Category Archives: People

CMMC: July Pick a Topic – Flowers, Trees and Hats

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – July Pick a Topic from [her] Photo prompted me to head to Zoo Montana / Yellowstone Arboretum with camera in hand. I knew I would find flower beds with trees in the background and hoped there might be a person or two wearing hats.

Volunteers – wearing hats! – with the Botanical Society of Zoo Montana were tending the Sensory Garden.

May there be sunshine and flowers to brighten your day!

Children at Rose Park

Playground

I headed to Rose Park here in Billings the other day thinking there might be roses to photograph. Although I didn’t any roses, I discovered children of all ages at the park by 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning!

The tennis courts were busy, young adults were playing sand volleyball, preschool age children were on the playground, and there was a Little League game on the baseball field.

Watching Little League Baseball

The flower garden sponsored by Compassionate Friends Billings Chapter was being tended by a woman whose son died by suicide at the age of 41. As she and I talked I was reminded that we will always by children to our parents or to those who raised us.

Forever Loved sculpture by Drew Brown

May you have child-like curiosity, delight, and enthusiasm in your life today.

Posted in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt – Children.

CMMC – Primary Colors

Blue Brushes

Painting was one of the first tasks when I moved from Iowa to Montana about a month ago.

Red Is Her Favorite Color

Coloring after supper at my parents’ home. Not sure who enjoys it more: my mom or the two-year-old who lives next door!

Yellow Crayon in a Toddler Hand

Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge with Primary Colors as theme of the week.

Wait! What? Cee listed the primary colors of light: red, green and blue. I looked for pictures with the traditional primary colors of blue, red, and yellow. So here is one more photo.

Green Tape

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

“Know the Power that Is Peace” – Black Elk. Visitor Center, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. South of Hardin, Montana.

Rows and rows of white headstones, often with an American flag carefully placed at the base of each one, are a common image on Memorial Day Weekend here in the United States. This morning – Memorial Day – I found myself thinking about my visit to Little Bighorn National Monument early in May and realized I had photos of rows and rows of white headstones.

Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Looking toward the Bighorn Mountains.

Away from the cemetery are gravestones to mark where men fell in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought along the ridges, steep bluffs, and ravines of the Little Bighorn River, in south-central Montana on June 25-26, 1876. The combatants were warriors of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, battling men of the 7th Regiment of the US Cavalry. The Battle of the Little Bighorn has come to symbolize the clash of two vastly dissimilar cultures: the buffalo/horse culture of the northern plains tribes, and the highly industrial/agricultural based culture of the United States.

Context & Story of the Battle, https://www.nps.gov/libi/learn/historyculture/battle-story.htm
Hillside of Custer’s Last Stand

I grew up in eastern Montana and knew of the battle as “Custer’s Last Stand” – a terrible defeat for the cavalry.

Part of the Battlefield

But for the warriors who were defending their homeland, it was a great victory.

“That night the Lakota men, women, and children lighted many fires and danced; their hearts were glad for the Great Spirit had given them a great victory.”

– Etched on the Indian Memorial, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
A Great Victory
The Warriors

“An Indian memorial to honor Native American participation in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25-26, 1876, and to change the name of Custer Battlefield National Monument to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, was authorized by Congress in 1991 and signed into law by former President George H. W. Bush on December 10, 1991.”

From the sign describing the Indian Memorial

The design of the Indian Memorial is circular. It includes the etchings of the warriors (above) and words of “A Great Victory.” It also has a remarkable metal sculpture (below) and quotations from Native Americans.

Isn’t it interesting how we frame a story based on our particular experiences, culture, heritage, and more? What might we learn if we were to truly listen to a different narrative of the same event? Whose story do I/we need to hear today?

Bright Square Challenge: Childhood Home

Childhood Home. Baker, Montana. May 21, 2017.

We were back in Baker to help my parents pack fifty-some years of accumulations housed at the corner of 1st and George. Across the street from Lincoln Elementary School, allowing Mom to watch the kids – all the kids across the years – come and go and play at recess. Two blocks from Baker High School, where Dad taught math and computers.

Early evening, sun descending, feeling nostalgic and needing a break from boxes, I took a walk with camera in hand. This is my favorite picture of that day.

So much light and laughter and love emanated from that house. Friends always used the backdoor – knocking was optional. They knew to help themselves to a pop (aka soda) from the fridge. Teenagers soon learned they were welcome to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich or scrounge for leftovers. If supper was on the table, visitors were invited to pull up a chair. I could go on and on!

So many bright memories. So much love.

Picture posted in response to Becky’s Bright Squares challenge. Prose because this photo led me down memory lane!

Remembering: Renewal of Vows

Wedding Bands. 1994.

I’ve been thinking about a photo challenge with the word “renewal” for a week. Music and prayer, walking and reading are sources of renewal. The buds on trees now growing more noticeable here in central Iowa remind me that spring, a season of renewal, is on the way.

But my heart continues to return to the day my best beloved and I renewed our wedding vows.

Wedding Day. 1994.

John had been receiving Hospice Care at home since March. We both knew his days were numbered and were cherishing our time together.

At some point ten or twelve months earlier we’d looked at a new wedding band for him since his original band had become too big, often sliding off his finger. Being the frugal sort we opted not to buy at that time.

When choosing to stop all cancer treatment in late February, we hoped to vacation along the Oregon coast together one last time. Visiting family on the way there or back was part of the plan. Covid-19 squashed those ideas.

By August, I was doing whatever I could to grant John’s every wish. Having not spent the money on travel, we had no qualms about buying new rings.

Renewal of Vows. September 3, 2020.

The words of my Facebook post that day sum it up:

Somewhat impromptu renewal of vows.
Over the last month John has asked me to marry him more times than I can count.
We ordered new rings a week ago.
Picked up the rings this morning then drove by Urbandale UCC scouting a suitable location to renew vows.
Pastor Dave was there and agreed to preside so we just did it.

– Facebook Post, September 3, 2020.
New Wedding Bands. 2020.

John died in October; I shared his Final Word in my post After All Souls Day; you can read it here.

The renewal of vows was less about the promises made and more about the love we shared every day for more than 25 years: a deep, abiding mutual admiration of each other with a longing and commitment to help each other become the person God called us each to be. While I truly miss the daily companionship of my best beloved, I am grateful beyond words for all John taught me and the way he encouraged me in life’s journey.

May you celebrate love today and every day.

CMMC – February Pick a Topic

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge the third Wednesday of February is to use her picture to pick a topic (or two or more!) for your pictures. Click here to see her picture; it shows yard/gardening tools as well as a portable outhouse on a trailer with trees in the background.

Abandoned Outhouse. Neumann Ranch Dump, Montana. August 2008.

In my search for a picture (just one!) with a garden tool, I discovered photos of an old outhouse that had been hauled to the ranch dump. Tipped on its side, it’s definitely no longer in use!

Besides just general messing around with a camera in hand that day, Dad intended to dig a few potatoes. So here’s a picture of a shovel in use.

Digging Potatoes. Garden at Neuman Ranch, Montana. August 2008.

Same ranch, same characters, same intent and maybe the same shovel four years later. This time with trees in the background.

Dad Digging Taters. Garden at Neuman Ranch, Montana. August 2012.

Switching things up, I remembered an outdoor cleanup day at a church that might show some tools. To my delight, I found a photo that shows a bit of fun while getting the work done with a rake.

Caleen with Rake. Muscatine, Iowa. November 2012.

Finally, for a little winter work, here’s a broom and a snow shovel being put to good use.

John and Don Clearing the Deck. Muscatine, Iowa. December 2007.

CMMC: November Pick a Topic

Judy, Julie and Snickerdoodle. Photo: TLClark, 11/10/2020.

It’s another photo challenge and I get to pick the topic based on a picture! Click on this link to see the picture and the guidelines of Cee’s challenge.

Walk. I’m visiting my parents and we walk with dear friends every day. The picture above is definitely a candid shot, another possibility for the topic of the day.

Fence. More than one fence keeps folk on the foot bridge and out of the water. I’m intrigued by stripes and the grid in the shadow.

.Foot Bridge, Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, MT. Photo: TLClark, 11/19/2020.

Orange. The only orange I could find outdoors in central Montana in mid-November is on Snickerdoodle’s scarf. After I looked a the challenge photo again, the topic for this picture could also be fuzzy.

Snickerdoodle. Photo: TLClark, 11/21/2020.

Posted in response to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge – November Pick a Topic from [her] Photo. Such fun!

RDP Saturday: STEPS

Steps – Not Quite Done. Photo: TLClark, 11/21/2020.I

Though I read the Ragtag Daily Prompt for bloggers daily and sometimes even think about what I could write, the day usually ends before I do anything about it.

Not today.

I’m at my parents’ home. Dad is building new steps to go out the back door. And the prompt is steps.

Dad posing with his new steps. Photo: TLClark, 11/212020.

When I asked if I could take his picture with the steps, Dad straightened right up and said, “cheese.” (Not exactly. But it looks like he said, “cheese.”)

Working on the Steps. Photo: TLClark, 11/212020.

Sometimes a project goes together as planned.

Other times, it takes making just the right face.

Dad Working on Steps. Photo: TLClark, 11/21/2020.

Whether it’s new steps or something else, may you make just the right face to have it go together perfectly.

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Posted in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt (RDP) SATURDAY: STEPS. Click here to see the challenge; then scroll down in that post to find links to other responses.

A Photo a Week Challenge: JOY

Longtime Friends. Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, Montana. Photo: TLClark, 11/6/2020.

In this strange time of pandemic, what brings you joy?

Julie and Judy. Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, Montana. Photo: TLClark, 11/6/2020.

For my parents, it’s a walk and a visit with longtime friends. The walking started as rehab for Mom. In this time of social distancing, it’s grown into a (nearly) daily habit – good for body, mind, and spirit.

Tom and Don. Shiloh Conservation Area, Billings, Montana. Photo: TLClark, 11/6/2020.

The gals stay on level ground. The guys take a longer loop. The dog would like to go with both but is forced to choose.

Snickerdoodle. Photo: TLClark, 11/12/2020.

Posted in response to Nancy Merrill’s challenge “A Photo a Week Challenge: Joy.”