By Mary Clearman Blew
In language akin to the wild great thing about significant Sky state, Mary Clearman Blew offers us a glimpse into the lives of her relatives as she lines their connection to Montana’s traditional and human panorama. starting together with her great-grandparents’ arrival in 1882 in Montana--still a territory then--Blew relates the tales that make up her life.
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Extra resources for All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family
For a man who took pains in describing moonlight and snow and running Reading Abraharn 25 water, Abraham is curiously terse here. No detailed descriptions of the bull teams or their drivers or freight, no attempt at preserving this moment of the vanishing frontier. Abraham must know that the bull teams soon will be made obsolete by the railroads he helped bring to Montana, but he is not nostalgic about them. He wants to get on with his narrative. What, then? I have driven down the Arrow Creek Hill by night and day, over black ice in winter and scabs of ruptured gravel and asphalt in summer, and while the road has been paved for years, it still is narrow, and its grades wind over cutbanks as deep and sheer as Abraham said they were.
Reading Abraharn 17 Although I never untied the string or tried to read the fine scrawl again, occasionally I looked to be sure they were still in the till, or touched them: a fading collection in pencil on the softening envelopes and backs of official correspondence and unused letterhead from the Office of the Fergus County Surveyor, a bundle that would have fit into a shoe box. It was gradually disintegrating into a wad. I I I I I I I The years following my father's death were harrowed by further losses.
I went to my chest and lifted out the bundle of Abraham's papers, and felt the dust of nearly a century stick to my fingers. The pencil scrawl had been nearly illegible when I first tried to read it. Would it be faded beyond recovery by now? I marched downstairs, cradling the pound of ancient, flaking paper in my two hands, and laid the bundle gently on my desk beside the computer. I turned on a high-intensity lamp and got a magnifying glass. Untying the string and gently picking loose the first folded ivory paper from the top of the stack, my hands trembled.
All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family by Mary Clearman Blew