Thursday, July 5, 2012


Bull Mountains, MT burn area
I hope all of you who are in the United States enjoyed the 4th of July celebrations. Many of the states out west are very dry, so there were no fireworks for Vivian and I this 4th of July. We drove through a little of the burned out area a few days ago…but I am getting ahead of myself and should back up about a week.
As I said in my last post, Vivian had some of her happiest childhood memories when she lived in Union Center, South Dakota. She was just a little girl at the time, just entering first grade when her Dad became the pastor of the church there. They only lived there four or five years, but the friends she made while there became her lifelong friends, and when I married Vivian, they also became my friends.
In the Men's Room
We have always really enjoyed our visits in Union Center, and we stopped there about four days to see everyone and to catch up with what is happening. The church has been a part of our work overseas all of the years we have been serving, so it was great to worship with them on Sunday. This is ranch country, and the people of the church are represented by the brands of their ranches on some of the trim in the church.
TheThree Amigos
The special treat was to have almost the entire first grade class of Union Center One Room Prairie School of 1959 sing a special song in church. They sounded good and have the potential to make it big. I think would call the group, “The Three Amigos.” If they would add a bit of the choreography of the original Three Amigos, they could fill a musical niche that has so far been left untouched. But really, and all kidding aside, the song was very nice and sung from the hearts of three very special people.
After church, Vivian and I started our drive north. The next people that were on our way to see lived in Havre, Montana, which is only about 20 miles from the Canadian border. The road from Union Center to Havre brought us through some wide open spaces of both Wyoming and Montana. This is the land of the big sky, where the horizons are very distant and the vault of the heavens seems more grand.
Grave Markers at Little Bighorn
We stopped at the Little Bighorn River, at the sight of the defeat of the U.S. Army, led by Lt. Colonel George Custer of the 7th Cavalry, by the arrows and rifles of what the Park Ranger called “perhaps the best light infantry in America at the time.” These were the Indian warriors of the Lakota Sioux, the Cheyenne, and the Arapaho. The Park Ranger gave a very detailed description of not only the day of the battle, but the days preceding it and even of the economic and political climate of the time. His talk was, in fact, the best I have ever heard given by any Park Ranger. He tried to avoid any finger pointing or taking any sides, but simply explained why he believed events happened as they did at Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876.

As Vivian and I approached Havre, Montana, I noted that the town of Havre has a spelling very similar to the name of a former Green Bay Packer quarterback, but the pronunciation of the town’s name seems to be more phonetic than is the quaterback’s. Actually, I heard that the name Havre from the result of two early settlers who were fighting over a young lady. Finally, one of the men conceded defeat and said to the other man, “Ok, you can have ‘er!” I think that this is supposed to be a joke but you can decide for yourself.
Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea
In Havre live two families with close connections to our own town of Spirit, Wisconsin. One of them actually is originally from Spirit, and moved to Havre some years ago. They now run an Ice Cream Shop right on the main street of town, Scotty’s Ice Cream. Be sure to stop by if you are ever up that way. They have good ice cream and it tasted especially good on a 90° + day.
The other family has never lived in Spirit, but the mother of the dad of this family was raised in Spirit, and he still has relatives there. Surprise, surprise, I am one of them! I really enjoyed catching up with these two families, and greatly benefited and marveled as I listened to them tell of some of the lessons that they had learned in their walks with the Lord.

Even if you convert this to celsius, that is one cold night!
On the 4th of July Vivian and I started out early and drove as far as Thompson Falls, Montana. We passed through wide spaces, mountain meadows, and along rushing rivers to arrive in this small town in this far west Montana town. This morning, we will continue on to see friends who work at a Christian camp around Yakima, Washington.

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