Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh Shenandoah

Oh, Shenandoah,
I long to see you,
And hear your rolling river,
Oh Shenandoah,
I long to see you,
Away, I'm bound away,
Across the wide Missouri.

Today's fast fact about the above folk song: no one is sure where it came from, exactly. (And Montana may not have the Shenandoah Valley, but it has a very long stretch of the Missouri, currently frozen.) This song probably came from the riverboatment originally, though it was also sung by escaped and escaping slaves, grateful that the river would hide their scent.

As with most pictures of Devon, here he is just about to get in trouble. Again. "But Mom, there isn't any water here. It's all frozen!" "Ok, Devon Smartypants, where exactly does the water begin?" "Uh, I dunno." "EXACTLY! NOW GET OFF THE ICE!!!"

He's very fortunate to have a talented mom who can take photographs and scold at the same time.

Last week was sure busy. We were still practicing for the school Christmas program, and then on Thursday I played dinner music for the Garden Club in Plentywood. At last at long last Tina and I can find out whose houses are nominated for Best Garden each month during the summer. Why not during the winter? That's what I'd like to know. Surely there is someone willing to tackle the challenge of creating a beautiful winter garden, heavily relying on a white color scheme. No, I'm not volunteering.

The music all went well, except for one little part, when I sang Chestnuts Roasting O'er an Open Fire. Being the semi-efficient sort of person that I am, I had stopped off at the bank to make copies of it on the way there, so I wouldn't have to turn pages. (Everyone makes their copies at the bank - didn't you know that?) Of course I sang quietly so as not to disturb the bustling conversation, but by the third note they had shushed each other into silence. That way they were able to hear far too well when I got to the bottom of the first page and found that I had chopped off the bottom part of the music. Oops, and the second page, too.

In for a penny, in for a pound. I plunged courageously through, telling myself that those chords were meant to be kinda jazzy anyway. And boy, were they! For some reason I opted not to take the repeat.

Friday, the kids and I spent the whole day driving a giant loop through North Dakota and back into Montana. First was Alexander, ND. It was a whopping 15 degrees there, and we thought spring had come. That part of the trip was where we crossed the wide Missouri, stopping at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, or something like that.

There's a bunch of Lewis-and-Clark-named stuff here, as you'd expect, but nothing like Prince Edward Island. I took the kids when they were very small, and EVERYTHING there is named for some Lucy Maude Montgomery story. The Anne of Green Gables Windy Poplars Toilet Paper might have been over the top.

Speaking of Poplar, as we passed through that town, I was surprised to see an old paddleboat sitting beside the road. Once a ferry on the Missouri, it now graces the front yard of the Poplar Museum, formerly known as the Fort Peck Tribal Jail. It doesn't open till June, so until then I won't be able to see the cells, now filled with saleable Native American artwork. I read that the names of some of the prisoners are still scratched into the walls.

On to Wolf Point, up to Scobey, and at last...east, south, north, west, north, east, home is best. I'm almost sure that's how the poem went.

Until the next adventure,
Noni Beth

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