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Philipsburg Mail
Philipsburg , Montana
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June 15, 2017     Philipsburg Mail
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June 15, 2017
 

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Philipsburg Mail - Thursday, June 15, 2Ol7 * 5 Just before I left New Zealand had been in hospice. for good four years ago, I went to I had passed the hearse on the my first wake. gravel road coming into the small I had already spent two community of Omaui on Sunday evenings in a foldable canvasat noon as I left for work. I knew chair on my deck, looking at he was being brought home for David,s house and the cars two days. I pulled over to let outside on the grass, coming the hearse pass. I thought that and going, telling myself that was sort of appropriate to our I didn't want to go dynamic while he was across the street alive, that we would to pay my respects pass on this piece of because I didn'twant road this way, this my last memory of last stretch that came David to be David down into Whalers without life. But this .... Crescent, me going was a lie. I didn't to work, sunburned, want to walk across ...... with sand in my the street because I ears from a morning didn't understand swim, and David how a wake, or a coming back here for viewing, worked. A Homefires the last time so that memorial service or Gwyneth I-Iyndmanthe town could say funeral I understand, goodbye. I grew up in a tight I moved to that Presbyterian community. There town because of David. At the are photos of the deceased, start of summer I drove out with childhood hymns, and a schedule a photographer to do a story of who is speaking next and what on him for his first exhibition prayers to recite. I didn't have an opening. We drove down this emotional blueprint for being in long gravel road that turned off a room with someone who you the main road to the port town knew briefly, while they were of Bluff and headed for cliffs and alive, and now wasn't. I didn't dense bush. Then we turned the know what I was supposed to corner and there was the sea and feel, other than the fear that a a handful of cribs. Omaui was 4-year-old has of a dark hallway, an old whaling community and So I stayed on my side of the it felt like the edge of the world, driveway and watched the lights and very, very far away from go on and off in the top room of the third story of a building in his A-frame house that had been the middle of the city of about empty for two weeks while he 5o,ooo people I that I worked out of in those years. David lived on the end of one of two dirt streets in Omaui, and he came out to meet us as we pulled off the gravel and onto the grass. He had just gotten back from a trip through Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and had done a series of 36 photographs of his trip in August and September. But it was his diagnosis with an aggressive cancer in January that gave every photograph its urgency. You walked through them chronologically. The first was taken about two hours after he had been told at the hospital he probably had less than 12 months to live, which meant that he wouldn't see the next summer. He had been given a camera for his 49th birthday and it was in the passenger seat. When he saw a storm coming in over the mountains and pulled over and watched it come towards him, he got the camera to capture the obvious metaphor. He got better with the camera as the year went on, as his health worsened, as he went through chemo, and got up early, because the sleeplessness then, to get sunrises on the Omaui beach and the way the light caught the barb wire of a fence, and a bird coming out of the water during the winter, with snow on the sand dunes - it had the feel of someone trying frame every nuanced piece of the world's beauty before he left it. see 'I thought page 19 Reflecting on a different time for teenagers Up until the 197o's school itself, facilitated the process, or in our basement. The children had to attendWe, on the other The summers away parents in Deer Lodge school in the county hand, walked into a from town could be were relieved to know where their parents different world - living frustrating. We knew their children wouldn't paid property taxes, in strange houses and our friends were cruising be driving back to town That was easy through under different rules Main Street and enjoying when the dance ended grade school, but highof behavior. Our social the drive in movies at 2 a.m. school attendance was contacts were few during popular at To a complicated for the the first days of classes, the time, :'i degree, students in Helmville There were always older while we, our two and Ovando. Even students from Helmville on the other worlds were though the Drummond and Ovando, but they hand, were mutually high school was thirtyhad their own circles stuck in the exclusive. In miles closer, it was in of friends that they had hayfields, the fall and Granity County, while we formed in the preceding isolated from winter we lived in Powell County. years. We were left tothe social lived in town So we went to the Powell our own devices for options that and went to County High School friendship. It only took Deer Lodge school; in the located in Deer Lodge - a week or so before provided, summer we 70 miles from Ovando most of us fell into our The M U Sings lived at home and 50 from Helmville.own groups which we phenomenon Dick Gear] and put up We "boarded out", maintained for the was made hay. living with other families four years of secondary more trying During during the week and school, when we had to leave a our first year, most of going home on the The experience was romantic interest behind us went home almost weekends. It was a heavy far from traumatic, given when we went home every weekend, but as financial onus for thethe malleability of our for vacation. That was a we got older and became parents, as in the days early teen personalities, constant source of worry more fixed in the social of large families there We looked forward to for a lovestruck teen, and world of town, we went could be three or fourthe change as we neared few romances survivedback less. I think that siblings in high school graduation from gradethe summer, for many, the process at the same time. The school. It was a major step The county fair in lessened the impact of average cost, I think, was into adulthood for us. Deer Lodge allowed usleaving home for college $60 a month for board We had options the to enjoy the pleasures of or the military. and room. Three or four other teens didn't. We civilization for a couple The separation added teenagers boarding outOften stayed in town if days. But that was short to the experience of high could cost as much as there was an activity that lived, and then we were school itself, and I think a full month's wages was important to us, but back in the hayfieldsencouraged performance for ranch work in those during hunting seasonuntil September. and decent behavior. We years, and other special times It was the old country gained more of a sense Entering high school we often chose to go dances that brought Deer of self than we would was a big step for us home on the weekends.Lodge to us. When ourhave if we had been who were raised in rural It was special to have peers were old enough to under our parents' care areas. The students a new friend come to the have their own cars, they for the four years of our who lived in Deer ranch for the weekend, would load up and head development. Lodge merely walked and during hunting for Helmville or Ovando Even given the to a different building season there was a - wherever the dance turmoil of puberty we on their first day of constant flow of peers, was. all suffered, it was a classes. They had the Inthe later years of high Most often they stayed good experience, and same friends, and little school, most of us had the night, sleeping in I don't think any of us changed except for theour own ears and thatsome of the outbuildings has any regrets. Protect your family and friends while doing simple digging in your yard. Have your local utility companies locate their underground lines. It's Free! Get more information about your private lines Call 811, or Click before you Flora Olsson, age 90, passed away on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at St. Luke Extended (;are in Ronan. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, Jtme 17,2017 atll:OOAM. at the Valley (New Chicago) Cemetery inDrummondTherewSbea . cepld0n to follow at the Hall United MethodistChurch. Arrangements are underthe direcOon offhe Lake Funeral Home and C_rematory MUSIC FE SEELEY LAK] 0 0 Read the