Norma's Wanderings around a small section of Montana
Well, howdy! Welcome to Montana! If it's a nice day, we'll sit a spell on my porch and talk awhile.
John Steinbeck, in “Travels with Charley”, stated, “I am in love with Montana. For other states, I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it's difficult to analyze love when you're in it.” It's a great quote.
What's on your mind today?
January is more than half gone. I'm still in that alternate reality known as Andre's Banana Blog. Fun and games are afoot.
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You never know what might happen.
Let me first say how glad I am to get December out of the way.
Holy cow. What a bunch of horse puckey this month has been. I have the worst cold in the world. Now I don't ever get sick. Ever. I'm sure the emotional and physical stress of traveling by train is the cause of this.
I don't know if COVID had/has any part in this. I didn't go get tested. So go ahead judge me. I've been called a 'f-in bitch' already by a person on the train from Portland to California because I didn't get vaccinated. I was told I would be the downfall of civilization. Now that is an awful accusation. So again, go ahead and judge me. Then again I was called out by a person on my return trip from Portland to Havre. Whatever. again, a big accusation. Such anger in the world right now.
Then I had the worst time ever with my family. The graduation of my grandson was amazing. The Marines do a good ceremony. I treasure that in my heart forever. But the rest of the time? I want to bury it forever.
Okay, so, now I am home. Sick. In the cold and barren wasteland that is my life. Gosh, I want to be on a desert island somewhere. Alone.
I am glad it is December 31st. So now I can start over tomorrow. Bury the past. Start over. Literally start over.
To all of those with family problems. I understand.
I am finally home after an adventure. It's always good to be back in your own bed again. I went to California to see my grandson graduate the Marine Corps basic training. It was in San Diego.
So what do you do if you are in San Francisco and the event is in San Diego? A plane flight would have made more sense, but no, we drove. My daughter, four sub-adult children, and myself. In a mini-van for 10 hours. Driving. Oh my goodness. I thought I was in a nightclub with the band right next to me. Music on loud, stopping every so often for food and gas, and then arguing about where to go and how to check into the on-base housing we reserved for two nights.
Yep - quite an adventure. The housing was intended for four, we squeezed in six. The heat didn't work, they hadn't turned it on yet. So it was 58° in these rooms.
But I traveled for two days by train to see my grandson, so I put up with a lot of nonsense for that privelege.
The graduation ceremony was all the pomp and circumstance I love, the marching, the music, the speechs. Just wonderful. And to see my grandson in his uniform, well, that was amazing.
After two days on base, we then headed back North. Now there are 7 people in the mini-van. Again, the music. My ears are still ringing.
But somehow we made it back to San Francisco. Now in my daughter's house there also lives a 100# Akita-Pit Bull mix dog. Seems this dog didn't take kindly to a stranger in its territory. After trying to bite me, I was relegated to a room he couldn't find a way to enter. I slept that night again in a cold room. Her heat isn't working. I worried about leaving the room for the bathroom.
What would you do? They state the dog isn't bad, he's never bitten anyone. I didn't want to take a chance. So the next day I asked to be taken to the train station early. 12 hours early. I'd rather wait in a train station for a day then be in a house with an uncontrollable dog.
Those twelve hours were amusing. I love to people watch. But twelve hours drug on to thirteen as the train was delayed.
Once on the train, I was given the cold shoulder by my seat mate, with no other seats available. Let's just say we had a difference of opinion on the Covid19 vaccinations. She/he called me an f'in bitch and told me I was endangering the world by my actions. Okay. That made for a long night, that person sitting beside me, covered in a fitted flannel sheet like a cocoon. No words were exchanged, no sharing stories.
Let me again say I am glad to be home. Glad to see my husband at the end of the line. Glad to be back in a place where people are not so worried about life.
I'm sure I'll tell more about my trip, but now I am simply exhausted. I need to catch up on the life I have here.
I am in San Diego for my grandson's graduation from basic training for the Marine Corps. You know, I just love the pomp and circumstance, the military precision, the respect for our country's flag, the bright young faces full of promise. He is now a PFC, Private First Class. Not many in his platoon made that honor. That I congratulated him for. Now after he graduates tomorrow, he is going home for a few weeks leave, then back to San Diego for more training before he gets a for-real assignment.
Now getting here was quite an adventure. My eldest grandson rented a mini-van, there were six of us. We started out from Richmond, CA at about 11 AM. We got here in San Diego about 10 PM. Gracious sakes, I thought we were never going to arrive. It seemed to be a big drama to everyone about how to get here, when to stop, when to eat (that was pretty much non-stop) and where the building was when we got here. I was exhausted after 2 sleepless nights on a train. Then when we got into the rooms, adjoining, they were freezing cold. Seems the heat isn't turned on yet in this old building. Not enough beds, two are sleeping in recliners, one is on the floor, one in a bed, plus my daughter and I sharing another bed. The bed had one measly little thread-bare blanket. But fatigue gave way and I slept . Cold night, but I slept.
Today was 'family day'. The recruits got liberty for part of the day. My grandson got to eat real food for the first time in 13 weeks. He got his cell phone back. He tried to regale all with his tales, to be talked over. I hated that. They laughed when he saluted the flag for the 5 PM salute. I hated that. But I say nothing, since I am not in charge of this family. I hate the lack of respect.
So I think this comes back to basic training in respect you should learn as a child. Your lessons are learned by the parent's teaching. My granddaughter asked why the women with some of the recruits walked with their arm in the recruit's arm. I tried to explain about chivalry, respect, letting the man take the lead and respecting his strength. Hmm. She'd never seen that before.
I saw all types of people. This base is a historical landmark. They've been doing Marine training here since 1923. Beautiful place.
But the heat is still not on. I am still cold. It gets cold here at night on the ocean. But I snagged a few extra blankets from housekeeping. Maybe tonight I'll sleep warm. I know my heart is warm seeing my grandson today.
So I'm on the road again. I'm in Portland, OR after an overnight train trip from Havre, MT. Next I go to Emeryville, CA tomorrow. This next leg of the trip starts this afternoon. So, another overnight trip in a coach seat. Fun.
But you know, it was fun. I met Cassie and Seth. I learned that I am definitely out of the drug user loop, thank goodness. And I learned of a little adventure that just bears repeating. But I have to let it settle into my brain for a few days.
So, what would you write with these ideas?
Those are words in the adventure one of those two young people I met had. It's quite remarkable, and we laughed a lot about it. Then all night as everyone slept, I got the nudge from God I should pray for these two. This morning I did that with them. They surely need the Lord's protection.
Now, on to find food. Seems the dining cars on Amtrak are closed due to Covid. So Doritos and trail mix are not a good dinner or breakfast. Perhaps the snack shop here has something. Or maybe I can find a homeless camp and get some squirrel stew.
It's been a busy few days. Yesterday was the Christmas Stroll day for Roundup. It started with the Children's Bazaar from 10-12. Children ages 4-12 can come and shop for gifts for their Christmas without parents. A group of non-profits and the thrift store where I volunteer have tables with small gifts they can purchase. Prices are rarely over $5. Most of the gifts I sold for RSVP, a volunteer organization I work with, sold for 50 cents. High school students take the little ones around, shepherding them, guarding their money, helping them find gifts. There is a table for gift wrapping for free. I've done this for three years. Even though God frowns on working on the Sabbath, I find that helping little children find a gift for their mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, is a wonderful thing to do. I pray He feels the same way.
Then at church we had a baptism. One member stopped smoking months ago. She wanted to be re-baptized. We had a visitor, the head of the Montana Conference for our church. He baptized my friend and preached a wonderful message. Then we had a great potluck meal, as we do each week. I left church feeling greatly blessed. Now I have to write an article for the state newsletter about the event. I'll let the emotions and memories percolate, then write my article in a few days.
The town turned out for the rest of the big Christmas Stroll from 5-8 PM. Parade, Santa, shopping, food. I stopped by one venue on my way home from church (we meet in the afternoon), but saw nothing I couldn't live without. High times in small town Montana.
Today we had a potluck dinner for the board members of the thrift store. It was fun to gather and talk, eat and open an early Christmas present. Tomorrow I have to be at a board meeting for this store at 8 AM. Oh well.
Starting tomorrow our church is on the schedule to man the Salvation Army red kettle at a local grocery store.There are three days we need to fill. It won't be done, but I know the Salvation Army head, and she is glad for any volunteers. We've done this for the past few years. The Salvation Army is a great organization with a wonderful history. My ex-husband preached at the local unit in Mt.Vernon, OH when we lived there, way back in that previous life. Then when current hubby and I were in East Texas, Tyler to be exact, we worked at a self-storage facility. While there, we rescued outdated 'Little Debbie' treats and would take them to the Salvation Army shelter once a week. We volunteered there once a week.
Strange how history made a full circle.
|PROMPT November 30th
Wow, it's the end of the month! With Thanksgiving behind us (here in the States), and Christmas on the horizon, what, if any, are your Christmas traditions? If you have no holiday traditions, do you have any plans for this month?
I used to get excited for Christmas. I used to decorate for the season. Now I just wait for the craziness to be over. I didn't even put up a tree the past few years. My husband doesn't complain. So I guess he's not into it much either. We don't even buy presents for each other, or for anyone else. The only tradition I still have is Christmas cards. I still mail cards.
We do celebrate Christ and His birth. But we don't celebrate the crazy material madness this country seems to find as the reason for the season.
I am trying to make plans to see my daughter and her children the week before Christmas. My grandson is graduating from boot camp for the Marines in San Diego. As it stands now, I'm going by train to SF, to join my granddaughter and her boyfriend. Then we'll all go down to SD for a few days.
A few lifetimes ago I attended boot camp graduation for an Army recruit, my daughter's father. It is a big deal. And to survive a Marine Corps ordeal must be an even greater big deal.
So a train trip across the Hi-Line in Montana, across Idaho, Oregon, Washington then down California to SF. Sounds like fun. I've done this trip before. Going around Glacier National Park and then near the Sierra Nevadas is a beautiful train ride. Plus I'm going to the land of sunshine.
Maybe this year won't be so bad after all.
PROMPT November 29th
Imagine for a moment that you are near the end of your life. What do you want to have done that would make you feel satisfied?
Today is my daughter's birthday. She is 49. Gracious, that sure does make me feel like I'm at the end of my life. She is my first child. I remember being so scared of what to do and how to care for her. But the very fact she's survived this long is proof I did something right. Through all the trials and tribulations, and believe me, there are too many to name, she's emerged victorious.
So, I think I have done what I need to have accomplished in this world. I have two children that are responsible adults. They both have children that make me a proud grandmother. The life I led will be remembered for a short time once I'm gone. But my children and grandchildren will live on and do great things. They already have proved they can.
I think being satisfied is not in what things you have, or how much money you have. It is in the life you lead and the joy you bring to others. Life is hard, and if we can help one other person along the way, then God smiles.
PROMPT November 27th
Things have progressed well in your town/city with the Pandemic. So well that you've been allowed to return to the office instead of working from home. Your co-worker Karly, is sneezing and coughing and refuses to wear a mask. Who do you call, or do you let it slide. Tell us why you would act that way.
"Why don't you go home?" I emailed Karly on the office system. She's my battle buddie for Team Wonder. We're scheduled for a meeting this afternoon. I sure don't want to get whatever she has.
While I work on the agenda for our meeting, my battle buddie responds. "Thanks for your concern. I have to stay. I don't have any sick days. I need the money."
Hmm. Well, can't she work from home? I mean, we did that for a year. She attended all those Zoom meetings. "Go home and connect by Zoom. I'll set up the meeting. You need to be home near your bed."
Instant reply, "Who died and made you queen? Did you get the OK for me leaving?"
I instantly thought 'how dare she' but replied, "I am the team leader. I'm sure Jeffries would agree you shouldn't be here if you're feeling sick."
Back and forth we went by email. I didn't want to walk into her office where germs were flying about unchecked.
Then in walked Mr.Jeffries. "Miriam, why didn't you tell Karly to go home? She's Typhoid Mary in that office of hers. She'll make us all sick."
"I tried. She won't go." Jeffries stomped out of my office.
Suddenly I heard a commotion in the outer office as Karly left. Then everyone scuttled about spraying Lysol, wiping down surfaces with antiseptic wipes.
Karly joined the meeting by Zoom later. "Hi folks, I'm okay. Did anyone bother to ask me why I was sneezing and coughing? No. I was having an allergy attack. The medicine hadn't taken effect when I first came to work. Someone on the train had perfume that bothered me something fierce. So thanks for all the attention." She clicked off the meeting.
Later I got the news that Karly resigned. No one got sick after her coughing and sneezing episode. Co-workers said it was the cleaning after she left that helped. I think she was telling the truth.