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A Member of the Tribe

I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that’s where I belong
Yet I’m running to her like a river’s song

— Van Morrison

My heart is heavy. We lost a young member of our tribe yesterday to melanoma.  Her name is Donna Robinson, and she lived near Woody Creek for many years until she moved to Washington, D.C. with her husband Curtis and their young son Finn.  Donna was a dear friend to a lot of people in Woody Creek, and especially to Hunter. She was one of the regulars in the kitchen during the compilation of Hunter’s first and second letters books, and her graceful and smart attitude influenced Hunter’s work on oh, so many nights when the mood in the kitchen was getting stressful. Perhaps she learned that skill of grace under pressure while working in the journalism business with Curtis, starting newspapers such as the Roaring Fork Sunday and resurrecting the Mountain Gazette.  

I remember one snowy night about two in the morning after Donna and Curtis had been over. Sitting on a chair in the kitchen was a pair of dark blue/purple L.L. Bean-style mittens. I picked them up and said, "Oh, I wonder who left their mittens…maybe Donna?" Hunter took the mittens, held them to his cheek, and said as he looked at them, "Yes, these must be Donna’s–they’re soft, warm, and practical, just like her." He held the mittens for a little while and kissed them and put them on the counter. He loved Donna.      

So now, instead of kissing her mittens, I believe he greeted her on the other side with a gentlemanly kiss on the hand. I like to think they are reunited and he’s showing her the ropes on the other side.  

Another thing I love about Donna was that she was the first of all of Hunter’s friends who asked me what I thought about a political candidate, and we all miss her thoughtfulness very much. She is very much alive in the vast body of work she left behind, including her volumes of photography from around the country and her journals–but most important, a beautiful family, who have all the support and love of the entire Gonzo tribe.
Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson

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