Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Fish

This story I'm about to share with you is about a great-great uncle of mine.  It was published in a book titled "Children's Stories" written by Rick Steber in Volumn 6 of his true stories titled "Tales of the Wild West". I had picked up several of these books and would read one of the short stories to my kids every night when they were younger, along with whatever bedtime story we were reading at the time. Imagine my surprise when I found a relative in one of the true stories, and more intriguing was the fact that I had never heard the story before.  Actually, I was reading along and the last name is mispelled in the book.  Finally, my daughter, Brittany, who was about 12 at the time, stopped me and said, "Mom, isn't Promise where your family is from?  Don't you just think that they spelled the name wrong?" By golly, she was right!

 Lately, I've been sucked in and mezmorized by  I've always been intrigued by family tree's and said that someday I was going to get going on one.  Someday has arrived and as I was immersed in my family history the other day, I ran across the name Orval Sannar which reminded me of this story.  I'm printing it here just as it was printed in Rick Steber's book.  I give him all of the credit but feel that
since it is a story from my family history, then it's mine to tell. 
Here it is:

The Fish

The fall of 1913 Orval Sannar (mis-spelled Sannan in the book), his sister and a group of friends from the small town of Promise in northeastern Oregon hiked down to the Grande Ronde River for a day of fishing.

They fished for several hours without success. Finally Orval announced, "I'm going to cross over to the other side. Fishing's got to be better there."

At that place on the river the stream is deep and the current comparatively slow. The others watched as Orval waded in. He called back, "I'm going to leave my line out. Maybe I'll catch a big one on the way across." Those were the lasts words he ever spoke.

Orval waded to a point where the water was waist deep and then, placing his fishing pole in his mouth to free his hands, he started to swim. Part way across his head was suddenly jerked under water. Twice he came up above water, flailing his arms wildly. And then he was gone.

One of the boys hiked out of the canyon with the sad news of the drowning. Soon a large group from Promise started down to the river. They located the body on the bottom, fifty yards downstream from where Orval was last seen. A few feet away, also on the bottom, was the fishing pole. It was recovered and when the line was reeled in, a 17-inch squaw fish dangled from the hook.

The supposition of those present was that the fish took the hook while Orval was swimming. It hit the bait and dashed downstream. Since Orval had the fishing pole in his mouth and could not close his lips, and since he was breathing hard with the exertion of the swim, the fish pulled his head under and his lungs filled with water almost instantly. That was the most logical explanation the group could understand.

Promise, Oregon is just a ghost town now set in the mountains of Wallowa County, but every year there is a reunion held for the families who settled there.  The Promise Grange Hall is still standing, right next to the cemetary where Orval and other members of our family lay at rest.  Almost all of the attendees at the reunion are in some way related anymore and there is always a spread of good food and good fun, along with old pictures and stories from what is quickly becoming the distant past. If you enjoyed this story, be sure and look for Rick Steber's books.  They're a lot of fun to read and only take up minute or two for each story.  Pay close attention though, you might run across someone in one of the stories who you know...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dirt Under My Fingernails

"It's springtime in the Rockies and I'm full of mountain dew - cain't even read my catalogs the way I used to do."

Not sure where this little ditty came from, but my Mom used to sing it every spring. I know longer live in the Rockies, or even in the mountains right now, but this little song still runs through my mind over and over again this time of year.

The birds are singing in our backyard, flowers are pushing up through the damp soil, tree's are beginning to unfurl their glorious leaves and down the road a couple of miles, when you leave our little town behind, the newborn calves and lambs are frolicking in their green pastures.

When I come home from work, I want to dig my hands into that sweet smelling dirt and the very last thing on my mind is this computer and my blog. I apologize for my absence and my missing comments on your posts. I do think of you all and wonder what you're up to, but dirty fingers aren't allowed on my keyboard. They make quite the mess.

Here is a small glimpse of some new plantings that our gracing our yard.
Strawberries in a backyard bed. I'm a true believer in the old-fashioned cottage garden where fruit and veggies are mixed in with flowers. There's a new blueberry bush in this same flower bed, along with Shasta Daisies, Daylilies, pansies, snapdragons, mint and, later in the season, a tomato plant or two.

This new edging bed along the back fence is full of ferns and hosta's. Boarding the fence on the outside is a large rose bush, a butterfly bush and a crazy vine. They are all fast-growing and flowering, shading the bottom of the fence, so I think the ferns and hosta's will do really nicely there and add some lushness to the backyard.

Today Riff and I are tackling a way out of control bed in the front yard. I should take a before picture. It's completely crazy. Hopefully it will turn out like the picture I have in my mind of a sweet cottage bed. It already sports daisies, poppies and such. Just needs a whole lot of TLC.

Spring has sprung. Hope you are blessed with dirt under your fingernails...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Visit in Pictures

Chris, Brittany and Noah came to visit over the Easter weekend. We were so glad to have them here and spend time with Noah (and his Mommy and Daddy of course)

A trip to Astoria isn't complete without a picture in front of The Goonie's house.

Little Man's rubber boots were having a hard time staying on his feet~

Feeding the seals at the Seaside Aquarium is a wet and funny task~

Getting ready to hop on Papa

Coloring Easter eggs

Big Easter Bunnies and the Fred Meyer Bear are pretty scary~

But Easter egg hunts are super fun!

Look what the Easter bunny left!

Hunting Easter eggs at Grandma and Papa's is soo much fun!

Easter picnic inside since it was stormy outside. 
Noah helped Grandma decorate the bunny cake. Fun!

Cheesy facing~  then tears after for Grandma and Grandpa when the car was loaded up and they drove away - back to Wyoming.
What a wonderful visit it was~

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Turn the Page....Tuesday

It's time once again for Turn the Page Tuesday, hosted by Adrienne at Some of a Kind, something that I look forward to every month.  Always fun to see what others are reading and get great recomendations for future reading adventures.  My choice for review this month is a biography titled "On the Edge of Nowhere", written by James Huntington.

On the Edge of Nowhere is an exciting story of Jim's life, told as if you are sitting at the kitchen table sharing a pot of coffee while Jim talks about his childhood.  Very easy to read and told from a great perspective.  Jim grew up in the Alaskan Bush, his daddy a white trapper and his momma a native Indian.  You will be intrigued and worried when his Mom has to travel to the city as a witness for the trial of the man who murdered her first husband.  Left on her own after the killer is acquitted, she sets out alone and on foot to walk to the 1,000 miles back to her children and family across the most rugged, unforgiving land in all of Alaska.  Very scary and corageous.  Jim's Mom dies when he is only 7, leaving him and his siblings with their Daddy who, as a trapper, is gone much of the year.  The kids go off to boarding school, until Dad comes one year, taking Jim and his brother Sidney into the bush with him.  Never to early for a boy to learn how to live off the land.  Jim quickly learns how to shoot and trap, even fighting a large bear with only an axe at one point.  In later years, Jim becomes one of the very first dogsled racers, and you will so enjoy the stories of this man raised in the bush going to the city for the first time for a race.  Funny and frightening all at the same time.

Here is a taste for you.  The first couple of paragraphs of Jim's story:

'My mother was Athabascan, born around 1875 in a little village at the mouth of the Hogatza River, a long day's walk north of the Artic Circle.  The country was wild enough- blizzards and sixty-below cold all the winter months, and floods when the ice tore loose in spring, swamping the tundra with spongy muskegs so that a man might travel down the rivers, but could never make a summer portage of more than a mile or so between them.
And the people matched the land.  From the earliest time in Alaska, there had been bad feeling between Indian and Eskimo, and here the two lived close together, forever stirring each other to anger and violence.  If an Indian lost his bearings and tracked the caribou past the divide that separated the two hunting grounds, his people would soon be preparing a potlatch in his memory, for he was almost sure to be shot or ground-sluiced, and his broken body left for the buzzards.  Naturally this worked both ways.  Then, in the 1890's, prospectors found gold to the west, on the Seward Peninsula, and the white man came tearing through.  Mostly he was mean as a wounded grizzly.  He never thought twice about cheating or stealing from the native people, or even killing a whole family if he needed their dog team- anything to get to Nome and the gold on those beaches.'

This is really a good read.  If you loved "White Fang", you will surely enjoy "On the Edge of Nowhere", made even better by the fact that it is a true story. 

Don't forget to hop on over to Some of a Kind and see what adventures other readers have taken this past month!

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Winner Is...

Thank you to all who participated in Story Time Stitches!  It was so much fun to see your interpretations of children's stories. I loved it and we just might do it again next year if anyone is up for it. 

I put the names of the participants in a hat, stuck in my thumb and pulled out a plum.....Oh, excuse me, I got off track...stuck in my hand and pulled out a slip of paper that said "STACEY"!  I'm in the process of putting a little Story Time Stitches prize package together for you, Stacey, and the Goldilocks bookplate that you see above is one of the prizes.  (Of course, it will say Stacey instead of Cindy.  Don't be silly!)  I found these sweet bookplates at this etsy shop, Hattie's Hootenanny, and fell in love with them.  You will also be getting the movie 'Miss Potter' about Beatrix Potter and a little Red Riding Hood something that I'm making.  Don't hold your breath for the package, it's still under construction. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.  We were lucky enough to share it with our sweet sweet grandson, Noah and his Mommy and Daddy.  I will post some pictures of our weekend soon.