Opinion

Summer celebrations help recall special times spent with mom, dad

There is excitement and happiness for many families who have enjoyed the now-concluded Creswell parade and Bohemia Mining Days, plus additional time at the Cottage Grove race track and WOE facility.

I extend my thanks and appreciation to the Creswell Chamber of Commerce for putting on a very fine and successful parade – and to those who organized the pancake breakfast and vendors in the park – I give you a tip of the hat! Everything I have heard has been positive.

Bohemia Mining Days, and the wonderful Prospectors and Golddiggers Breakfast on the Mountain, were a great success. We still have more races at the race track, and the wonderful concerts in the park Wednesday evenings, as well as the local WOE fair. These are happy family events that I hope we all participate in and support. For those of us who are rodeo fans, we did not have a CG rodeo for 2021, but the Riding Club is hosting the event on Aug. 12 and 13. 

We celebrated Father’s Day on June 19. “In 1966, Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June to honor fathers. Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring that Father’s Day would be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June. It has been the official national holiday ever since.” 

As many readers recall, I have written several articles regarding my mother and father, and their heritage in Montana.

I’ve always marveled at my dad’s ability to do major tasks alone. For instance,  we moved into our home on Maple in 1944. My dad found an old garage across town, which was approximately a mile of residential streets. I came home from school one day and my dad had borrowed a flatbed truck, jacked up and blocked that garage, and moved it across town. He had to call the light company to come raise some of the wires. When I came home from school the garage was in place! To this day, for myself, after spending years in construction, I’ve often wondered how one man could do that with one truck. 

But then, I think of my dad’s early years in Montana, during ages 14-16, he was moving sheepherder camps with a team of horses from one grazing area to another. Also, on the weekends, he would deliver to the camps various supplies from town.

As I remember him telling the story, he would load up a wagon with supplies on Friday after school in the early spring and fall, and deliver to various sheep camps, I believe weekly. Back in those days, sheepherders would have a band of sheep of about 1,000 head (sometimes one herder would have two bands of sheep), and two to three dogs, and spend spring to fall in grazing areas throughout Montana and other western states.

Some sheep wagons were built boxlike, others were canvas, like covered wagons. Most were a wagon type that was moved with a team of horses or an early pickup. The sheepherder and the dogs were there primarily to keep the sheep together and protect against predators. I can remember my dad telling the stories of having a meal with the sheepherders of fried rattlesnake, which they tell me is much like chicken, but much tougher and stringier. One of the mainstays in the sheep camp was corn meal and sourdough. My dad would sometimes spend a night or two  out delivering supplies to different camps.