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!