Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

PRCC (Pre-reunion Cousin Confab)

I arrived at Judy’s home in Kalispell, to find 4 cousins and 3 spouses settled in for some serious catching up. We exchanged several recipes – Sandy brought me her Dad’s fudge recipe. We talked about everything from what’s for breakfast to world affairs. (the morning before I arrived, Tom made pancakes with homemade chokecherry syrup, Darn, I’m sorry I missed that!)

We had fun remembering our childhood. I was 5 years old when we moved to Montana, and I grew up there. They lived in Montana before I did, but grew up in California.

Judy & Tom at one time owned a supper club – after which, Judy went into the candy business. That should give you an idea of the quality of food we consumed. And, Tom kept saying we couldn’t leave til all the food was gone!

Well, naturally, I can’t remember all the meals we had – but I can remember the desserts!!! Huckleberry crisp, Peach cobbler, Strawberry Rhubarb crisp, well, maybe I can’t remember all of them!!

Huckleberries and chokecherries are wild. They cannot be cultivated. You have to go out in the woods to find them, and huckleberries are found on low growing shrubs, and not many berries are on each shrub. No wonder huckleberries cost $40 a gallon!!! Chokecherry bushes are taller, and the berries are more prolific and easier to find and pick. (And you don’t need to invade bear country to get them)

On the way back from Glacier Park, we stopped for Huckleberry milkshakes - oh, so good!!!!

It was non stop chatter and teasing. Cousin Ron was given the task of educating me about Fifth Wheels - He started telling me all the things that went wrong with his, and how much it cost. OMG ! I didn’t want to hear this - Tom broke in and told him to stop scaring me. He was actually causing my stomach to flip-flop.

He then proceeded to give me some good sound advice, and tips to remember when I get my rig.

Judy and Tom’s home is at the base of the mountains. This is the view from their living room!

Cousins in the Kitchen

Linda, Sandy and Gregg

The boys setting the tables

Separate Tables – boy talk at one, girl talk at the other

Ron and Tom – looks serious!

I’m sorry, I had so many notes about things I wanted to tell you – but, in a later blog you’ll read how I decided to go wading in a creek, nearly fell – and my recorder fell out of my shirt pocket, and so…… I have minimum words to share, my memory being what it is.

Judy showed me a quilt she is making, and a huge stack of other projects in progress. A gal after my own heart!

We drove into Kalispell, and visited a huge, fantastic quilt shop! It was amazing. I called Myra from the shop, and told her she had to camp host in Montana next year so we could quilt together - Huh!!! Duh!!! – she does all traditional quilts, and there “aint nuttin” traditional about any of my quilts – but we have fun anyway.

One morning I stumbled upstairs – late as usual – didn’t even notice an extra person in the kitchen. – it was Rick, Judy’s son – making cinnamon rolls for us.

Rolling up the dough


Finished Product And - they were as good as they look!

I had told Judy I’d make bread that day - After seeing Rick at work, I told her I wouldn’t make any while he was there. I did make bread one day before I left, though, and it was wonderful. (Not because I made it, but because of the wonderful, easy recipe)

We went into the Costco one day and I picked up a French language course on CD. That should help me pass time on the long trip east from Montana to Wisconsin. What can I say – Travel is educational!

I left on Tuesday morning, headed to Helena to spend a couple nights with my friend Barb, before going on to Great Falls for the reunion.

I drove down the Swan Lake highway. It’s really a beautiful drive.

The Rocky Mountains

Seeley Lake Quilt Shop

Major Intersection – in Montana

In Montana, the daytime speed limit is 75 unless otherwise posted. It was really weird to see a “curve” sign with 60 mph on it.

Out of the mountains and into the hills

Valley Farm

Helena from the pass

– driving through torrential rain down the pass - my windows fogged up, and I was temporarily driving “blind” - Not fun on that road – top of pass – about 6400’ – bottom about 3400 – in just a few minutes!!!!

I arrived at Barb's, and just about the first thing she said to me was, "Make me some bread, and fudge!!!" Which I did the next day. More about Barb and Helena later, I'm going back for a week after the Reunion!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs


PS - I went to Glacier Park one day with some of the cousins. I took about 150 photos - I'll post later - cause I've got to go through and reduce the number of photos to post!!

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