By Mary Clearman Blew
In language resembling the wild fantastic thing about immense Sky state, Mary Clearman Blew offers us a glimpse into the lives of her relatives as she lines their connection to Montana’s normal 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 info for All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family
Puzzling over the strange recurring names I found there: Domino. Mixer. Princess Mixer, Miss Mixer, Prince Domino. And the curious mail order advertisements for horn weights and emasculators. And the names of the breeders themselves: Bodley Herefords. Woodard and Sons. "We'll be Jack Hogeland and Daughters," my father said. But when my little sister turned five, my mother said, "I can't teach two of them at home. " We started at the Duck Creek school, where my father had gone. It was eight miles away, out of our district, but our own school lay on the other side of the Judith River and was out of the question.
50 Mary Clearman Blew "Ride over across that coulee and haze down that old roanfaced cow with her calf," he might order as we rode, just as he would order Joe Murray. Panic would set in. " "Can't you see her? The one with the Block H brand? She's about a quarter of a mile over there, back of that little clump of haws-" I squinted, but it was no use. I needed glasses. Rather than admit to the blue blur that distance was for me, I would kick the pony into a trot in what I hoped was the right direction.
I'd ask. He would show me the two or three rapid wraps of the lariat around the saddle horn that he took between the time his loop settled over the calf's head and his line sang taut as the calf hit the end of it. "There are boys that tie, but a tied rope's a good way to get your neck broke. " I tried roping the dog, but I usually missed. My father told me the stories he had collected about Albert, and what it was like growing up in the footsteps of Albert's Dirt Roads 51 brothers, his brawling young uncles who inexplicably had deserted the ranch during the hard years of the thirties and gone to California to work for wages.