Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude Stones

Happy Thanksgiving! In Bigfork, Montana, it's sunny, about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and very very still. The bird is in the oven, the potatoes are ready to fire up, the pumpkin pies are made. There is a dusting of snow on the mountains behind our house- Way up there at the higher elevations, but nothing on our lawn. Yet. I'm looking back at the pictures of the snow from last winter, and know that it's on it's way. But not here yet. The down coats are ready, though. The snow blower and the chain saw are tuned up. The farrier took the horses' shoes off. The electric heaters are in the water troughs to keep the ice from forming. Winter tires are on the vehicles. Pantry is loaded with soup and rice and water and canned goods. Freezer is full of meat. Bank account, now that's another story, but today we'll be thankful for ALL we HAVE. And we'll sit down and know that all can be well with the world if we all want it to be.

Granddaughter Little Bear has collected pretty lake stones from Flathead Lake to use as Gratitude rocks. She recommends putting them in your pocket, and then when you feel them in there, immediately thinking of something to be grateful for. We all have one at our place setting, waiting for us. Peace.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Approaching Thanksgiving

You know, I do love to eat turkey. It smells so good baking in the oven, it tastes so good, and it makes such good soup. I don't know why we all wait for Thanksgiving to eat it. By the pound, it's a great buy.

I also love the live flock of wild turkeys that roams up and down my country road, so much so that I still buy my turkey to eat at the grocery store. Did you know that hen turkeys cheep? I can hear them cheeping as they come across my lawn hoping for handouts.

The flock of wild turkeys actually ate with my rooster every morning until Roo committed rooster suicide. (Jumped into the dog pen with a German Shepherd, cock-a-doodling until the very last moment, when the dog jumped up to catch him, and then wondered why Roo wouldn't play, as the feathers drifted through the air. Life is pretty harsh sometimes. And I really miss Roo. I never thought I would, but I do. He looked so good on my doorstep, with goose, his companion. You've heard of gender confusion. Roo had species confusion. I promise to write more about the deceased Roo soon.)

But the really cool thing that you've got to hear is the very loud gobble gobble gobble of the male turkey. He puffs himself up like a massive beach ball with feathers and comes trotting across the field with his harem of turkey hens, gobbling whenever there is a hint of danger. Danger: When our little black fiend of a rescue dog, Sammy runs out and chases them. Sammy loves to chase turkeys, but he doesn't really want to catch them. He just likes to see the great big huge birds launch suddenly, fly straight up into the air, and land in the the tippity top of the tallest pine trees. Now, that is REALLY something to see.

Ben Franklin was all for naming the turkey our national bird, rather than the eagle. I can see why. They are amazingly spry and strong in spite of their butterball reputations. And, they don't kill other animals to eat (except for the occasional worm) the way the eagles do. Don't get me wrong, eagles are beautiful. But they are also killers, they'll eat fish, mice, other birds, rabbits, cats, small dogs, kid goats- anything with blood, really. As long as they can get their talons into it and carry it away. Turkeys are way cool, not as stupid as the cartoons would have us think, taste good, and are good company. They are peaceful. Isn't that what we all want? Hooray for turkeys.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Purple State

It's three days after the elections, and Montana is still stunned. By what? By the fact that Obama won. The hunters bought into the NRA bull, and are waiting for Obama to come and rip their rifles right of their hands. It's hunting season. Check out these tasty venison steaks.

But there are plenty of ecstactic people about. I like to say that Montana is a purple state. We've got the unique Democrat Governor Schweitzer with his Lieutenant Gov. Bollinger- a Republican. They were re-elected, crushing their Republican opponent by 2 - 1.

McCain won in Montana , winning 50 percent of the vote, Obama winning 47 percent. Ron Paul of the Constitution Party caught 2 percent of the vote, and Ralph Nader, 1 percent. So, we are pretty purple. We have less then a million people, children included, living out here. Over 450,000 voted. We had three electoral votes, the same number of votes that Washington DC, Delaware, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii had. Pretty small potatoes, so it was flattering that we were courted so nicely.

Obama visited Montana three times, including on the 4th of July. McCain and Palin never came by. Obama opened 18 offices around the state, and hired dozens of staffers.

Jim and I spent Election Eve in a Democrat bar called Reds (go figure) in Kalispell. It was amazing watching CNN on the big screen. New England went blue pretty fast. The cheers were heard all the way to the court house, where they were still voting until 8 PM Mountain Time, when Ohio turned blue. We were nervous though. Exit polls have been wrong before. We got kind of tired, and a little apprehensive. California was nowhere near coming in yet, so we booted twenty miles for home, hitting our living room just in time to hear McCain.

What a concession speech McCain gave, one of the best and most sincere of his campaign. Luckily, Palin was told not to speak. Golly gosh, didn't want to hear her. Then the pressure built to hear Obama's speech. The Grand Park field in Chicago was so crowded. I am old enough to remember Jon and Bobby Kennedy, and got very nervous about the tall buildings surrounding the park. Oprah and Jesse Jackson were crying along with thousands of other people in the field.

And then the future President of the United States stepped out with his family and wowwed us. He gave us all the audacity of hope. He was sober, he was serious, he was realistic, he was ready to work. A momentous moment in time, indeed. We called some relatives, because this was really it. People have been working for months to hear this speech, and man, was it good to hear.
We all got to hear it out here in Montana, and it was two hours earlier for us than it was for Cape Cod. The next day, people asked me, Is he really a Muslim? Wasn't he born in Kenya? Doesn't he have a fake birth certificate? Has he even voted in the Senate recently? They asked me, because I've been driving around with an Obama sticker on my bumper since pre-primaries; there is no Biden on my sticker, it was manufactured pre-Biden. I'm glad I could tell them all about Obama, and could even tell them to go to Google Maps to follow "Barack Obama's Journey" which is right there and ready to go and show. Very cool. And how he flew in to make key votes in the Senate. And how, of course he is an executive. Have you any idea of how much money he raised twenty dollar bill by twenty dollar bill, how many citizens he encouraged to sign up to vote, how many offices are set up around the country, how many people are working for him, and how he keeps tabs on all of it? Show me any other executive with that kind of energy going right now, please.
I spent Wednesday watching CSPAN and the positively wonderful reaction from around the world that we have elected Obama. It made me realize how very important we are to the whole world, and the importance of the meaning of the word American, and how it has changed so drastically in the past eight years.

It amazes me how people will believe anything when it's convenient. Now the McCain supporters have to play catch up, and they really want to know- who is our new president? Some are truly scared. But President Bush is relieved. He gets to hand over his wars to Obama. He had a thousand staffers out on the White House lawn yesterday, emotionally instructing them to do all possible to make this transition as easy as possible. It's the first time in decades that a president has been able to just hand over his wars and walk away from all the stress. Yes, I would say Bush is relieved.

And I am relieved. Jim and I had our passports out, and have been considering Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico as our country slowly tricked away from us through the Bush years. Now, the audicity of hope is upon us, and we're staying put.