By Mary Clearman Blew
In language akin to the wild fantastic thing about tremendous Sky nation, Mary Clearman Blew provides us a glimpse into the lives of her kin as she strains their connection to Montana’s common 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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Additional resources for All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family
The large cottonwoods in freezing pop now & then almost as loud as the report of a pistol shot. We know without seeing a thermometer that the night is very cold. Reading Abraham 2 1 Now that I had it captured on the screen of my word processor, I studied this passage. Heavily participial, unintentionally repetitious, weighted with the conventional personification, my great-grandfather's style was as embarrassingly self-conscious as I had remembered it. All the reasons why that condescending young graduate student, his great-granddaughter, had abandoned Abraham's papers in the first place were glowing on the screen in front of me.
No word. No word. What sustained us was not officialdom but the extended family network that had spread over the state. Cousins we had never met called their cousins in eastern Montana, and their children and relatives turned out, combing country roads and pastures on dirt bikes and on foot. Finally, on Monday afternoon, the persistent overcast began to lift, until cousin Willie, the pilot, could get his plane off the ground in Lewistown and head for Miles City. He spotted the red truck, and my father's body, within the hour.
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.
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