From the Fortress of SolitudePleasant Grove
I'm wondering about Luella today. She hasn't been "with it". This mental hiccup might be the result of spending to much time playing Solitaire on her iPad, or her diet (meaning a sudden drop in carbs which causes a slowness in the firing of the brain's neurons) or the early stages of dementia or just plain old age. Wanting to be completely fair, I'll present my evidence for your consideration and let you make the final judgement.
One of my Sunday weaknesses is a 32 ounce Diet Mt. Dew with one squirt of cherry syrup added just for the heck of it. I know its unorthodox, but a guy's got to push the envelope of acceptability once in awhile. Luella became addicted to the concoction several months ago after one taste, claiming it was the nectar of the Gods (which makes me think that I may have missed my calling in life. Perhaps bartending was what I was meant to do).
She decided not to deal with the early morning February air and waited for a home delivery.
"Here you go," I said upon my return. I handed her a deliciously poured and stirred beverage. Her eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. She smacked her lips, took the drink, sat it beside her and reached for her purse.
"What do I owe you?" she asked.
"On the house," I replied feeling particularly generous for a Sunday in February.
I sat a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi (caffeine free mind you) that she'd asked me to pick up while I was out on her kitchen table and turned to leave. I noticed a despondent look on her face. It was the look a mother gives a neglectful child.
"No drink for me today?" she asked. I thought she was kidding but decided to play along.
"Nope, no drink for you today. Did you want one?" I asked looking for the faintest sign of a smile on her face telling me of her rouse.
"Well, I guess I really don't need one. I'm trying to stay off sugar." She looked back to her television, then back to me. That's when I realized she was serious.
"Look on the table beside you," I said.
"OH MY GOSH, HOW DID THAT GET THERE?" she shouted. We spoke a minute about her future. I pressed my case that now was the time to start looking for a cheap care facility with people she could be forgetful with. I turned to leave.
"If you write about this you be sure to mention that I got distracted looking for my purse to pay you back. You make sure you write that." I agreed and so I have kept my promise. I leave it up to you kind readers to make of it what you shall.
She lost her car keys at church. The Bishop helped in the search. They were found in the library.
Luella called her sister Linda today. Linda is recovering from surgery. Luella had a hard time hearing her over the phone. What does one do when having a hard time hearing someone on the other end of the phone? You could, 1) ask them to speak louder or 2) turn up your phone's volume.
Luella did neither. Instead she reached for the TV remote and turned it up instead! Not what I would have done.
A fair warning to my sisters and brothers. Your time is coming. Oh yes, your time is coming.
And now, let's venture back to the Mattson Ranch on the Montana plains circa 1940's. You may enlarge the pictures by click on each once.
Uncle Marvin Mattson around 1945. Marvin was the youngest of the four Mattson children. Today Marvin is retired and lives in South Dakota.
Every year the Montana ranchers would contract out Trappers to come to their land and kill coyotes. Each rancher paid a certain amount for every coyote killed. Luella remembers the trappers eating with the family at mealtimes. Coyotes were a constant problem on the ranch. They went after the sheep. In the picture above you see Luella standing with the trapper.
Irene Jacobson and Gladys ? holding 6 month old Luella. The Jacobsons were neighbors to the Mattsons. The Jacobsons sold their ranch and moved to Belle Fourche. They turned their home in Belle into a Boarding House. Irene's mother's name Roxy Jacobson.
Grandma Elda and Dad boarded at the Jacobson Boarding House for awhile after the divorce. Grandma Elda and Grandma Violet met each other at the boarding house when Violet came to Belle Fourche for medical treatment. Grandma Violet nearly bled to death. It was touch and go for a bit. Luella met Charles at the Jacobson boarding house for the first time. Dad was 13. Mom was 10. Was it love at first sight? No, Luella was extremely shy. Dad wooed her by riding his bike and showing off. Luella says he could ride on one wheel and with no hands! Imagine that!
Luella at Easter around 1942 sitting in front of the family's cherry tree. The cherry tree was in the back of the Mattson ranch house on the way to the outhouse.
Thrashing time on the ranch. Grandpa Walter stands near the machinery with his youngest son Uncle Marvin. Grandpa did enjoy his smokes. Of course, who didn't in those days?