Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blogging from Way Out There

This is coming at you from a McD's in Butte, Montana. That's just how seriously take being a Nablopomo mofo. Like their deadly food (mmmmm...deadly), McDonald's offers wifi for cheap- actually, that they have it publicly available at all here in Butte is in itself a rare and wonderful thing. So thanks, Ronald. Sorry to hear about that angioplasty...

My grandparents are more rugged than your grandparents. Our Thanksgiving tour 2006 has brought us to Opportunity, Montana, Big Sky, God’s Country, USA, where we’re watching Toby careen from one babyproofing disaster to another.

My Gramma and Papa built their house from scratch, digging out a huge basement in the fifties. He included a neat little firing range in the basement where you sight in past the washer, dryer and boxes of Christmas ornaments. In the middle of the main room, a cozy sitting room at the front of the house, sits a carousel style fireplace. That’s right, 360 degrees of potentially burnt toddler fingers. The hearth beneath it is made of hundreds of pieces of Montana agate cut and set by my great uncle Kell, who used to give me an opal and play the Skater’s Waltz on the harmonica every time I saw him.

The living room contains pot upon pot of Grandma’s cacti. They’re Cute, almost every one accompanied by ceramic elves she painted and fired herself. She’s done a whole range of figurines over the course of her crafty life but can’t see to do them anymore. I repeatedly imagine a scenario where Toby simultaneously smashes one, cuts himself, and gets poked by the cactus. I’m nothing if not imaginative.

Papa trapped for years and also worked at the Anaconda Copper Company, whose smokestack was the tallest structure in the world. Or the country. Anyway, it’s tall.
All the surrounding towns- Anaconda, Butte, Opportunity, Mill Creek, Ramsey, Rocker, Crackerville (seriously- Crackerville), Meterville, Walkerville, pretty much the entire world as they knew it made a living thanks to the Company.

Meterville no longer even exists today because the enormous Butte pit mining operation dug the land right out from under the few homes and many night clubs there.

Mill Creek is a ghost town because the Company decided the pollution they were sending that way was so bad they better move everybody into town rather than pay their lawsuits. In fact, Opportunity’s own livestock were poisoned to the point they would run randomly, impaling themselves on fences in their arsenic induced insanity. Vacation home, anyone? Get out of that mud puddle, Lassy… Lassy?

We went up Dry Cottonwood Creek today to hunt elk with Papa. He’s got a doe tag but hasn’t been up to going on his own, so my dad and I had the honor of going along. Here’s the closest we got to seeing an elk. I bet you a Big Mac I was the only lactating vegetarian Oregonian hunting in all of Montana today.

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