our life that we live.

    • jtzortman says:

      Thank you. Like the saying goes, people don’t come into our life accidentally. They are there for a reason. He was a wonderful, caring person and I wouldn’t have missed knowing him for anything.

  9. Carol Keller says:

    Losing a good friend leaves a big hole in ones’ heart and I am sorry for your loss. There are few people in the world who are fortunate enough to have the relationship you shared with him so charish the memories.

    • jtzortman says:

      Yes, I was blessed to have had him walk into my life, Carol. He was a rare kind of person and the world was a better place for having him in it. A friend of mine who knew him referred to him as “magical”. I think that’s a very apt description.

  10. olivia milton says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful, gentle man! He would be honored to have read your words. He was truly the most gentlemanly, gracious, caring individual I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His death leaves a huge vacancy.

    • jtzortman says:

      Thank you, Olivia. Another friend of mine also knew him and she describes him as “magical”, which I think fits him perfectly. Her certainly made a huge impact on my life and I spent a lot of time with him over a few years.

  11. mmgornell says:

    Jackie, what a lovely tribute to your friend–clearly one of the good ones in this world. My heart breaks with you.

  12. lynnhesse says:

    Going “up on the mountain” brings memories of times when intercessory prayers by individuals helped my family, and the importance of healing in our lives. Recently, I have discovered the practice of Gigong, a moving meditation that helps me heal myself.

    Truly, your friend knew the sacred ways. -Lynn

    • jtzortman says:

      Yes, my friend knew his culture very well and practiced the rituals of it faithfully. I am glad that your also had friends that were able to help your family with prayers and that Gigong works for you, as well.

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