Grand River Roundup

It finally quit snowing last Monday and the guys spent all day plowing snow so they could get the feeding done and open the roads enough for vehicles to get through. The 4-wheel drive pickup got me out to the highway Monday night and Henry and Linda Mohagen went with me to the EMT training in Buffalo.

Guest Columnist

  Sandy Danís birthday was Tuesday. He was born during that terrible winter of 1978 and 1979. Weíd been snowed in for two weeks and Reub had just gotten the road opened up to the highway when I went into labor. He got me to Hettinger in time for Sandyís birth that afternoon, but there was another blizzard moving in the next day. Buck and Amyís car was in the shop in Hettinger getting fixed, so I called the garage to see if it was done. It was, so I had them bring it to the hospital for me. I wrapped Sandy Dan in a warm blanket, jumped in the car, and headed for home with the little guy who wasnít even 12 hours old. The weather wasnít all that bad until we got to Reeder, but when I turned to go south on Hwy 79 I was the last car down the road. It was like driving down through a tunnel because the drifts on both sides of the highway were about ten feet high and there was only room for one car on the narrow road. Thankfully, I made it to our driveway where Reub was waiting to plow us into the place and it was two weeks before we were able to get out again. Iíve done some stupid things, but bringing that newborn baby home in that weather was the dumbest thing I ever did. Remembering that winter makes this one look pretty mild!   

  The weather was kind of nice during the middle of the week, although it never got above freezing. The Slim Buttes ladies aid met at the church Tuesday afternoon and Patsy Wilkinson, Linda Mohagen and I were able to quilt there on Wednesday and Thursday.

  Amanda went to Rapid City Thursday to pick up Taz at the airport after he flew home from his rodeo run in the south. He got home in time to help Reub with the feeding while Casey and the Harding County wrestlers were in Rapid City for the state wrestling on Friday and Saturday. I was really glad I didnít have to drive to Pierre for the South Dakota Historical Foundation board meeting on Friday after it was postponed until March 15 because of the snow and cold weather moving through the area.

  The guys had trouble with one of the tractors and sent me to Bowman and Hettinger to get parts and oil Saturday morning. I had a good visit with Kevin and Beckie Ploszaj in Bowman. They were buying a tractor to plow snow at their place and theyíre as sick of winter as I am.

  Saturday evening we got a scary call from Guy telling us that they had taken our grandson Creed to the emergency room in Gillette. The doctors originally thought he had appendicitis, but tests found that he had a perforated ulcer in his stomach that needed to be operated on immediately. Creed is only 14 years old and the surgeon told Guy and Megan that heíd never seen this in anyone this young. Thankfully he made it through the surgery and should be able to get out of the hospital soon.

  The wind came up in the night and it was so nasty Sunday morning that we didnít make it to church. Casey and Missy stayed in Buffalo Saturday night after getting home from the state wrestling tournament and they went to church on their way home from town, but there werenít many people there. 

  I just finished reading John O. Byeís book ìBack Trailing in the Heart of the Short Grass Countryî again and I recommend everyone in the western Dakotas and eastern Montana read it. John Bye came from a pioneer family, grew up near Camp Crook and wrote the book in 1956. There is a lot of history about the big cattle outfits in this area and he included two maps, one is a Short Grass ranch map showing where all the cow outfits in this area ran in the days of open range, and the other is a map of the Texas trails that brought the big cattle drives up from Texas and Mexico to this area. Some of the family names that are still around the area Bye mentioned are Allen, Bond, Bonefield, Bonniwell, Bovell, Brengle, Buck, Catron, Clanton, Davis, Driskill, Goddard, Green, Haivala, Hodge, James, Jones, Latham, Mackey, Marty, McCoid, Mitchell, Mosely, Nash, Owens, Painter, Padden, Penn, Piekkola, Seim, Speelman, Stearns, Stevenson, Tarter, Teigen, Turbiville, Vroman, and Willett, just to name a few.        

  This book belonged to Buck Olson, Reubís father, and in it John Bye wrote ìTo Buck Olson who ranches in one of the finest ranges in the Heart of the Short Grass Country and loves cow-country history of the old open range west.î Iím glad Buck gave me his book, because I love history as much as he did. Check your local libraries for the book, youíll love it!

  Its cold and snowing again so Iíll share this that Maurice Lewton sent me: 

  I just got off the phone with a friend living in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. He said that since early this morning the snow is nearly waist high and is still falling. The temperature is dropping and is about 15 degrees and the north wind is increasing to near gale force. He said his wife has done nothing but look through the kitchen window and just stare. He says that if it gets much worse, he may have to let her in.