This is update. Go to thinking of ALL the trips I have made to this area with the folks, when boys were in college and the 20 years since then. Pretty amazing. Now my thoughts will move to the east a little to Rapid City. Not sure when I will be back this way again.
Sunday evening, April 28th. After a wonderful worship service today with prayer and praise and confirmation and a guest preacher, I took off for a few days of R&R and some quality windshield time. I had most everything picked in my big suitcase and then at the last minute decided I didn’t want to take it and decided to break down my clothes into smaller pieces. So I repacked, muttering all the time I was doing it, but the stuff I am taking are easier to manage now. At least I think that was the reason I did this. I drove in rain and snow most of the way to Bismarck. Also fog in spots. The closer I got to Bismarck the more snow there was on the ground but I made it and all went well.Attempting to find the doctor’s office for tomorrow and then my hotel I ended up going wrong way on a one way! I got lots of honks, of course, but fortunately it was a short block and I was able to pull into a parking lot and get turned around. I did that one other time in Bismarck. I don’t know the town very well and there is a lot of construction (excuses). The sky is clearing tonight so we hope for a good, clear dry day tomorrow.
Monday noon, April 29th Well the “dreaded” MRI is done. I drove 200 miles to get to an imagining machine that was open and not like a coffin. I am more stiff and sore from having to lay quietly for 30 minutes than anything else. Washcloth over my eyes, pillows for arms, neck and knees. I got through Psalm 23, 121, and part of 46. I am going to have to memorize some others. Someone suggested Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Good idea! Treated myself to breakfast at McDonald’s afterwards.
Bismarck did not get snow last night. But cold and windy today. Spitting moisture right now. Plan to head back to Belfield tomorrow and then south on Highway 85 to Belle Fourche. Spend the night there. I want to put flowers on Ardis Sell’s grave in Buffalo for Geri. I try to stop when I go that way.Later this afternoon I hit the streets — woo hoo! They have an antique mall here which I have loved for years. I bought a primitive wooden basket. And I was talking about downsizing?? What happened! Barnes and Noble, Bible Book Store AND I had to buy a toothbrush. Forgot mine at home. Yuck! Can’t stand not brushing my teeth!
Supper with Tami Conrad and then get packed up for another drive tomorrow. Nice.
Tuesday evening, April 30th Brr! Today was cold and windy and I did drive in scattered snow until just outside of Belle Fourche. It was a biting cold and I would have been shivering in my boots if I had had some with me. It was nice having the extra hour as I came west again. I could get up at 7 a.m. and feel very smug about it because after I got going it was really 6 a.m. So I gained an hour when I rolled out of bed!
I had gassed up the car last night so this morning I just picked my stuff and took off. I drove to Dickinson and stopped at the Dakota Diner for breakfast, French toast, egg and sausage. And a cup of coffee. All of it went down very well and it was nice to stop for a bit. Verna called me on her car phone. They were heading for Bismarck this morning. Lots of truck traffic on Highway 85 South. Most of it heading North. Squalls of snow throughout, buttes shrouded in fog and mist. I stopped in Buffalo SD and put some flowers on Ardis Sell’s grave at Buffalo SD for Geri. It is a pretty spot and open to the prairies.
When I got to Belle Fourche I went on to Spearfish to hit my favorite shoe store and take a walk along Spearfish Creek. I even taped the sound of the creek — water over rocks — so I can listen to it later. Mexican food for supper.
Tomorrow will be a long day down to Newcastle WY, across to Wright then down to Douglas and then I will hit for Cheyenne. Hope to have supper with the kids and then go on to Denver for a couple days. It will all be good. Just wish I had brought a warmer coat. Folks here are re-donning winter jackets and stocking caps. Brrr!
Wednesday evening, May 1st Woke up to snow this morning! Yuck! Highways were slushy but once I was out of the Black Hills area I pretty much ran out of it. Sun did come out. There was snow all the way to Cheyenne, but the highway was dry by about noon. It was about 350 miles of driving, but the windshield time went well. I am listening to a good Michael Connelly audio book that really holds my attention. Got to Cheyenne and had supper and a good visit with Cole and Margy. Evan had confirmation tonight and Abby had a zoology lab so I will see them when I come back on Saturday. Had a nice visit about their moving to Rapid City. Lots of changes in their lives. am surprised at the cost of motels wherever I am going. I am going to have to figure something else out — maybe a pup tent!!
Thursday evening, May 2nd The MRI was the big test. Getting through that without going claustrophobic was the first hurdle. Driving through the snow and slush yesterday was hurdle #2, driving into Denver today on I-25 with six lane traffic was hurdle number 3, but it wasn’t too bad today. There was construction and it was busy, but all in all I was given room to do what I had to do to get from one lane to another. Thank you, God, for watching over me and the other drivers. Then this evening Aunt Dorothy had me chauffeur her around a little. Will do more of that tomorrow. It was a beautiful day — no wind, 60 degrees. Lovely. Even put my candles back on! Yeah! This was what I wanted!! Not sure how long it will last but I will take it! Even ran through a car wash to get all the crud off the car from Wednesday’s drive. Had a really good Mexican dinner. It really was seasoned well.
Then Aunt Dorothy wanted to play Scrabble. I should have known better. The Anderson’s are a competitive lot and even at 96 with macular degeneration she beat me twice. She is a dynamite speller (yeggs) and has a great vocabulary. Who knew “yeggs”?? We always laugh and have some good visits. She was two years younger than Dad so they were always close and I am the oldest niece by some 16 years so that makes a difference as well. Good day!
Friday evening, May 3rd Day’s end and I am closing out things in my room before I start some packing. Head back to Cheyenne in the morning. Made my connections with Paul (lunch at 12:30) on Monday. Monday evening family dinner with Lisa Jerde Spillman and crew. I keep thinking I don’t know when I will be back to Cheyenne again. Cole and family were what kept me coming. The addition of other family and friends was a real treat, but now things are changing.
Today we did the driving and shopping routine. Aunt Dorothy is a great navigator. She doesn’t drive any more, of course, but remembers where everything was located. We went to a dollar store and then to Chuze, a huge fitness center. A friend of Dorothy recommended we get the hydro massage — 10 minutes of heaven. Lay in a chair and the water rolls up your back to the base of the skull and then back down. There are varying speeds and pressures. We wanted another 10 minutes but there was a waiting line! I like that.
Then we went to the International Market where I love to shop. They have odds and ends from all over the world. Unique, exotic and fairly good prices. A little steep, but then what isn’t?
Dorothy was having trouble with a connection to her DVD player and TV. Her friend and her husband came and tried to work with it but not much happened. Dorothy is satisfied as long as the tv works so that is what they went with for now.
Then back into traffic. I actually haven’t minded the traffic this time. Seemed somewhat more bearable. We went to Black Eyed Peas restaurant. Had some good catfish. They had a varied menu. Wouldn’t mind going back there to check out more of the food.
Two more tense games of Scrabble. We each won one. I really enjoyed playing. She is so good at it. I have been too off-hand but she got me to watch the counters and think before I plop some tiles down. More strategy — fun. Got some good words in. No “Yeggs” tonight. She remembered that word from mysteries she had read — means a criminal or burglar. She is 96, as I said and so sharp. Fun to be with her.
Flowers are out here and trees are flowering. Further south, of course.
The weather was gorgeous today. Supposed to get colder and rainy starting tomorrow, so time to start heading for home. Looking forward to my days in Cheyenne. Sirens, sirens all the time. Fire truck right now 9:58 p.m.
Saturday evening, May 4th May the fourth be with you!!
Left Denver about 10. The traffic on I-25 from Denver to Cheyenne was unreal! A Saturday!! It was busy onThursday, but today was something else. Had a little fuss with Days’ Inn and ended up at Super 8 where I got a nice room. The price some of these places charge is ridiculous.
Hit Hobby Lobby for my yarn stash and Wal Mart for odds and ends. At 5 p.m. Evan and I went to evening worship so he could do his last sermon note. Cole and Margy were tired. They had finished moving Margy’s Mom to an assisted living.
Then we went to Pizza Hut for a bite to eat. Visited. Abby is finishing up year one of college. Thinks she will do one more year community college.
Beautiful day!! Almost no wind. Strange for Cheyenne!!
Sunday May 5th Happy Cinco de mayo! Attended Ascension Lutheran Church in Cheyenne this morning for confirmation — Evan’s. I was there when he was baptized and have pictures to prove it!! 14 years ago!! Handsome young man. Vacillates between silly and all business as is typical at that age. Very loving man — typical Anderson male — family all the way! We sang “What wondrous love is this”, “All are welcome”. Holy communion with my family which is always special. Fun that Pastor Paul confirmed Abby and Wes Aardahl confirmed Evan — that Eastern Montana connection is insoluble. Wes gave a good message, speaking mainly to the kids.
Ate at a marvelous buffet at Little America. I treated Evan. I told him to enjoy. This won’t happen again until he graduates from High School! The family is gearing up for their big move to Rapid City. Cole and Margy are going to look at houses the week-end of the 17th of May. Cole starts work there on the 17th of June so not much time between now and then. Besides the anxieties of moving they seem ready to go. Evan thinks it will work as he is going into high school and there will be plenty of other kids just starting as well. The weather today is lovely again. Rain tomorrow.
As I was driving down main street in Cheyenne I was thinking how much it was like Bismarck in lay-out. I was thinking about their history and of course being railroad towns had a lot to do with it. Cheyenne is close to Ft. Laramie and Bismarck to Ft. Abraham Lincoln other things too. Couple times I had to think twice as to which town I was in!!
My mind is starting to turn to back to work. I will go to Great Falls the end of the month — this is more traveling than I have done in a long while.
Monday, May 6th Fog tonight.
Reading Becoming Michelle Obama. Enjoying it for a variety of reasons. She talks about her relationship with Obama and how it developed and adapted to their life together. About her understanding herself. Asking the questions who am I? What do I want? And what do I want in relationship to family, friends, career? Thought provoking and really revealing.
I know there are lots of reasons by people these days do not affiliate with Christian denominations. Many have been wounded by the sexual abuse scandals, others do not find acceptance because of sexual orientation, or skin color or political differences. Some have been hurt by unkind comments or personal innuendos. In other words, they have failed to find Jesus Christ in those places which bear His Name and supposedly preach God’s good news of love.
Living in community is not an easy place to be. It is very difficult living with people we really don’t like (even if we are related) or working with a boss or co-workers that drive us nuts, or trying to work within an organization and attempting to bring people together when it seems no one wants to be there. Community builders are people in the sociological world who study groups of people and try to find ways to unite them politically, religiously, building a better place where this community can thrive. It is hard work and yet as human beings it seems to be the common denominator of our lives — drawing people together to do a good work, to live together in peace.
One of the ways this happens best, I think, is when we can move outside the realm of ourselves. The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi has a section that has been a learning tool for me: Let me not seek so much to be loved as to love, to be understood as to understand, to be consoled as to console. Did you read it? — Life is not about me. Life is all about others in my life. One of the reasons building community is so difficult is that we all are so wrapped up in “me”. What makes “me” happy. I want to do it “my” way. No one understands me or loves me or is there when I need consoling. The building of community has to be an outward view whether you are attempting to increase church goers or build a baseball program or develop a community program to help the poor, the homeless, the jobless, the hungry.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German Christian theologian, (died at the end of a rope after being part of a plot to kill Hitler), wrote a book about the importance of community. In it he talked about our brothers and sisters who form Christian communities as monks and nuns. They take a vow to live with each other in close quarters for the rest of their adult lives. If there is someone you can’t stand, you have to try and figure out a way to get along. You can’t just say, “Well, I’m done here.” You have to make it work and often that comes from a lot of time spent on your knees in prayers of relinquishment.
I think of cities and towns who have recently suffered from mass shootings. Whether it is a Christian church in Louisiana or Sri Lanka, or a Jewish synagogue or a Muslim mosque in New Zealand, when this happens the community is breaking down, breaking apart and the lessons of love and working together to survive have to be learned all over again. You cannot claim to be a part of any community when “hatred for our brothers and sisters” are part of the credo by which people live.
Human beings banded together for survival thousands of years ago because they knew they needed each other. The issues of community are not about me nor are they about you or “the other” or “the stranger”. It is about “us” and the problems will only be solved when we can set aside what divides us and speak instead to what unites us. Which these days should be a battle for survival in a world that seems to have developed a massive number of cracks in our basic foundations.
Many of the photos you have seen over the years on this blog site have been taken on the Aus ranch north of Glendive. Merle Aus and his wife Rose Marie built up their ranch over many years. They have had a comfortable home where everyone has been welcome in the true western style of hospitality. Merle has been a friend for many years and a member of the Lutheran congregation I pastor. Yesterday Merle, a gentleman cowboy, died at age 94. His daughter who now runs the ranch said of her dad, "He is riding a good horse again." I see him tall in the saddle. I will miss him. There is a country western song I like that reminds me of Merle:
(by Dan Seals). A campfire some coffee from a tin cup in my hand
Sure warms the fingers when it's cold
A-playing an old guitar a friend I understand
Sure smoothes the wrinkles in my soul
A-sleeping in the moonlight a blanket for the bed
Leaves a peaceful feeling in my mind
Waking up in the morning with an eagle overhead
Makes me want to fly away before my time
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
He made wide-open spaces from the start
He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
And trails to lead old cowboys home again.
God rest his soul. He rests in the arms of Jesus.
From this photo you can tell the ice went out on the river as I last recorded March 23rd, 2019. I missed the brake-up but got down there in the afternoon and it was roaring past. Very impressive. As I edged up to the bank a couple of trees were shaking as the water went past so the force of it was something to behold. I am hoping some point in my life along the Yellowstone I will get to see the actual break-up. There were a lot of folks around by the old Bell Street bridge. Someone had seen a deer out in the river. It went down once, but then broke through and made it to the opposite shore.
The bitter cold of February and the snows have all but disappeared. The prairie winds are still plenty chilly and you want to have a jacket when you go out, but the clouds in the sky are rain clouds and not snow. The forecast is rain mixed with snow, not freezing rain followed by two to three inches of snow. Brrr!
The high school proms in the small high schools are over and the thoughts of the seniors are now turning to graduation. Rural America celebrates graduation in a big way but there are also confirmation services at churches, college graduations, weddings and other life passages we celebrate through June.
For all the hustle and bustle in the church we are fast approaching Holy Week and Easter, a time of great joy in the Christian life. When Lent begins we drop all the "Alleluias!" from the liturgy and then return them at Easter. It is a time of great piety for the church. I continue on as interim at Zion. The call committee is looking for a pastor. That is a slow process as well.
My house has been for sale now for one year. I am now trying to sell it myself but don't know just how that will go either. I have lived here for 20+ years but know it is really more house than I want. I will have a small house built this summer -- about 800 square feet. The past year I have been down-sizing. A friend introduced me to the expression, "Swedish death purge" and I love it. I have my treasures and they will not go until "death parts us", but otherwise, not so much holding on to, anymore.
So if you know of someone who wants to buy a one level house close to Makoshika Park in a quiet neighborhood, in a rural community, small yard, 3 bedroom, etc., etc. just let me know! I am ready to deal!
It was International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8th. Looking back on that day it was surreal how many incidents fell into place to heighten my awareness of the day and what it means. Now despite the misogyny of the president who sits in the White House, I do believe he has done more than any leader we have had to make American women take notice of who we are, and what it means to be a woman and to take charge of our lives. His acrimony also points women to the responsibility we have for raising the little ones, boys and girls, to recognize the importance of equality of the sexes, and how to care for each other. Let me illustrate my day.
I began by going to work where I am currently serving as an interim pastor in a local church. My particular denomination recognizes the role that women play in the life of a faith community and that women are people of the Spirit just as men are. At the church, a group of women from the area were meeting to plan a future gathering that will raise awareness of people young and old who are exploited and trafficked in the sex trade and do what we can to make people aware of how to help these, our brothers and sisters, in need around the world.
From there I went to lunch with a fellow woman pastor from another community. We prayed together, ate and talked issues that affected our lives and the lives of those in our congregations. While in the restaurant I greeted other women who happened to be wives, mothers, grandmothers, foster care mothers, caregivers all in one location.
Following lunch I ended up shopping a bit at a local business where a young woman is an entrepreneur. In previous times we have commented on the number of women in Glendive opening and operating small businesses to the well-being of our community. While there I met the baby daughter of a young woman. The baby was a beautiful little girl with bright eyes and a big smile and a bow in her hair. She smiled at me and demanded my attention. I told her it was International Women’s Day and we were all expecting great things of her generation. A couple of hours later I met another little girl, just a month old, and gave her the same message as she looked at my face and listened to me talk to her. That wise look that babies have gave me hope that here was another little woman who will bring hope and peace to the world. Her mother as well as young mothers everywhere is working hard to be a wife and mother as well as hold to her own place in the world, a place where her hopes and dreams for herself and her family are realized. She is part of the generation of women now in place who are in Congress and other positions of leadership throughout the world.
I also had time later to visit with a woman of my generation who is coming to the end of her life. We spoke of things eternal as well as reviewing our lives, where we had been, what had been our goals and what had been accomplished. But most importantly there was talk of peaceful surrender at the end of the day.
In closing the circle, the news told me that U.S. Representative Deb Haaland from New Mexico had that day been the first Native American woman to sit in the chair of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. What a great day it had been for the world and this country. May all our days be filled with that kind of power and peace.
Top photo is a Scottie bull -- Scottish Highlander according to cousin Phil Jerde, owner of Great Plains buffalo ranch in Perkins County, South Dakota. Photo by Nic Campbell. Phil also has herefords, buffalo, and etc. as you can see in the background.
Prairie living is changing all the time.
Bottom photo is last year from a friend's ranch near Glendive. They also raise horses. The daughter runs the ranch.
The cold weather here has not let up. It looks as though temps will be going up a little but in a week's time it will still not get above 25 degrees. Not much can melt in those temps. Birds love my bird feeder.
Well, the first part of my morning routine is done! I have brushed my teeth, had a bowl of cereal with strawberries, eaten a few almonds, and checked for messages on my phone. Then I turn to the New York Times free version on my phone and scroll through the headlines. I get ten free articles a month to read but, rarely do I use them all. Normally the headlines are enough to tell me what I don’t want to know. What I am really working towards is at the very end — the New York Times mini crossword puzzle. Every morning I get a new one, usually 10 words. I do have to cheat once in awhile and check the answers. That is usually when the word is slang or the author is trying to be ‘cute’ . Those are ones I never get — I can’t read someone’s mind. Anyway, I look forward to it and it is a good way to start my day.
At least today it isn’t snowing!! I was out on Saturday night about 7:30 pushing snow around so I wouldn’t have so much in the morning. It snowed hard and we ended up with at least 10 inches. I have a “leaf blower” sans “snow blower” that takes the light stuff and then a tiny Toro snow blower that takes care of the rest. It can be quite a production, but at least I don’t have to lift the snow with a shovel. Those days are done! Once in awhile a neighbor will come by with a snow blower and do my front walk. That is always much appreciated.
There isn’t much to see these days except white. A friend and husband drove to Billings yesterday and she said it was “not nice”. Now to get home again. In the country the snow is starting to drift. It is interesting to me that the Eskimos have multiple names for snow. Our snow here is most often powder dry. There is not a bit of moisture in it. Other times it will be wet and heavy, but that is usually in the Spring when it is supposed to be rain, but was somehow mis-directed and ended up as snow. There is a slight breeze today. Low temps this week are all below -10 degrees, but it will get up to 0 degrees a couple times. It means it is time to “hunker down” and dress warmly..
My robins of several weeks ago disappeared. I am not sure where the birds have been, but I have to admit I haven’t checked the bird feeder for awhile.
Meanwhile, “March Madness" works for the NCAA, but its time for high school divisional basketball tournaments in Montana, “February Madness”, so the high schools will be emptying out and heading to the larger communities. The Dawson County High School Red Devils will head for Billings. Those were fun times as a kid. The tournaments brought out the fans and of course going to Billings meant new restaurants and shopping and maybe even one of the newer movies. In the gymnasiums the pep bands played great music and the cheerleaders were in fine form. Of course when the games were over there were State tournaments to look forward to if you were one of the fortunate few teams. Everyone came home with a bug of some kind. School officials knew the gathering of fans from all around was a perfect breeding ground for germs and after a week-end of excitement and no sleep everybody was sick.
Well, until the birds come home to roost and the sun starts to warm our frozen air I am here for the duration. Glad I don’t have to drive to churches around the area and can stay and do my work close to home.
Unless there is something interesting to see there are no new photos. Everything is white.
Unless you live way South you haven't been experiencing the bitter cold of the past few weeks as we have up here in the North. Brother Greg said Nevada has been colder than normal as part of the weather patterns, but of course nothing like here.
We were so spoiled with temps in the 40s all through January. To the point we were really beginning to wonder what was going on. Well, of course, you will always get what you ask for and when winter came it came hard. Right now we have had about two weeks with nothing above zero.
I know further east it was really severe. Then the word came they were stopping mail delivery for a couple of days in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, even Missouri, then you knew it was cold! My Chicago cousin worked from home for a couple days as did my niece in Minneapolis because people were not to be out in the bitter weather.
Our problem out here on the prairies is wind-chill. There is nothing to stop the wind from blowing. Livestock will travel with the wind and that can get them into trouble by drifting into coulees, fence corners and other places where they bunch up and freeze. Ranchers have to get out with feed for them as of course they eat more when it is cold.
On the coldest day last week I looked out my front window and was shocked to see about 15-20 robins flocked together and sitting on my front sidewalk. I had just blown off the snow and thus exposed some plants and seeds along the edges. They were right in there. That was two days in a row.
I don't think I have ever seen robins flocking together. In the summer I may see three in the yard at once but that is all. I also had a large downy woodpecker at the bird feeder, a passing blue jay and some smaller birds. It was a busy morning.
From the weather people it looks as though we will have a slight warming during the day for the next week. Some odds and ends of snow just to remind us what season it is. But overall it is cold!