Why I love Montana
Written and submitted by Lindie Gibson, Livingston
I love Montana because my grandmother was born here in 1897 to parents who came from Norway to start a new life in the Land of Opportunity. Then, my mother came along in 1925 and me in 1953, and my son in 1975. My son started his family here in 1994, and Montana will always remain my home.
For a place to be called “home” it needs to be more than a place to tie your horse to a hitchin’ post and pitch your tent, or a railway stop at the end of the line.
Montana is an environment offering a variety of opportunities and experiences coinciding with the awe and wonder of nature; a place where people realize that earning a good living is not as important as the experience of true living – in harmony with God and man – the way it was meant to be.
Montana is a place where you can hold your head high and see limitless sky and feel purifying wind blowing through your hair – where you can study a ceiling of a starry night – unshrouded by big city lights.
It’s a place where your neighbor is your friend, where strangers still reach out with a helping hand, and where a man’s word and handshake are as good as any piece of paper.
Montana is a place where living in the slow lane of life is a much preferred lifestyle – where watching a colt or frisky young calf run and dance in a field is better than the best programming TV has to offer – where hiking and camping and fishing diminish the lure of holiday cruises and Disneyland – for making and sharing memories while our children grow.
Montana is a place where the roar of the hustle and bustle of life is drowned out by the solitude and silence of nature and the music heard in the sounds of birds and creatures that inhabit our wheat fields and countrysides and woodlands.
Montana is home to the deer and antelope that play, and a few buffalo that still roam; with golden sunsets and flaming orange sunrises and crystal clear lakes and stream.
Montana is also a place where nature dresses in the beauty of four distinct seasons; a never-ending reminder of the omniscience of God.
Our state is home to everyone in between – a place where all are considered equal in the eyes of the Montanan.
Why do I love Montana?
Because Montana is a land rich in resources and experiences that are treasured – and for generations, the love and appreciation for Montana remains in the hearts and homes of its people – as one of its greatest treasures.
Montana lost a good one
Sent by Shane Morger, Ventura, Calif.
I always knew part of my budget for Christmas gifts to my dad, Wally Morger, would include renewing his subscription to Montana Magazine.
I will have to “reassign” that subscription this year.
On March 24, dad passed away one month shy of his 91st birthday in the greatest of small towns, in which he was born, raised and died: Fort Benton.
But what a remarkable life he led.
Dad was a proud American – but even a prouder Montanan- father of nine children, grandfather of 20 and great-grandfather to six, a WWII Marine veteran who displayed his proud past on his license plate that read “IWO JIMA.”
He actually owned an autographed photo of the first flag raising on Mount Suribachi.
Of course those years included 90 winters when I’m sure there were times when he thought of warmer climates, but would always quote C.M. Russell’s famous picture, “Waiting for a Chinook.”
I guess the greatest tribute at his memorial was looking back at the funeral procession and seeing an endless trail of cars and trucks on their way to the Fort Benton Cemetery.
(The accompanying picture taken at the memorial) is of his three active duty grandsons, who presented our step-mom, Muncie, with the American flag. . . Look at the faces of the small children who were witness to such an emotional send off.
We lost a great one, Jenna, but one that will be remembered forever.
Reflections on Montana
Sent by Shirley Underwood, CDR, USN (Ret.), Ft. Belvoir, Virginia
Ever since my childhood in Havre, Montana, I have always viewed the outline of my state map as the personification of an old man with a craggy side and a soft side, reflected in the topography of the state, i.e., the Rockies in the west and the prairies in the east. To share this interpretation with other Montanans, I have written a poem.
I was born in Helena, raised in Havre, and graduated from the University of Missoula in 1957. I am a former English teacher and after having spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy, I retired as a Commander in 1978. I now reside in Ft. Belvoir, Va., where I continue to write. My article, “Reconciling, A mother-and-child reunion”, was published in the Montana Magazine in the May-June issue of 1988.
The photograph with the poem was made by Rachel J. Sarbaugh, while vacationing in Montana. The image was taken at sunrise at Lake McDonald in West Glacier National Park.
I will live there one day if at all possible!
From Shelley Burke, sent on Jan. 1, 2014
Hello and Happy New Year! My name is Shelley Burke. I’m originallyfrom upstate New York but have lived in Charlotte, N.C., for over 30 years.
I traveled out west for the 1st time when I was 15. I immediately fell in love with the West and to this day it feels like home when I’m there. I’ve made several trips to various places out West and into Canada but NOTHING will EVER compare to my trip this past September to Montana/Glacier National Park.
Montana is my new love and I will live there one day if at all possible! I have thought about my trip EVERY single day since September and just can’t get it out of my mind. My mother shared the experience with me and for Christmas, she got me subscription to your magazine. I just finished reading my first one! Love it
I attached some pictures from Glacier. I’m certainly no professional but I love taking pictures and find it so relaxing. There is so much beauty in our country, but nothing like what I saw there. Have a great day! Look forward to my next magazine!
Montana is Calling
Sent by Janet Imogene Hansen Fulkerson, on Nov. 21, 2013
Dear Montana Magazine,
Please find below a poem about Montana written in 2012 by my mother, the late Imogene Z. Hansen.
She died earlier this month at age 86 in my home in the state of Indiana.
I discovered the poem below on her computer AFTER she died when I was “cleaning out” files. Imogene resided in Montana 63 years, and lived in the same house in Helena for more than 50 of those.
Poor health caused her to move here so that I could care for her as her Parkinson’s disease progressed.
Attached is a 1954 photo of Imogene and her husband Bruce Hansen, holding my sister, Susan Marie, and a truck load of furniture made by Imogene’s father in Louisville, Kentucky. The young family was on its way back to Helena, where they were living in the basement of an unfinished house while Bruce was building the house next door that became their home from 1954 to 2010.
Bruce was the son of first-generation immigrants from Denmark. His parents started in a sod house in the middle of Grant (nowhere), Mont., then moved to Butte, where his father worked in a copper mine and died of silicosis.
Bruce, one of the “greatest generation”, came back from the U.S. Navy after WWII and worked hard to build a better life for his family. Imogene had a career a teacher in the Helena school system. Together, they raised three children who share their parent’s love for the state of Montana.
Montana Is Calling
By Imogene Hansen
September 17, 2012
My heart’s in Montana; my heart is not here.
It’s in Big Sky Country so high, wide, and clear.
From the mountains and prairies that I loved to roam
Montana is calling, and I want to go home.
I miss Montana which is far, far from here
where the earth is too flat and the sky seldom clear.
I miss the Chinook winds and the miles of fresh snow
where the sun will be shining at twenty below.
I want to be back in my Helena home,
walk down Last Chance Gulch, see the Capitol dome
while the giant who sleeps guards the valley below
where I’ll lie at peace when it’s my time to go.
I’d like to watch deer eat my flowers and grass,
see antelope run through the fields as I pass,
spot a lone elk or bear that might drift into town,
gaze at glorious skies when the sun’s going down.
I long to see places where tamaracks tall
turn from beautiful green to bright gold in the fall,
where summer brings wild flowers to each mountain side
and the bitterroots bloom when spring greets the divide.
I need to smell mountain air pristine and pure,
watch mountain goats scamper on feet swift and sure,
hear bugling elk call in the crisp autumn air,
feel the soft touch of snowflakes on my face and hair.
In Montana great glories of nature are found
and in Glacier and Yellowstone Parks they abound
where the Going-to-the-Sun and the Beartooth climb high
to the top of the world where the earth meets the sky.
Montana has prairies that roll like the sea
with Canada geese flying high in a v.
It has Northern Lights dancing across the night sky
and snow geese at Freezeout Lake waiting to fly.
It has riches in minerals deep underground,
and gold on the Highline in wheat fields is found.
I long to return each time I feel it call
for truly it is the “last, best place” of all.
Exodus Into Montana
From Angelo Pecora, Seeley Lake, Montana, sent Dec. 5, 2013
It took me 61 years to finally get “West” into Montana.
I used to come every year via vintage Harley Davidson but to get here to Live, and I do mean, live, was truly a gift from God.
I’m a Native American of Italian descent but I was born in Ohio. For Christmas (one year) I got a plastic set of cowboys and Indians, more correctly a set that depicted the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
In any event in that round tube containing the figures was a very intense and informative booklet about the battle complete with historical photos. That started my love affair with the state and it never left.
I would daydream even in high school of being a mountain man since I did long line trapping and on weekends would build a winter camp and spend Friday night, all day Saturday, and walk out on Sunday and get back home.
I remember thinking I was up on the Continental Divide as I sat deep in the woods boiling my coffee, when in reality I was in northern Ohio.
Then life got in the way, although I never forgot Montana.
Starting in 1990 I started making forays here on my old scooter every summer for two to three weeks, mostly to the Yaak area.
Fast forward to 2010. My wife retired from the state of Michigan, and we decided on a move.
I was on the dock of the feed mill where I worked in Dexter, Michigan, and Kat (my wife) called.
Her exact words were, “Hey gotta be in Seeley Lake in four days, can you get off and take me?”
Why in the world do you have to be in Seeley Lake?
“I have a job interview,” Kat said.
I think I got home before she hung up the phone. She got the job.
Now I, for 60 yrs have a preconceived idea of what Montana is and you or anyone else cannot change it.
So when she said she found a place to rent we came up.
The first home we looked at was kind of a subdivision south of town. The house was too nice for me
I was disappointed
“What do ya think?” she asked and like my father on his trip to Italy I said, “it’s ok.”
Then she said, “well, there is one other place is you wanna go look.”
We drove north out of town about 6 miles, turned down a quiet road and there, on the Clearwater was our home.
Back in the timber, the river backs our place and borders it on the west.
Now every morning, coffee in hand, I walk onto the back porch, stare off into the deep timber and think, “the eagle has landed.”