By Mary Clearman Blew
In language equivalent to the wild great thing about giant Sky state, Mary Clearman Blew offers us a glimpse into the lives of her kin as she lines their connection to Montana’s ordinary and human panorama. starting along 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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Additional info for All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family
The sudden, uncanny revelation of the arrangements of genes that, passing through the generations like a time capsule exploding across one set of features and missing another, accounted for the likeness between Abraham and my father? In many ways Abraham's photograph was a better likeness of my father than any I possessed. Always private, my father had never allowed a studio photograph to be taken of him, and in snapshots his face invariably was cast in shadow. But not Abraham, who turns three-quarter-face to the photographer with an ease m y father never showed.
As I had suspected from the beginning, Abraham and I had nothing to say to one another and no way to say it if we did. In the spring of 1990 1 went back to Montana, to Great Falls, where I spoke to the Friends of the Public Library about my fascination and disquietude with Abraham and his papers. An old friend from Northern Montana College, himself a great-grandson of plains settlers, listened from the audience. He was intrigued, he said, by the apparent contradiction of Abraham's choice of medium-his scrap paper-and his care- Reading Abraharn 3 7 ful preservation of such ephemeral texts.
He raised wild hay and stacked it with teams of horses, and he fed hay in winter with a team of horses and a sled. From late February he would be in the saddle from first light until long after dark, checking on his calving cows. The first sign of spring would be the night he rode in with the pale wet lavender of the first wild crocus, the pasqueflower, in his hatband. A picture taken about this time shows the family on horseback in the big meadow below the ranch buildings. My father wears a light shirt, a dark vest, and chaps.
All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family by Mary Clearman Blew