Greenhorns

By Diane E. Bokor

In the 1970s, something in the culture shifted.  You often heard of people going “back to the land.” Tom and I were among them.  That is how I ended up here in northwest Montana, reflecting on one of the biggest decisions of my life.  We were twenty-five-year-old city kids who married after meeting in college. We were old enough to be completely emancipated and young enough to do some pretty stupid stuff.  We were greenhorns.

We had made a life in the great white city on the hill (San Francisco) when we caught the bug.  We sold everything that would not fit in the back of our grey Dodge Ram. We quit our jobs and hit the road in search of our piece of “the land.”

We arrived in Kalispell the first week of May, 1976.  It was hot that week, 90 degrees hot. This pleased me greatly, as there were two things that gave me pause about this adventure:  cold temperatures and wild bears. I’ll work on my fear of bears, I thought, this is going to be just fine. It’s just not that cold here.  

All but our brand spanking new REI camping gear went into storage as we headed “back to the land.”  Well, not literally “back” as we had not actually been there yet. We had a plan. Tom and I would spend the summer exploring the region, campground by campground.  In the fall, we would decide where to settle, where to buy our piece of this land. Then, we would confidently figure out the rest of the story.

We had been living in our tiny two-man tent greenhorns campsite for three weeks when Memorial Day weekend rolled around.  It rained for four solid days. I now know that this is a typical Flathead weather pattern. That weekend I was traumatized for four days, peeking out of a blue nylon tent flap, cold and damp, nibbling on candy bars.  It was too wet to start a fire. It was too wet to crawl out of the tent. Forty-three years later, I can tell you that even with climate change, it will rain at some point on Memorial Day weekend in the Flathead.

Later that summer, after drying out, I awoke at dawn to a noise coming from the direction of our campsite picnic table.  Severely nearsighted without my glasses, I sat up in my cozy down sleeping bag, rubbed my eyes and opened them to make out a park ranger bending over our table.  Weird, I thought, why is he up so early?  With my glasses on, I was shocked. HOLY MOSES!  A BEAR! greenhorns bearA man-sized black bear was standing on his rear legs, rooting through the box of groceries we had covered with a plastic garbage bag, to keep it dry of course.  The bear had found our green grapes. Greenhorns with green grapes.

Due to my life long fear of bears, I was pretty sure I was going to die.  Obviously, I did not. Tom was able to find the Dodge keys. I grabbed my single-lens-reflex Minolta.  In our pajamas, like commandos who scurry along the perimeter of a battlefield, we made our way to the passenger side of the truck.  Once safely ensconced in steel and glass, I snapped evidence of our stupidity. If not for the snapshot this whole incident might be lost to the mists of time.

Back then, there were no signs instructing campers about food storage.  There was no host coming by each evening to warn/threaten campers about food storage.  There were no campground brown metal communal food lockers. You can thank me and Tom (and the rest of our ilk) for all that.  

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Montana Leaves

By Marie F Martin

The Montana Maples are in full glory along my street in Kalispell. Three of my great-grandsons showed to clean my yard. What a fun beautiful time it was. After the leaves were all cleaned up I sent them home with a container of my beef barley soup and brownies filled with canned cherry pie filling and frosted with chocolate. Just a fun slice of Montana life.

Pile’em high.

I wouldn’t want to try this move.

Buried alive.

Aunt Lucille’s Book

By Marie F Martin

About a year and a half ago my cousin Jeanie phoned. Scared the heck out of me because she never calls. She had a strange request. Her 92 year-old Aunt Lucille, my shirttail relation, wanted permission to print my grandfather Yeat’s poem in a book she was publishing. Of course I agreed and we emailed back and forth. I can’t remember ever seeing her as a child. When I got the mail a few weeks ago, a strange package was in it. To my great surprise was a copy of Aunt Lucille Jensen’s book about the life and times along Montana’s highline.

It is so wonderful. Full of old time living and pictures, about her faith and how families should be and treat each other.  I am so pleased for her that at almost 93 years of age, she published her first book. She tells about being an avid reader all her life and the knowledge from all that reading comes through in her pages.

Aunt Lucille included sticky notes for me on the inside cover, saying she has now read all my books and that I remind her of my aunt Fran Minnick. How delightful. I am so happy her dream of writing has been fulfilled.

This is what Lucille wrote for the forward of her book: the old-time cowboys were hired on only for the summers. When winter came they were forced to fend for themselves and then they would travel from ranch to ranch staying and helping for a few days at a time wherever they happened to be. They called this “Ridin’ the Grubline” since each ranch furnished food and shelter. I have tried to be accurate in my telling for the most part but I have to admit that my memory is not what it once was. So if you disagree with the way I have told it just mark it up to the vagaries of “old age”. 

This is the link to her book at Westbow Press.

http://www.westbowpress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001116642

 

 

 

 

 

www.mariefmartin,com

March Book News

 

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A bit of Montana Trivial: Butte, Montana has the 2nd largest Irish population in the United States.

Boston has the largest.

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E-books on sale! 

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Oh, March, in like a lion and out like a lamb? Who knows! But these snowy days are great for reading, and I’m delighted to say that my publisher is running a fabulous sale on e-books right now, including the first two books in each of my series — in all e-book formats! DEATH AL DENTE, the first Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, and ASSAULT AND PEPPER, the first Spice Shop Mystery, are 2.99, while CRIME RIB (Village #2) and GUILTY AS CINNAMON (Spice Shop #2) are 5.99. Find the deals on Amazon, B&N.com, and KOBO. Shop soon — I have no idea how long the sale will last!

And speaking of Butte, watch for the first novel by Polson author and Butte native Milana Marsenich, COPPER SKY, set in Butte and coming in May!

October Book News

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Oh, October! Thrilled to announce the release, on October 4, of KILLING THYME, my third Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  When Pepper investigates the murder of a market artist, she roots out long-buried secrets with unexpected ties to her family, will she be digging her own grave? Read an excerpt and find the buy links on my website.  Join me for a Mystery Teac at the Bigfork Library on Tues, Oct 4, from 3-5 pm. We’ll talk mysteries, sip tea and eat cookies (recipes in the Killing Thyme (final)book!), and play mystery trivia! If you’re in Missoula, please join me for a book talk at Fact & Fiction on Thurs, Oct 6, at 7 pm. And swing by the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center for my launch party and signing on Friday, Oct 7, 5-7 p.m., and visit the annual Watermedia exhibit sponsored by the Montana Watercolor Society at the same time! (I peeked — it’s fabulous!)

I’ll be in Seattle on October 13 — signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop at noon, and reading/talking/signing a 7 p.m. at Third Place Books in Lake City.

Wherever you are, take thyme for a good mystery!

 

 

 

Marie F Martin

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Tentative release date for Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick is October 11, 2016

Roberta Sedgewick is stuck in a house that is too empty without her beloved Burton—the rat died and left her with his dog and rooms that rattle. She convinces her three golfing buddies, all in their seventies, to sell their homes and buy adjoining condos. The widows intend to spend the rest of their days golfing, gambling at the casino, and having fun. Oh, the heaven of it. But then they all hire the same maid who uncovers long-hidden criminal secrets kept by each woman. Oh, the horror of it. The reputations of their deceased husbands, a banker, a minister, and a respected farmer, will be tarnished forever. Three of the widows could face jail time, and the fourth fears for her life. Whatever will they do with the conniving, blackmailing maid?

If you grew to love the characters in Marie F. Martin’s previous novels Maternal Harbor, Harbored Secrets, and Ratham Creek, you will treasure Roberta and her friends in the mystery Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick.